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.

Dominos – 39 West Street planning application re-submitted

Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised by last week’s re-submission of the 39 West Street ‘Dominos Pizza’ takeaway planning application by Geo. & R. Carrell Properties Ltd. The cynical timing of this application follows an approach often used with contentious applications, sneaking them in during the holiday period when the public are normally distracted.

Once again, this application has been recorded by HBC as  ‘suitable for delegated decision’ by a planning department who are themselves already distracted by a notable lack of management.  Fortunately, the St Faith’s Ward Councillors have responded quickly to our request for support and the application has been ‘red-carded’ to ensure that it will be debated in public by the Development Management Committee in the new year.

39WestStreet

Little, if anything, has changed with the re-application, other than the submission of a 39 page ‘Technical Traffic Note’ which in our view presents little of substance.  Stripping away the largely irrelevant content including three pages in Welsh, we find a ‘detailed’ survey of West Street car parking during a three and a half hour period on a single Friday evening in November.  This primarily relates to the spaces occupied by 6 vehicles in the yellow box in the image above. We are already monitoring use of the car parking over a more representative timescale.

Apart from the obvious issues of parking, both for delivery drivers at the rear of the site and for customer collections, we have a serious concern about the impact on traffic in Park Road South.  The delivery drivers will be turning into and out of the site using the entrance between Rothman’s Accountants and Ian’s hairdresser, marked by the double yellow arrow in the image.  Those of us who use Park Road South regularly will be aware of the impact of traffic turning into and out of Burger King and Bulbeck Road and if this application is approved, then the Dominos delivery traffic will significantly add to that traffic chaos.

The six ward Councillors on the Development Management Committee on October 18th  rejected the original application unanimously and given that there is no material change to this re-application we should expect the same result.

However: Do not assume that because you may have objected to the previous application, you need do nothing.  Previous comments will not be considered and new objections must be raised.  If you agree with us that this re-submitted application should be refused, please take the time to submit an objection by taking this linkComments must be received by Wednesday 2nd January.

If you’re at a loss for words, feel free to take a look at our own response by taking this link.

To view a summary of all previous articles on this website relating to the applications submitted by Carrells for 39 West Street, please take this link.

Christmas wreath making workshop success!

The Christmas Wreath making workshop was organised by the Havant Civic Society and held on Friday 7th at St Faith’s Church, a beautiful  and welcoming venue.

All proceeds were donated to the fund for restoring the historic banner depicting St Faith which is currently at the London School of needlework for assessment.
Hilary Deadman gave an interesting presentation about the banner and the restoration work that is now needed. A presentation about this can be seen on the St Faith’s website.

A ‘Trojan Horse’? – East of Castle Avenue

On November 9th, our Planning Representative noted the application by Persimmon Homes for land east of Castle Avenue. To give some context to this application, here it is superimposed on the current site to the east of Castle Avenue.  Southleigh Road runs to the north along the left hand edge of this image with Warblington Station at the top left hand corner.

Capture2

Our response to this application can be read by taking this link.

This application is just one more in a series of speculative applications which have been appearing for development on land which is proposed for allocation to housing in the Draft Havant Borough Local Plan 2036.

This plan has yet to be adopted by Havant Borough Council, let alone been subject to the necessary formal scrutiny by a Planning Inspector.  As such, we suggest that this application should be rejected until such time as the Draft Local Plan has been adopted and inspected and the bigger picture made much clearer.

For the record, we will also ask that be decided by the full Development Management Committee, not left as a delegated decision.

 

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.

‘Opportunity Havant’ – A case of ships and rodents perhaps?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this recent press release from HBC…

“Sandy Hopkins, who is currently Chief Executive at East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council, is taking on a new challenge at Southampton City Council as its Chief Executive.”

“James Hassett, Executive Director of Operations and Place Shaping at East Hampshire and Havant Borough councils, is also taking up a new role in Somerset – so he can be closer to his family.  While working at East Hants and Havant he has led the development of Havant’s new regeneration strategy.”

He said: “Working for East Hants and Havant has been a great experience and has given me the skills and knowledge to take the next step up in my career.  I am really excited that I’ll be back with my family and shortening my commute to work.”

HBCOrg

Should we be worried?

Is it possible that we now have a Regeneration Strategy with neither leaders nor stakeholders?  Watch this space!

 

East Street car parks under threat

We are concerned that both the East Pallant and the Bear Hotel car parks are included in the Draft Local Plan to 2036 as sites for residential development.  Objections from the Civic Society, The Spring and St Faith’s Church about the impact of this have not yet altered the Council’s thinking.

These car parks are heavily used by older and disabled people, as they are close to the historic town centre. Families also use the car parks, as they are near to Fairfield and Glenhurst schools and the Pallant Family Café. Other users include visitors to the Pallant Centre, the Gazebo Garden, The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, St Faiths and The United Reformed Churches. They also support the three dental practices in East Street and the one in Prince George Street, as well as the many small businesses in the nearby town centre streets, who rely on them for parking, both for staff and customers.

Havant Borough Council owns the East Pallant Car Park, which they compulsory purchased for use as a car park many years ago. The Council do not seem to appreciate how vital this car park is for the prosperity of the town centre. This proposal feels like planning at its worst.

What can you do?

Please email or write to the councillors for St Faith’s ward and also your own ward councillor, if you do not live in this ward and express your concerns. There is still time to get this site taken out of the Local Plan.

Write to your ward councillor at: The Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, P09 2AZ, or email them at:  jackie.branson@havant.gov.uk , tim.pike@havant.gov.uk , david.guest@havant.gov.uk

St Lucy’s Day Lantern Procession and Carols at the Gazebo

Havant Civic Society and St Faith’s Church

Lantern Procession and Carols

on St Lucy’s Day, Thursday 13th December at 6.00pm.

StLucy

Meet at the Pallant House, behind Waitrose, then walk by lantern light to the Gazebo Garden for carols followed by refreshments.

Everyone Welcome
Please bring a lantern

Download our St Lucy’s day poster to print and display in your window.

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)

and

  • 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.