Scrutiny Board, 1 : Southern Water, 0

This afternoon, we went round to the Civic Plaza to sit in the ‘public gallery’ at Havant Borough Council’s Operations and Place Shaping Board.

The Board was conducting a short inquiry into the discharge of sewage effluent into Langstone Harbour.  Representatives of Southern Water Authority (sic) had been invited to attend this session to give evidence and answer questions from members of the Board.

The meeting was introduced and chaired by Cllr Diane Lloyd, who we can report pulled few punches.

Members of the public were also welcome to attend and observe this session and could request to make a deputation to the Board on this matter. Members of our peer groups on Hayling Island, Richard Platt from Hayling Island Residents’ Association and Dave Parham from the Save our Island campaign group both gave well constructed and presented deputations to the Board.

Southern Water Services Ltd [they ceased to be an authority when they were privatised back in 1989] fielded their publicity team of Sam Underwood and Paul Kent. Unfortunately, neither had read the brief and were lamentably unprepared for the level of intelligent questioning that came from both the deputees and the Board.

It may be that they’d done their research and assumed that while the local residents might have done their homework, the council would have remained docile. Not so this evening. Here was the council working at rather more depth than exhibited at last week’s Council meeting. Several of the councillors who made up the panel were observed to ask suitably searching questions of the two representatives of Southern Water, only to be met with a consistent response of ‘I’ll get back to you on that’.

Without going into the detail, we might sum up Southern Water’s attitude as:

  • “We keep telling the  public that they shouldn’t flush ‘wet-wipes and other un-flushables’ down the loo, but they keep doing it.”
  • “We don’t have a policy of preventative maintenance, but we do react (eventually) to foreseeable issues, but only once they’ve been reported.”
  • “We don’t actually have any of those measurements so we can’t actually tell you how much we spilled into the ditches.”
  • “The ditches that carry the effluent that results from our spillages are not our responsibility. Try HBC, HCC, the Highways Agency or (that old get-out) riparian owners.”
  • “We think we know where all our manholes are, but it’s quite possible that Dave did actually find one we weren’t aware of.”
  • “We take full accountability for our kit, and we’re certainly not blaming our customers.  But the fact remains that they’re the ones that who keep flushing wet-wipes down the loo.  Oh, and the people who own the ditches we accidentally discharge into simply don’t maintain the undergrowth.”
  • “You can’t expect us to maintain fallback plans for all of those things that seem to recur with monotonous regularity.”
  • “We’re forward thinking, we plan capacity for growth over a 15 year period”

That last one interests us greatly, given our concerns about the Local Plan 2036 and the increase in number of ‘bums on loos’ in the borough with over eleven thousand houses in prospect. We may just test that statement…

Our SW friends went away, tails down, to regroup and come back to us with some detailed answers. We’ll let you know when we receive them.

As for our representatives on the Council, well they actually impressed this evening. Let’s hope they are as exercised when questioning themselves over the way the Regeneration Programme is going.  We were impressed by Cllr Lloyd’s chairmanship, and also by Cllr Clare Satchell’s and Cllr Joanne Thomas’ questioning.

But then as ward councillors for Hayling East and Hayling West, with residents in the public gallery perhaps that’s only right…

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October 2018 – Home page

We’re quietly celebrating the fact that tonight’s Development Management Committee meeting listened, questioned, debated the detail and came to the only sensible conclusion regarding the application by Geo & R Carrell Properties Ltd to re-open the old HSBC bank building as a pizza takeaway.P1120056The Development Management Committee clearly agreed with us, overturning the recommendation of the Planning Manager and voting on an amended proposal to reject the application by six votes to one.  Click on the image to read more.

Among the other issues currently under scrutiny are the new housing developments proposed for the northern boundary of St Faiths on Barton’s Road and the development of the Forty Acre fields at Bedhampton. While some of these might appear to be outside of our more traditional ‘town centre’ remit, the significant increase in the residential population proposed presents a significant opportunity for Havant Town centre.  With Havant now poised to provide the central hub for these new residential communities, we are looking to Havant Borough Council to rise to the challenge and invest in the quality and appearance of the town centre.

After ten long years, derelict brownfield sites like 44-54 West street can no longer be tolerated.D7C_6914

Parking in Bellair and surrounding roads.

Post Office vans.Residents living in Bellair, Connaught, Montgomery and Oaklands Roads as well as Pine Grove have approached the Council regarding concerns about the volume of parked cars, vans and motor homes in these roads. Some vehicles are left for weeks on end taking up space where residents and visitors could park.

The problem has worsened in recent weeks since the Emsworth Postal Sorting Office closed and relocated to  East Street in Havant. Seven Royal Mail vans now have parking permits for the Borough Council’s car park alongside The Spring in East Street. This has resulted in, not only the relocated  postal staff but also those who can no longer find space by The Spring looking to park in the roads mentioned above.

This, together with inconsiderate driving, is making parking much more difficult for residents and visitors in these roads. In addition the greater density of  parking has made road cleaning almost impossible, as well as producing more litter than normal.

 

Our comments on the proposed change of use for 40 North Street.

“I am writing on behalf of Havant Civic Society, to register our reservations about this application.

Our main concern is the loss of the existing flat, at a time when Havant Borough Council are having to provide sites for over 9,000 homes for the period up to 2036. Whilst it may not be an ideal family home, it might work for those on a low income, who are dependent on public transport. It is close to local schools and doctor’s surgeries, whilst Havant Park could provide recreational space. Alternatively, it may also work for a group of 3 to 4 sharers. Another option might be to convert the narrower, rear half of the building into a 2 bedroom house.
On the conservation front, we feel that it would be a retrograde step to remove the two chimneys. They may no longer serve any purpose but they are a distinctive, contemporary feature of the building, which enhance, not only the building itself but also the streetscape. Taking them away would detract from the building, which is, after all, in the St Faith’s Conservation area.
A final observation, is to query the need and/or logic in replacing the two large windows on the south elevation with ordinary domestic windows. Retail outlets surely need potential customers to be able to see what they have on offer. That will be particularly difficult in the case of the proposed rear unit, which will have just a single domestic sized window.
Overall, we feel that this application needs to be rethought, so that the building continues to provide an element of accommodation, as well as sensible retail space and without any further alteration of its existing period appearance.
Regards,
Christopher Evans, Committee member – planning.”
pp Havant Civic Society.
To look at the application in detail, use this link:

Development Consultation forum – Land west of the crematorium, Bartons Road.

Forum 45 – Land West of the Crematorium, Bartons Road, Havant

Proposal – 81 new homes plus ancillary open space, including community orchard. The community orchard, open space and drainage details include land within East Hampshire District Council.

Tuesday 14 August 2018, Council Chamber, Public Service Plaza, Display from 5.30pm, Meeting 6.00-8.00pm

Case Officer: David Eaves

Whilst this is outside our specific area of interest, it’s another instance of proposed greenfield development and would impinge on the present peaceful setting of The Oaks crematorium.

Location plan

Briefing notes

Havant Flower Festival – July 19th to July 22nd

St Faith’s Church is playing host the Flower Festival this weekend, showcasing the talents of many of our local gardeners and flower arrangers, including the dedicated bunch of ladies who work so hard to keep the Gazebo Garden looking so lovely.