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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Malinda Griffin, The Havant Tree Wardens’ coordinator, outlined a proposal for a ‘tree walk’ for Havant at a meeting in the Wheelright’s Arms on Monday evening, 15th October, to an enthusiastic group of 16 present.
Malinda Griffin outlined the work of the tree wardens across the Borough and passed round leaflets showing tree trails in other areas. A leaflet to download from a website is another option.
She also spoke about the importance of trees and hedgerows how trees are measured and various web sites where information can be found. She will circulate all the details to the chairman who will publish them on a new project page set up for the purpose.
Havant has a low tree canopy percentage but also has many magnificent trees. More mapping is needed. Malinda introduced Rob Foord who is the new Tree warden for Havant and has considerable expertise working with both environmental groups and the charity sector.
There was enthusiasm to set up a tree trail based around the historic town trail, extended to the New Lane cemetery in the North. The walk could link with others in surrounding areas such as Emsworth and Hayling.
Rob Foord will lead the group, Helen Boulden volunteered to be a link with Fairfield School and Bob Comlay will provide the HCS support. Bob will set a date for for a project kick-off meeting in November and will look to include a member of HBC’s Landscape Maintenance team.
Friends of the Earth, represented at the Wheelright’s by Ray Cobbett, have offered to make a donation to the project.
The minutes from the meeting can be read or downloaded by selecting this link.
We would like to thank all those who attended last night’s meeting at St Faith’s Church, with particular thanks to our guest speaker Tracey Viney from Portsmouth Water Company.
Tracey’s presentation on the Havant Thicket Winter Storage Reservoir project was of great interest. It’s a project which has been long in the planning and approvals stage but which is now gathering momentum.
For further details, click on the image and the project website will open in a new browser tab.
The full set of slides from the HCS part of the meeting can be viewed by taking this link.
Following the re-election of the Committee, our new roles for 2018-19, correctly aligned to our recently restored constitution, can be seen by taking the links under ‘About us’ in the main menu of the website.
The online survey issued before the meeting proved to be useful, with 35 respondents to date. Rather than immediately deleting the records, we will leave the survey open for a further week so if you’ve not taken the opportunity to have your say, the survey will be active at this link until the Wednesday, October 3rd.
If you don’t want to page through the full slide set, those relating to the first part of the survey can be viewed here. Summaries of the free text entries under the “Which aspects of Havant have annoyed you most?” and “Which aspects of Havant have pleased you most?” questions, duly anonymised, can be viewed by taking those links. There’s something for everyone in there, though sadly few surprises.
We draw your particular attention the section of the presentation, slides 20 to 24, which covers Ann Buckley’s update on the Havant Borough Local Plan to 2036. Please read these carefully and take note of the meeting dates in your diaries. We will be adding the dates to our What’s On calendar in due course.
In our summing up, we stressed the opportunity that Havant now has to be the town centre destination of choice for our rapidly expanding residential population. It’s now critical that Havant Borough Council grasp that opportunity. The regeneration of the town centre ‘brown field’ sites, with the quality of development that Havant deserves, is long overdue.
We ran out of time last night before I could pass the following comment.
“I was born in Southsea, brought up in Portsmouth and moved to Havant in 1975. In my childhood, there were always two depressing, dirty railway towns ‘up the line’, one being Havant, the other Petersfield.
Petersfield got its act together long ago and it’s high time that Havant did the same. Of those two railway towns, Havant’s potential is so much the greater.”
As we said last night, please take the time to contact your councillors and make your views known. If you don’t know who they are, you can find them here. Their postal and email addresses are clearly stated.
If you’re unhappy with the response, please let us know.
Thank you for your support.
In case any of you are struggling to find the Questionnaire referred to on our AGM email, here is the link.
On Monday April 30th, the Portsmouth News reported on comments made at the Public Meeting, held on April 26th at St. Faith’s Church, Havant.
The article can be viewed at this link.
A public meeting of the Society was held on Thursday April 26th at St Faith’s Church. The minutes of the meeting can be found by clicking this link.
Meeting was attended by about 40 members and local residents. The theme of the evening was “retailing in Havant
town centre” and speakers included Rob Fryer the manager of the Meridian Centre and Tony Probert the manager of Waitrose Havant
Rob Fryer the manager of the Meridian Centre- KEY POINTS
1. Havant thrives because of its good travel links but struggles to attract footfall across Park Road South.
2. However footfall in the centre has been increased thanks to PoundWorld which is very popular.
3. Units on the first floor are much more difficult to let.
4. Late night opening has been tried but that has failed largely because Havant shuts up shop at 5:30 and there is no night time economy. It would require a bowling alley or cinema in the centre to initiate growth.
5. There is general agreement that signage from the A27 needs improving. This could include the street markets which
provide the greatest footfall of the week on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
6. Online shopping is a threat to all retailers many of whom are now looking for much smaller units and start up support.
7. The migration of footfall to the new western developments is also driven by free parking which cannot be supplied by the centre.
8. 80,000 ft.2 of new retail space opposite Tesco’s will provide more competition for the Meridian Centre.
Questions were were raised on subjects raising from pop-up shops to the likelihood of a gym opening up on the first-floor and Rob was thanked for the help and support that he has given to charities and community during his tenure.
Tony Probert the manager of Waitrose Havant – KEY POINTS
Waitrose has been a grocer in Havant for the last 35 years and in common with all food retailers faces a number of issues during a tough trading environment as indicated by:
1. Deflation caused by competition from discounters and the falling commodity prices
2. Online sales show a 40% increase year-on-year
3. Convenience stores-residents are shopping more frequently consequently more small convenience stores are opening than large ones. One positive result is that consumers are wasting less produce.
4. Incentivisation in the form of functions, loyalty cards and free offers are becoming the norm
5. People are eating out more frequently resulting in growth in coffee shops
6. Lunchtime trade has been badly affected by the new restaurant opening in Langstone
7. Waitrose’s greatest assets are its staff many of whom are long serving, and without whom 15,000 customer till transactions a week would not be possible..
8. The store sees itself as part of the community and works hard to support it.
QUESTIONS were raised ranging from the pace at the checkouts to the reason for not expanding into the old Post
Office. All were answered fully and directly. Rob and Tony stayed to answer any questions until the end of the meeting and
were each presented with a small gift from the society in appreciation of their support.
Helen and Tim gave an update on plans for the refurbishment of the Gazebo Garden and the society’s role in ongoing maintenance.
It was announced that Bill Woods would be stepping down from the committee after two and a half years as chairman. This was due to family, health and workload issues. Bill praised the committee for each playing a role in the scrutiny of new planning. Bill suggested that the committee be enlarged by two members in order to continue to run effectively.