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.

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.

 

H16| Land east of Castle Avenue.

An application has been submitted this week, by Persimmon Homes, for part of this area, which is proposed for housing in the Draft Local Plan 2036. Yet another application coming in ahead of the plan being adopted and approved.

Details can be found by using this link:

APP/18/01033|Land East of Castle Avenue.

‘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.

INTRODUCTION

“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:

THE CASE FOR REGENERATION

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.

THE STRATEGY

“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…”

Prioritisation

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…

Approach

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).

Funding

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.”

Delivery

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

Resources

“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. 

 

 

 

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?

D7C_6914
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!

#rethinkhavant

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:

£25 Million Health and Housing Scheme Falls Through

Seven years ago planning consent was given for a new community hospital on the old Oak Park School site in Havant. The new unit would have provided a range of services including older people’s beds, replacing those at the Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital and Havant War Memorial hospital after they both closed.

Despite planning consent the NHS decided in 2010 not to proceed with the hospital but agreed to extend the existing Childrens’ Service building close to the Oak Park site in Havant. The Oak Park Clinic resulted and now offers day services such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy but not  the beds for older people which would  reduce bed blocking at QA Hospital.

To recover the lost hospital beds, an imaginative scheme was drawn up to develop the large site, owned by Hampshire County Council (HCC) and the NHS.  It would be a nursing home with eighty beds and a hundred rented flats for older people.  These are flats that include a range of services on site including social care. The tender was drawn up and a consortium won the bid in 2014. The following year the planning application was approved.

Contradictory government policies initially paralysed the project.  While encouraging extra-care housing their Welfare Reform policy capped rent levels making supported housing more expensive relative to Housing Benefit which would not cover the costs. After much lobbying nationally, the government agreed to support these higher rents for these supported homes and negotiations continued.  Most recent investigations reveal that the appointed contractors have now pulled out thus wasting another 4 years work on the £25millon project and forcing HCC to start again.

In summary we started a journey eight years ago with the prospect of a community hospital; that gets cancelled and was replaced with a scheme to provide homes for older people and also a nursing home. This has now fallen through and we are back to square one. It’s hard to resist the view that there has been inadequate scrutiny, poor procurement, no information from Hampshire County Council and now a much smaller development than originally specified.

Surely Havant Borough deserves better?

[This post submitted by Ann Buckley, Coordinator of the Havant Borough Residents Alliance and member of the Havant Civic Society Committee.  Ann is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and former Hampshire county councillor]

Bartons Road new development – In the News

Havant’s hard working local news reporter was on site in the Council chamber last night.

Tamara Siddiqui has written an article in today’s Portsmouth News  on last night’s Development Consultation Forum for the Bartons Road ‘west of the crematorium‘ housing development.

Click on the underlined links to read the articles.  As always, we would value your comments.

Development Consultation Forum on Housing to the north of Bartons Road

Today’s Development Consultation Forum at the Havant Plaza gave us the first sight of an outline proposal for around 90 new homes on land immediately west of The Oaks crematorium. The presentation, by planning consultants engaged by the land owner, White Farming Ltd., aka Southleigh Estate, highlighted the fact that a considerable amount of work has already been done despite the fact that the site concerned does not appear at all on the currently adopted Local Plan.  Residents of the Barton’s Rise estate present at the meeting commented that they had been assured when they bought their homes that there were no plans for development on their eastern boundary ‘because of proximity to the crematorium.’  Their anger and frustration is justifiable.

From a parochial Havant Civic Society viewpoint, it could be argued that the Barton’s Road site is ‘not in our patch’.  However, with rapid expansion of housing development now encircling the town centre, it’s important that we consider the potential impacts on and benefits for the town centre as a natural destination for these new communities.

Firstly, some geographical context to this evening’s Development Consultation Forum. In the picture below, ‘The Oaks’ crematorium is at the top left and the Wyevale Garden Centre is at the bottom of the frame, slightly left of centre. Bartons road runs from the west at the bottom, to the north at the top. Eastleigh Road can be seen running southwards – left to right – from the Spire hospital to its junction with Southleigh Road, centre right.

This same aerial view will be radically different in ten years time, with most of the arable farmland replaced by housing.  Whether or not the schools, GP surgeries and transport infrastructure will be in place to service those houses were questions high on the agenda of the members of public represented at tonight’s Development Consulting Forum.

At the top of the picture, Southleigh House is already earmarked for around 90 homes.  On the large field occupying the right hand side of this image, the site road is already under construction from Barton’s Road leading to another 175 houses planned by Bellway.  Towards the bottom on the left hand side, the Linden Homes ‘Barton’s Rise’ estate can be seen opposite the entrance to the garden centre.  Each of these housing developments are on land allocated in the currently adopted Local Plan and, therefore, come as no surprise. The issue we are highlighting is that the proposal now under discussion relates to land not previously allocated for housing.

The development forum was considering the preliminary stages of an application by the Southleigh Estate to develop the land between the Crematorium access road and the recently developed Linden Homes ‘Barton’s Rise’ estate.  Using the landowner’s consultant’s charts, here is the site in its more normal ‘north up’ orientation with Barton’s Road running from left to right in the middle with the Spire Hospital at the top right. The crematorium is off the top of this picture, but the site access road can be clearly seen.

Now, let’s put the proposed development into this context:

The proposal is for around 85-90 houses, with the usual mix of ‘affordable’, running from a site access road taken straight from a new T- junction from the crematorium access road.

It’s interesting to note that the bottom half of this picture falls within the remit of Havant Borough Council while the top half, left pleasantly green, is the responsibility of East Hants District Council.

The efforts by the landowner’s consultants to assure residents that the land to the north of the new houses, including the community orchard visible at top right of the diagram alongside the crematorium, would remain as a well run and managed ‘open space’ probably fell on deaf ears.  It doesn’t take much of a gambler to lay odds that EHDC would jump at the chance of developing the top half of this site should HBC set the precedent.  After all, that would be another fifty houses off their own targets while Havant schools and GPs would be left shouldering the responsibility for the residents.

Graham Beeston from Warblington and Denvilles Residents’ Association and Frank Ball from Rowlands Castle Parish Council both made presentations expressing similar concerns. Both groups share our frustration that these development proposals seem not to be underpinned by a robust and comprehensive infrastructure plan designed to ensure that the necessary schools, medical, services and transport infrastructure are in place before these new residents pick up their front door keys.

We appreciated Councillor Leah Turner opening the meeting to the floor in a welcome change from normal protocol. However, the resulting discussion was illuminating, highlighting the anger and frustration of the Barton’s Rise residents outlined above.  A resident from the south side of Barton’s road asked whether the Council fully appreciated that the area had no access to shops and services and poor transport links, with the nearest bus stop 800 metres away.  The consultants responded that they’d discussed that issue, but First Bus saw insufficient demand from this site to justify re-routing their buses.  If ever there was a need for an overarching and comprehensive infrastructure plan, this was it.

There was further worrying news from the Barton’s Rise residents who reported that bat boxes on the proposed development site had mysteriously been removed within the last couple of weeks; curious timing given tonight’s Development Consultation Forum.  The landowner’s consultants were quick to say they had no knowledge of such action and were equally quick to confirm that such an act in an area known to host Bechstein’s bats would be a criminal act that would not be in the interest of the landowner.

We will keep a close eye on any plans for this site as and when they are lodged with HBC.

39 West Street – In the News

Tamara Siddiqui has written an article in today’s Portsmouth News  on the current planning application for 39 West Street. The plan proposing a pizza takeaway for the former HSBC bank site is also covered in detail on the home page of this site.

Click on the underlined links to read the articles.  As always, we would value your comments.