‘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.”


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.


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)


  • 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.

Regeneration Strategy Approved! No surprise there then

The ‘Opportunity Havant‘ Regeneration Strategy Document first surfaced in public at the Cabinet Meeting on October 24th.  Just two weeks later, it was presented to the full Council this evening and after being proposed by Cllr Pike, questioned by three deputations from the public, seconded by Cllr Wilson and ‘debated’ by the full council, was approved unanimously.

Havant’s much vaunted Regeneration Programme has hit the road running!  Or so you might be led to think…

This is the town where bundles of tumbleweed and old McDonald’s boxes have rolled slowly past the faded hoardings at 44-54 West Street for more than a decade. The town where nothing happens. Don’t build your hopes up, despite all the trumpeting about ‘a new interventionist approach’ and ‘using compulsory purchase powers to bring forward schemes, making the required budget available’, it looks like the tumbleweed will be here to stay for at least another five years.

What we saw this evening was certainly not a debate in any accepted sense of the word.

From the editor’s ‘Concise Oxford’, bought at a real bookshop in 1970, at a time when ‘selfie’ would never have been accepted as a noun.

Not once were any of the points raised from the lectern by HCS and the other representatives of the public speaking,  questioned or debated.

1) The Regeneration Programme documentation must be freely available to the press and the public. We see no justification for the exemption of entire documents; redaction of detail where necessary should suffice.

2) The Governance approach is lacking. We expect to see local communities of residents represented at the External Stakeholder level along with the professional communities who provide for our health, education and safety.

3) Phase 1 – i.e the next five years – must deliver tangible benefit in each of the regeneration areas in order to achieve buy in from the community. As published and approved, the only change delivered in that time frame will be on the Civic Plaza site.

Cllr Buckley could have triggered some real debate when he remarked that the most important word in the document was ‘interventionist‘ (it hadn’t been lost on us either).  In his opinion, the new approach would provide a means of empowering the council to do great things, providing the issues of Governance could be understood and grasped.

A deafening silence ensued.

One of our own ward councillors broke her meeting silence only once, raising the important question of whether or not the Mayor’s ceremonial chain of office could be worn if his driver wasn’t present.  Our other ward councillor agreed to investigate and respond.

Bless ’em.



If the content you find here is of interest to you and if you share our desire to make an active and positive contribution to the regeneration of Havant, please consider joining us. The outlay is small but the potential impact our combined voice can have is significant.  Please take this link to view the various membership options available, including a simple online form. 

‘That’ Regeneration Strategy document

OpHavantLast week proved to be an interesting one and this week promises to be no less so.

On October 24th,  Havant Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the publication of Opportunity Havant’ – A Regeneration Strategy for Havant Borough, 2018 – 2036′.  For much of last week, local residents groups were meeting in huddles, active with blue pens and brimming with ‘constructive criticism’ of the work.

If you’ve not already done so, it’s worth reading the document.  If you click on the link  above it will open in a new browser window so you can review it  alongside these notes.

Here’s our ‘boiled down’ précis of the content, section by section. “Text in quotation marks and coloured thus” is taken directly from the document, occasionally underlined by us for emphasis. “Text in quotation marks in this colour” has been paraphrased by us, the rest is our editorial comment.


“This strategy sets out the economic case and opportunities for regeneration in Havant Borough. It highlights the key areas where direct targeted intervention will have the greatest impact and states what the Council will do over the next eighteen years to deliver regeneration – including governance, funding and resourcing.

The Delivery Plan then sets out the actions (including approvals, funding and project planning) that will be required to facilitate the delivery of phase 1 from 2018 to 2024.”

The document structure is confusing, so in the absence of heading numbers we’re grouping the rest of the document as indented below:


Economic Development

“Havant Borough sits in a prosperous part of the South East of England with an affluent population/catchment and a high demand for housing. [but due to a variety of factors there has been]… a prolonged lack of investment in renewal in the Borough.”

“To break this cycle councils are beginning to realise that they will need to take a more interventionist approach. By directly driving and investing in regeneration projects councils have been able to halt or reverse decline and create conditions more attractive for private sector investment. The new political leadership at Havant Borough Council has signalled a clear ambition to drive forward the regeneration of the borough and have recognised that this will need to be adequately resourced.

Havant Borough Council has recognised and progressed the need for an active interventionist approach to regeneration.”

Housing Challenges

“To meet the housing challenges, the economic base of the borough is a key focus to sustain the wealth to take the area into the future.”

In other words, we’ve got to drive inward investment, push local wages up and stimulate the premium housing market while at the same time providing  affordable homes for 1,800 people on the housing list.

Economic Challenges

“Havant workers are lower paid, have lower skills and a lower value of role than the average for the South East.  More people commute out of the borough to work than commute into the borough to work.”

The Opportunities

“Havant Borough has a wealth of strategically and regionally important natural and economic assets that make it a prime location for investment”

A statement of the obvious which simply begs the question ‘why have we not exploited it yet?’

Key Issues & Objectives

An interesting section which, to our mind, is full of questionable ‘issues’, for example on the ‘reduction of Town Centre Retail vs Portsmouth’.  Given the overall success of Solent Road and the recent cautious growth of innovative small businesses in the ‘old’ town centre, we think the authors are not in touch with current trends on Havant’s retail frontage.


“There are five key regeneration areas in the borough:

1) Havant Town Centre (including the Civic Campus)

2) Havant Strategic Employment Sites (Brockhampton West, Langstone Technology Park & Dunsbury Park)

3) Hayling Island Seafront (West Beach, Beachlands, Eastoke, Southwood Road, Ferry Point & improved access)

4) Leigh Park Centre

5) Waterlooville Town Centre

There is a need to improve access to the focal areas on Hayling Island. This will drive visitor numbers and increase viability of attractions.”

Regeneration Programme

“A schedule of projects has been developed in the five key development areas. This list makes up the Regeneration Programme. This programme is a separate, dynamic document setting out the details of individual projects including some which are commercially sensitive. The delivery of the projects on the Regeneration Programme will be progressed in a way that is focussed on the objectives of this strategy…”


PHASE 1 (2018 – 2024) Quick wins, sites entirely in HBC ownership & opportunities for income generation

PHASE 2 (2024 – 2030) More complex longer term projects

PHASE 3 (2030 – 2036) Aspirational projects that are more challenging, or where market conditions are less favourable”

The Vision

Pages 12 and 13 of the document contain the visionary statements which have had many of the local groups most exercised.  There are six of them, one for each of the five key regeneration areas listed above.  Wait…. six?  Yes, the sixth relates to the ‘Civic Plaza Area’, conveniently listed earlier with ‘Havant Town Centre’.  The reason for this appears simple, in the first five years of the Regeneration Programme, the only site where action might be visible will be somewhere on the car park of the Civic Plaza, where we might expect to see 100 new houses.

We won’t see any change in our parts of the borough before 2025.

By all means read the text in those blue boxes, but do please have the salt nearby…


Picking out a few key word and phrases:

“Interventionist “
“flexible policies that adapt to our rapidly changing society”
“Integrate regeneration into the Corporate Strategy for whole council focus”
“Borrow to Invest”
“Pump priming”
“Where necessary the Council will utilise its Compulsory Purchase Powers to bring forward schemes and will make the required budget available. This will give greater certainty over delivery of the Regeneration Programme.”

We do like that last one (it’s on Page 14).


And here it is again (repeated verbatim on Page 15) as if to reinforce the fact that they’re obviously serious about it.

“Where necessary the Council will utilise its Compulsory Purchase Powers to bring forward schemes and will make the required budget available . This will give greater certainty over delivery of the Regeneration Programme.”


“We’ve already engaged the architects of Berewood to produce some impressive CGI visualisations of what this might look like.”


“Havant Borough Council is not a commercial developer and as such does not have the breadth of skills and depth of resource required to carry forward such an ambitious regeneration programme.”

In other words, we’re going to have a ‘resourcing challenge’.

Governance & Management

A dull heading perhaps but activities critical to the delivery of such a complex programme of work.  Summarised in a few bullets and a ‘Governance Structure’  chart.

You might wonder why the ‘External Stakeholders’ box is so large and so vacant.  If you do, read our response to the document.Regeneration Programme Governance - 1

Appendix A – Economic Evidence Base

A few tables giving the evidence behind the suggestion in the document that “Havant workers are lower paid, have lower skills and a lower value of role than the average for the South East.”

That’s it, in a nutshell.  Our response will follow shortly.


If the content you find here is of interest to you and if you share our desire to make an active and positive contribution to the regeneration of Havant, please consider joining us. The outlay is small but the potential impact our combined voice can have is significant.  Please take this link to view the various membership options available, including a simple online form. 




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.

Result! 39 West Street – The Domino’s Pizza planning application is turned down.

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.P1120056

The planning consultant involved seemed clearly out of touch with the local area and the needs of its residents.  He also seemed surprisingly out of touch with some of the detail, for example the current operating hours of the intended tenant, Domino’s, at their existing site in North Street.  But that’s just a small detail and we should make it absolutely clear that we have no issue at all with Domino’s at their current site.

The Development Management Committee clearly agreed, overturning the recommendation of the Planning Officer and voting on an amended proposal to reject the application by six votes to one, the solitary supporter being the Chairman of the Committee who expressed the need to support his beleaguered troops.

Havant Civic Society split our five minute slot, objecting to the application on two fronts. The first part, delivered by our chairman, can be viewed by taking this link.  The second part was delivered as a personal statement by one of our committee members who lives in West Street, just a stone’s throw from the site of the application.

The ‘obvious’ objection that it was for ‘another fast food outlet’ carries no weight at these meetings, so the core of our objections were ‘the lack of parking at the site’ and ‘the unacceptable impact on Park Road South traffic’.

Tim Pike, as the St. Faith’s ward Councillor who at our request had pushed for the application to be heard in Committee, gave a spirited address which clearly reflected the many letters of objection he had personally received.

In the end, all six council members on the committee voted to reject the application, motivated to a significant degree by their recent visit to a site which was so clearly and unquestionably unsuited to the applicant’s purpose.

A good result all round, particularly for Domino’s who we assume can now remain at their North Street site with its unrestricted opening hours and virtually unrestricted late night parking.  To the landowner and their planning consultant we say, look for a more intelligent regeneration option for the site. Apply some lateral thinking and we’ll be the first to support you.

There are, however, a few questions worth asking:

1) How did the developer ever think that they could operate a pizza takeaway in this bizarre location? Surely a ‘dark kitchen’ site in an accommodating local car park would have been more obvious?

2) How did the Traffic Management team miss the very obvious issue of the traffic impact on Park Road South? (Perhaps we’re starting to understand why that issue goes unaddressed. In fact it’s interesting that the members of the Development Management Committee didn’t latch on to it either.  Perhaps, being from out of town, they rarely drive through Park Road South?)

3) How come HBC still fail to appreciate the logical boundary of the Town Centre?  The shops and new retail businesses surrounding the old HSBC bank, Sherwood Florist, Kuru, Next Floor, Havant Music Mart, and Inspire surely deserve recognition as part of the “primary frontage” of the town centre?

This, for your enlightenment, is defined for planning purposes as part of the ‘primary frontage’ of Havant town centre.

Or are they just content with an arbitrary delineation of the town centre boundary?  (We’re only just getting started on this point since we have, of course, the same concern about the dropping of East Street from the ‘town centre’. This is a subject we shall return to)

4) And perhaps most importantly:  How come this obviously flawed planning application was originally defined as suitable for a delegated decision?  Had it not been for Havant Civic Society jumping up and down and the subsequent support of St Faith’s Councillor Tim Pike in getting this application red-carded for review by tonight’s development committee, this application might well just have gone through ‘on the nod’.

It doesn’t really bear thinking about, but here at HCS we’ll ask the questions for you anyway!