Petition regarding the Langstone Railway cottages.

imageMany of us were saddened by last month’s destruction by fire of the railway cottages on the east side of the Langstone Road approach to Hayling Island.  The Grade 2 listed cottages were originally built as labourers’ cottages and later lived in by the crossing-keeper for the Hayling branch line.

A private petition has recently been set up with the intention of urging Havant Borough Council “to do all in its power to ensure this building is restored to its original appearance, thereby recreating the iconic visual feature along Langstone Road, which has existed since the 18th Century.”

With the causes of the fires still under investigation, HCS does not believe that some of the public speculation expressed in comments on this petition is helpful.  However, we are firmly committed to the intention of this petition and support this initiative to seek appropriate restoration of this landmark building.

If you would like to sign the petition, please take this link to

Langstone Railway cottages

Like many of our friends and colleagues, we were saddened to see the destruction by fire of the Langstone Railway station master’s cottage last weekend.  The much loved building with its faded yellow wooden siding has been a landmark near the Hayling Billy track since the late 18th century.

We hope that the structure, listed for its historical importance but sadly neglected in recent years, will be restored by the current owners.

The fire is now the matter of a police investigation and further details can be seen in this Portsmouth News article from Tuesday.

Planning for Biodiversity – FoE meeting

The meeting was organised by Havant Friends of the Earth and held at the United Reformed Church meeting place on Tuesday November 27th at 7:00pm.  HFoEmeeting

Sue Holt introduced Dr. David Rumble of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who presented on the subject of Planning for Diversity.  The following notes provide a summary of the presentation, including a large number of active links through which the documents referenced by David can be viewed.  Just click the highlighted links to open the references in a separate tab in your browser.

1 – The national picture

David spoke of the decline in biodiversity since the 1970s, illustrated by charts showing the rapid loss of species throughout the seventies as a consequence of the implementation of intensive farming techniques. More recently, as the decline due to agriculture has flattened out, the impact of planning and development policy on habitat loss is more noticeable.

Four documents were referenced, please follow the links to access the detail:

  • National Planning Policy Framework – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The NPPF contains comprehensive guidance intended to ensure maintenence and development of biodiversity.
  • A Green Future – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. DEFRA’s recently published approach to managing the environment.
  • Biodiversity Net Gain – Good practice principles for development from the construction industry and for developers, intended to ensure that projects leave biodiversity in a better state than before work begins.
  • A Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife – Chris Packham’s recently published campaign document.

2 – The local picture

The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) has resulted in plans for 104,350 new homes and 1 million square feet of new employment across the Solent area.

David outlined how direction and targets set by central government has left local authority planners ‘between a rock and a hard place’.  The current State of Hampshire Biodiversity document is now 12 years old and the importance of enforcement of the NPPF, DEFRA and Biodiversity Net Gain guidance in planning decisions was stressed.

Local biodiversity topics were covered, including the newly published Solent Waders and Brent Geese Strategy.

Bird Aware Solent is an initiative to raise awareness of the birds that spend the winter on the Solent, so that people can enjoy the coast and its wildlife without disturbing the birds.

There are a number of local coastal defence issues arising from predicted climate change sea level rise.  Havant Civic Society is already involved with the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership exercise on the Langstone shore, but David also stressed the issue of loss of habitat to the west at Southmoor where privately owned sea defenses are in danger of imminent collapse.

On the positive side, the Havant thicket reservoir project could create significant biodiversity net gain.

More information can be found on the HBIC – Hampshire Biodiversity information Centre website. David presented a summary of the Ecological Network Map for Hampshire detail from which can be seen by taking the link.

3 – What can be done.

In addition to aligning with county based initiatives,  Havant Borough Council should revisit and revise the ‘Havant Biodiversity Action Plan’.  The latest version of this document, viewable here at the Havant FOE site, dates from 2011 and is out of date.

The Wildlife Trusts and friends have convinced Westminster Government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act – to improve protection for the country’s wildlife.MPs will be voting on this soon, so we need them to support a strong Environment Act.  You can find out more and take individual action here.

HIWWT have written a Discussion Paper entitled ‘Wilder’, opening discussion on creating a wilder Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Havant Borough Environment Group Questionnaire

Ray Cobbett presented the work-in-progress findings of the Havant Borough Environment Group questionnaire.  More than 670 responses have been received to date and if you’ve not already had your say, please take the link to complete it.

Havant Friends of the Earth can be found here.

You can follow David Rumble’s blog at this link.

Langstone Stakeholder Working Group meeting Tuesday 13th November 2018

Anna Glanville-Hearson attended from Havant Civic Society, along with David Stratton and the HBC Team, Cllr Tim Pike and attendees from all sections of the Langstone Community including the owner of the Mill House and the Royal Oak.

The contractors present for Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership were AECOM and Flood Control International.

The meeting started with a review of the aims of the project – mainly to accommodate a possible additional 68cm over the current highest (5.4m) tides.

Since the last meeting the HBC Coastal Team has done a habitat survey and a heritage survey.  They have been working with Historic England and found no archaeological remains that would interfere with the programme.

Top line choices were:

  • Do nothing;
  • Do the minimum (reactive repairs as necessary);
  • Maintain (proactive repair without improving)


  • Improve (make footpaths wider, install higher sea walls, demountable barriers, flip-up barriers, walls with glass panels above).

Surveys highlighted that ‘the life of the current defences was less than we thought’ and confirmed the need to improve the defences.

They have looked at a long list of options for each section of the programme following national guidance tailored to the local area. The team showed how the long list reduced down to a shortlist of options for each section of the 4 sections of the programme.

They finally arrived at three improvement options for each of the four frontages of the project:

  1. Mill Lane and Harbourside
  2. Langstone Sailing Club and Spit
  3. Langstone village and coastal path between the Ship and the Royal Oak
  4. The Mill, the Mill Pond and footpath around the Mill Pond (in private ownership but path is maintained by HCC)

The Coastal Team is proposing to get funding from the Government Coastal Defences fund but this will not cover everything.  They also intend to apply for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy and also the ‘Local Levy’

In an email to Mark Stratton and the team we have suggested a couple of other sources of funding as we think it’s as much a community and leisure access programme as it is a coastal defences programme. Our representative at the meeting has been down there twice lately as part of a large Walking for Health group; thousands of people use the footpaths and the pubs and it is expected to be really busy on Boxing Day!

There are two public exhibitions of the proposals coming up, see our earlier post for details of dates, times and locations.

Langstone Coastal Defence Study – Public drop in events

Havant Civic Society are members of the Langstone Stakeholder Working Group of the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP).

ESCP have sent out an invitation to the upcoming public drop in events for the Langstone Coastal Defence Study in November. This will be an opportunity for them to share with the community the coastal defence options shortlisted for the Langstone frontage and a chance for the community to ask any questions that they might have on the study.

The drop in information events will be taking place on:

  • Tuesday 20th November from 4 – 8 pm at the Langstone Sailing Club.
  • Thursday 22nd November from 6 – 9 pm at The Ship Inn, Langstone.

If you’re interested, do go along!


Havant Borough Environment Group Questionnaire

D7C_7816This questionnaire is the joint venture of numerous cross-Borough volunteer, conservation and residents groups.  The intention is to highlight resident’s priorities for their surroundings.

Few people can be unaffected by ever increasing alarms about the state of our environment; polluted air and water, Climate Change impacts, threats from extreme weather events, lack of green space and recreation space for a rising population and the rapid rise in endangered species make frequent headlines.

Here in Havant Borough, we need to focus on the particular local environment issues that need attention in the new Local Plan 2036

All of your views will be collected and a report will be compiled then sent over to Havant Borough Council.

Please take the time to complete this survey which can be found by clicking on this link.  The survey will open in a new browser window.

HCS and the Havant Tree Wardens kick-off a new joint project

Malinda Griffin, The Havant Tree Wardens’ coordinator, outlined a proposal for a ‘tree walk’ for Havant at a meeting in the Wheelright’s Arms on Monday evening, 15th October, to an enthusiastic group of 16 present.

Malinda Griffin outlined the work of the tree wardens across the Borough and passed round leaflets showing tree trails in other areas. A leaflet to download from a website is another option.

She also spoke2968190994_1b845e66df_o about the importance of trees and hedgerows how trees are measured and various web sites where information can be found.  She will circulate all the details to the chairman who will publish them on a new project page set up for the purpose.

Havant has a low tree canopy percentage but also has many magnificent trees.  More mapping is needed. Malinda introduced Rob Foord who is the new Tree warden for Havant and has considerable expertise working with both environmental groups and the charity sector.

There was enthusiasm to set up a tree trail based around the historic  town trail, extended to the New Lane cemetery in the North.  The walk could link with others in  surrounding areas such as Emsworth and Hayling.

Rob Foord will lead the group,  Helen Boulden volunteered to be a link with Fairfield School and Bob Comlay will provide the HCS support.  Bob will set a date for for a project kick-off meeting in November and will look to include a member of HBC’s Landscape Maintenance team.

Friends of the Earth, represented at the Wheelright’s by Ray Cobbett, have offered to make a donation to the project.


Meeting with the new Havant Tree Wardens – Monday 15th

Rob Foord, the new Tree Warden for Havant, and Malinda Griffin, The Havant Tree Wardens’ coordinator,  will outline their proposal for a ‘tree walk’ for Havant at a meeting in the Wheelright’s Arms on Monday evening, 15th October.D7C_7099

The Tree Warden scheme was set up by The Tree Council, the UK’s lead charity for trees, promoting their importance in a changing environment.  It was founded as the national tree planting campaign that would follow up the success of the campaign to “Plant A Tree In ’73”, encouraging action for trees and running National Tree Week.

With 34 Tree Wardens, the Havant Borough Tree Warden network has wardens in most areas, including Hayling Island, Emsworth, Waterlooville, Leighpark and Bedhampton. The HBTW network was re-established in 2006 and TWs are involved in the following activities: tree trails and publishing tree trail booklets, putting on tree exhibition, giving guided tree walks, giving talks about HBTW network, tree planting, seed collecting and planting projects with local (primary) schools, warning Tree Officer of threats to trees, supporting the establishment of Tree Preservation Orders.

Havant has been without a Tree Warden for a long while so this is a good opportunity for those of us who value the trees around us to get involved in the planning and development of this walk.   If you’re interested in joining us, the meeting will be held in the back room of the Wheelright’s from 6:30pm.

Heritage Open Day at Staunton Country Park

This year’s annual national ‘Heritage Open Days’ weekend included a limited number of guided tours of Staunton Country Park, one of Havant’s tourist attractions which is possibly overlooked by the local residents.

The park staff are currently celebrating the receipt of a £2.8 million pound Heritage Lottery grant and have grand plans for refurbishing the walks and facilities on the site.  As their plans become clear, we will provide more information on this site.

Further information about Staunton Country Park can be found by taking this link to their web pages at Hampshire County Council.

More pictures from the tour are available here.

Langstone Sea Defences

If you’ve been traveling into Portsmouth recently – or more specifically around Portsea Island – you cannot fail to have noticed the ongoing work on design and development of new sea defences.

While this is well outside our area, the problem of global sea level rise and the rapidly decaying state of sea defences along the British coastline is a significant issue.  Our own coastline is potentially at risk from Bedhampton and Southmoor in the west to Langstone and Warblington in the east,

On behalf of Havant Borough Council, the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) will shortly be undertaking ground and structural investigation works around the Langstone seafront to determine the condition of existing defenses. These works will involve undertaking a series of boreholes, trial pits and concrete core samples to collect samples to determine the ground and existing defense structure conditions.

ESCP have invited Havant Civic Society to join their Langstone Stakeholder Working Group to provide input to the requirements and design phases of this important project.

Along with our partners at the Langstone Residents’ Association and other interested local stakeholder groups, we attended a workshop at the Langstone Hotel on September 5th, the first of a series of such meetings to be scheduled throughout the design and delivery projects.   There will be a public event in November where ESCP will present their shortlisted design options, and a further public event in June 2019 for residents and businesses to comment on the Outline Design.

Two documents from Wednesday’s workshop may be of interest and can be viewed by taking the following links:

Langstone Ground & Structural Investigation Works Poster
ESCP Presentation to LSWG 05/09/2018

We will keep you posted with news on these events as the program of work continues.