£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.

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

39 West Street – Shouldn’t HBC practice what they preach?

One of today’s responses to the HSBC / Pizza takeaway planning application had me running for the search engines to find the source, and here it is.   Dating from as recently as November 2017, the HBC ‘Healthy Borough Assessment’ is well worth a read.

The whole of Section 3 – Planning and Health – is germane to the debate about fast food in the town centre while the paragraph (3.19) quoted by this clearly well-informed resident sums up the Council’s thinking on fast food in the town centre.

“Havant scores significantly worse than the England average against the excess weight in adults indicator (2012-2014). Figure 1 below also shows parts of Havant to have a high number of fast food outlets compared to other areas. Together, these statistics point to a justification for a policy restricting fast food outlets in Havant Town Centre.”

To provide a balanced view, I’ve completed the quote here with the remainder of the paragraph:

“However it is also true that hot food takeaways (A5) are not the only source of unhealthy food in town centres. A number of shops (A1) can also provide unhealthy take-away food choices as well. Furthermore, such a restriction would do nothing to address the health of the existing take-away choices on offer. Such an approach would benefit from an update to the Use Classes Order in order to specifically identify uses which could provide unhealthy choices.


It’s encouraging to see that the Council is clearly considering the health and welfare of its residents as they plan for our future.  It’s no wonder then, that the Local Plan 2036 clearly proposes moving fast food out of the town centre in favour of “other uses which promote activity and have not traditionally been part of a town centre offer such as gyms or healthcare…”

With this in mind, the current application for 39 West Street should surely be turned down flat? The detail of opening hours becomes simply an irrelevant diversion.

(In fairness, this is a personal view and not necessarily the view of the Havant Civic Society)


39 West Street – Welcome support received

With regard to the planning application for the former HSBC site, currently highlighted on our home page, we are delighted to announce that within hours of our comments on the application being submitted, we have received confirmation that Councillor Tim Pike, representing St Faith’s Ward, has received and understood our concerns and has already asked that this application be referred to to the full Development Management Committee meeting.

While we thank Tim for his support, we would caution readers that this is far from the end of the matter.  Please review the original editorial comment on the home page and take the time to understand the issues which concern us. If you share our concerns, please exercise your right to comment by taking this link and submitting your comments before the closing date on August 17th.  In this way, the Development Management Committee will be in possession of your concerns in addition to those already already raised.

Plans for 39 West Street

There has been healthy debate among the members of the Havant Civic Society committee over the Havant Borough Council planning decision process.  In particular, the following paragraph has come under particular focus:

“It is not always necessary for an application to be decided by the Development Management Committee.  In most minor and non-controversial proposals, decisions are made by the Head of Planning, under what is known as ‘delegated powers’ “

The corollary of this is that an application listed for decision under ‘delegated powers’ should be a ‘minor and non-controversial’ application that does not require debate by the full planning committee.P1120056The planning application which has generated this discussion concerns the former HSBC bank site on the corner of West Street and Park Road South, an application we first highlighted on this site on July 28th.  Whether you view this application as ‘minor’ and ‘non-controversial’ probably depends on whether or not you live within the town centre . Those outside St Faiths might indeed view this change as minor, while residents of St Faith’s would have strong justification for believing it to be both ‘significant’ and ‘controversial’.

The application is for “Change of use from a former bank (Class A2) to a hot food takeaway (Class A5); installation of extraction/ventilation equipment and other minor external alterations”.

We draw your attention in particular to the proposed hours of opening, section 19 of the planning application document:

For the sake of clarity, that reads ‘Monday to Saturday, 09:00 am til 02:00 am, Sunday, 09:00 am til 01:00 am’.

(We note that the Design and Access Statement submitted on behalf of local landowner and developer Geo & R Carrell Properties Ltd. actually proposes slightly different  hours, but the impact on residents is broadly the same)

We are pleased to see that a number of comments have already been submitted by local residents and businesses and have just submitted our considered objections in good time for the closing date for comments which is August 17th.  We are also contacting the Ward Councillors in order to ensure that the decision process is appropriately informed.

The HCS Committee view is that there are sufficient formal grounds to object to this application and we believe that public debate on this is important.

With reference to the 186 pages of the currently adopted Local Plan, we believe the application falls foul of the following development policies:

DM5 Control of Class A3, A4 and A5 Food, Drink and Entertainment Uses. (Page 128)

“Criteria 5 – …indiscriminate customer parking and/or traffic
movement that would be likely to create hazards for traffic or pedestrians”

“Criteria 6 – …unacceptable disturbance to the occupiers of nearby residential property at times when activity in the immediate vicinity would otherwise be at a relatively quiet level.”

DM14 Car and Cycle Parking on Development (excluding residential)

“Development will only be permitted where it provides parking for cars, motor cycles and cycles in accordance with the relevant standards. Such parking provision must be appropriately located in relation to the development and be practical for its intended use.”

Policy C8 in the Draft Local Plan 2036 (page 309) will update and replace DM5, and equivalent criteria regarding ‘unacceptable disturbance’ are in already place.

In a further reference to the Draft Local Plan, table 1 on page 14, presents a strategy in which hot food take-aways are clearly and sensibly moved away from the core of the town centres.

Town Centre Strategy

Curiously, this table does not include reference to policy KS1, relating to Havant Town Centre.  Looking at the detail of Policy KS1, paragraph 3.16 is particularly appropriate.

“In the future, development will be supported that diversifies the types of uses in this area. Together with retail, other uses which promote activity and have not  traditionally been part of a town centre offer such as gyms or healthcare will be supported. The Council will also support proposals which help retain and enhance the outdoor markets which take place in West Street.”

(Note – the italics are ours)

In summary, no matter how the decision is made, the question of ‘unacceptable disturbance to nearby residents’ is paramount.  To place the application in context, consider that McDonalds operates from 6:00 AM til 9:00 PM daily.  Granting later opening hours in the increasingly residential core of the historic town would set a very dangerous precedent which others would surely wish to follow.

Time here is of the essence since the decision on this application is due to be made on August 17th.  If you share our concerns, we would urge you to take the following actions:

  1. Use your right to comment on the application by taking this link.
  2. Contact your ward Councillor and ask them to ensure that this application is referred for proper debate. Your councillor’s email address can be found on this page of the HBC site.

Latest planning applications – July 28th 2018.

Two of this week’s planning applications have attracted our attention, both in West Street.

The first, is for the former HSBC site on the corner of West Street and Park Road South and is for a “Change of use from a former bank (Class A2) to a hot food takeaway (Class A5).”

Apart from ” does Havant really need another fast food outlet?”, the serious concern is the amount of litter that these types of operation generate, which doesn’t get cleaned up rapidly enough and leaves a poor impression on visitors.

Former HSBC site

The second is an outline application, for the erection of three, two bed dwellings on land to the rear of 70-76 West Street.

This a brownfield site which, in part, lies to the rear of the former Cobden Arms public house. At first glance, this seems a sensible use of what is currently wasteland. However, we would welcome any informed comments via the website  or by email to civicsocietyhavant@gmail.com

Land to the rear of 70-76 West Street