HCS AGM and Public Meeting – September 26th 2018

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.

ReservoirTracey’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.

Bob Comlay







‘News’ report from the Public Meeting, April 2018.

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.


HCS public meeting February 10, 2015

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.

AGM – 21 October 2014

Apologies had been received from 5 members, 28 members were present

Minutes of the last AGM are on our website

1 Chairman’s Welcome from Bill Woods: This has been an interesting year with many significant planning applications. HBC’s Urban Design Framework set out in 2006 is due for review this year.

2 & 3 Presentation by Tod Wakefield and Nicola Crowson, architects and academics at the Portsmouth School of Architecture “The value of Modern Architecture, and how ignoring it might be doing a disservice to the town.”

Topics included the history of modern architecture with particular mention of Le Corbusier Louis Khan and Utzon. Portsmouth School of Architecture‘s approach to teaching and learning involves a wide range of materials and worldwide locations. Slides showed use of natural light as a major element in the ambience of buildings.

The UK‘s wariness of modern, unfamiliar architecture has resulted in most new building being a pastiche of old styles varying little from one location to another. Questions from the floor revealed that the balance between engineering, urban planning and sculptural emphasis varies between universities.

The speakers’ key points were:

We consider that the resistance to modernism represents a profound loss of nerve in the UK. We must embrace the unexpected, the vibrant, the complex and the new……


How to look at architecture? Take a deep breadth! Wait before deciding to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ what you see. Is it an honest expression of a wonderful set of spaces accommodating peoples’ needs?

The speakers were thanked for their informative and interesting presentation.

4 Information Exchange

  • Market Parade – no planning application has yet been submitted. As the developer paid for the consultation the feedback forms went to him.

  • The railway footbridge, after 10 years wait, is now second of HBC’s priorities

  • The Town Mill Wheel (east of Tesco) is undergoing repair.

  • Plans for 7 and 9 East Street have been withdrawn – the significance of this is unclear

  • Havant does have a local list of important buildings

  • The Gazebo Garden is an need of reappraisal for refurbishment and long term maintenance. This could be a long term project for which a Heritage lottery grant application would be appropriate.

  • Harry Crossley was thanked for auditing the Society’s accounts which were found to be in very good order. The Society has a balance of about £400

4 Election of new committee members

Many of the original committee have stepped down for family and work reasons. There were no volunteers for positions of chairman, secretary or publicity/communications officer. The remaining committee (Bill Woods, Ray Cantwell, Tim Dawes, Christopher Evans) will be joined by Bob Comlay who will discuss further replenishment and specific roles.

5 AOB There being no further business the meeting was closed at 9pm

Open Meeting – 8th July 2014

Apologies had been received from 3 of the committee and 5 other members

1 The chairman introduced John Worley who explained the concept of Men’s Sheds. These are permanent venues where retired men meet and chat, but also share expertise and seldom used equipment. He also recommended “Streetlife” website – a social network for local communities.

2 Guest Speaker Sophie Fullerlove – The Spring’s Role in Havant’s Civic and Artistic Life

Sophie has been in post as Director of The Spring for 18 months. She has worked towards integrating Arts and Heritage, creating something more outward looking than an updated Havant Museum.

The Spring believes that participating in live arts and connecting with local heritage can help to improve everyone’s quality of life. Activities include:

  • Live events and film screenings
  • Participatory events and opportunities
  • Heritage collection care, recording and exhibitions
  • Cultural advice and support services

The Spring’s galleries exist and activities take place to record and celebrate the history of Havant Borough, the people who live here and their stories. Last year saw 2% increase in visitors, 70% increase in those engaging with the local heritage collection and The Guide Award for Best Exhibition (Hayling Billy 50).

Forthcoming activites include:

  • Heritage Talks and Tours
  • Collecting material for Hayling Billy Oral History,
  • Open Days and Museums at Night
  • Waterlooville 200 (200 years since Battle of Waterloo)
  • Heritage inspired performances and films
  • Book Amnesty (over 250 are missing from The Spring’s collection)
  • First World War Commemorations – WW1 commemorations Textile Book of Remembrance, Open Day, War Memorial Photo Flashmob,Heritage Talks,Exhibitions,Theatre Performances

The speaker mentioned collaboration with HCS, work with Park School and Forest Forge (touring theatre company based in New Forest).

3 The Big Dig is not over – it continues through September. Packs explaining how to conduct a dig are available at The Spring.

4 Market Parade proposal update

Bill Woods displayed the outline proposal as presented by developer Shaun Adams at the Development Consultation Forum (3rd July 2014). Bill based his representation to the DCF on HBC’s Town Centre Urban Design Framework (2006) and comments submitted by HCS members. Bill hopes to talk directly to the architect moving the design towards a high status development which will be admired by residents and visitors.

Points from the floor included:

Councillors are generally supportive of our wish for a high quality development

Suggestion that we replace “high quality” with “elegant” to avoid a technically high quality, but widely disliked development

Question about who the intended market is (it has migrated down market since first presented)

Disagreement about the required percentage (if any) of affordable homes

Suggestion that it would be useful to have a meeting addressed by an architect talking about good modern design

Developer has included land he does not own

The council should be urged to use compulsory purchase orders

5 East Street

The chairman displayed plans for numbers 7 and 9 which have been withdrawn, followed by revised plans which are awaiting a decision. Discussion included the relative merits of authentic modern building style which is generally regarded as out of place versus that which imitates the style of earlier times.

6 Davies Chemist

Modernisation is now complete at considerable expense to the owner. HCS had urged retention of the historic structures and fittings where possible. The external appearance is unchanged whilst the interior complies with modern pharmacy standards.

7 Logo

The design was displayed and comments sought. Some felt that there were too many fonts – no more than two should be used. The most appealing font (American Typewriter) is not included in most applications. The strap line was popular.There was insufficient time to show full range of material provided by the artist.

8 Other Business

We are awaiting information from Cllr Jackie Branson about who owns or is responsible for repairs to the mill wheel at SE corner of Tesco’s site. Havant Literary Festival will run from 3rd to 12th October 2014; details are included in The Spring’s brochure.

Our Mission Statement

Havant Civic Society aims to conserve and cherish the important features of Havant’s distinctive heritage.  We seek to encourage quality design in new developments which will enhance the town.  We wish it to be a thriving borough centre with a sound cultural and economic base – a town that residents are proud of and that people want to visit.

The Story So Far

At a packed and vibrant public meeting in St Faith’s Hall on 22nd August 2012 many people registered interest in a Civic Society. A follow-up meeting was held at The Meeting Place, URC in September (attended by about 120 people) at which a speaker from the Petersfield Society gave a talk on civic societies. People agreed that this would be good for Havant, so an interim committee was formed.

The August and September meetings had been facilitated by Tim Dawes. Following the formal establishment of Havant Civic Society, the following Officers were elected:

Chair              Bill Woods
Vice Chair    David Smith
Secretary       Carole Nash
Treasurer       Ray Cantwell

who all continue in post following the most recent AGM in October 2013.

It has been a busy first two years for the Society, with a steep learning curve. During this period HCS has:

  • Distributed regular newsletters to members
  • Delivered hard copies of the first two newsletters throughout central Havant
  • Forged links with other organisations
  • Maintained a full Committee membership
  • Held regular public meetings and committee meetings
  • Established good working relations with HBC officers
  • Constantly monitored planning applications and consulted members
  • Hosted guest speakers on a range of topics

We have made an excellent beginning and aim to achieve a great deal more, with the active support of our membership.

Report on Open Meeting 23rd September 2013 at 7pm in Bosmere School Hall

Report on Open Meeting 23rd September 2013 at 7pm in Bosmere School Hall

1 Approximately 70 people were present and welcomed by the chairman. He apologised for poor consultation procedures; a potential remedy on reverse of agenda will be discussed under item 5

2 Sophie Fullerlove Director the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre said that Havant’s is the only centre of its kind in Hampshire. She aims to take the centre out into the community and earn the pride of Havant’s people. Paul Atterbury will be at The Spring on 10 October, 2013 talking on “A life with Trains”. Society members were invited to participate the Battle Lines Theatre Company project. Three 45-minutes dramas will be created for which real stories are required. This could be a special event for the civic society or participation a public workshop.

3 Dr Hannah Fluck Senior Archaeologist Hampshire County Council talked about “Roman Havant” and recent archaeological finds. This enjoyable and informative talk included text, maps and photographs. Some points to emerge from the presentation and questions from the floor were:

 The Historic Environment Record, the database which is used to inform anyone wishing to excavate for any land management reason, is open to the public. Members of the public are also encouraged to report finds of potential interest telephone 01962 832338 historic.environment@Hants.gov.uk
 Pottery finds in Rowland’s Castle and the temple on Hayling Island are well known, but there is little evidence of Havant having been a Roman town. Something of interest is possibly under St Faith’s church.
 Homewell House well is particularly interesting for both for its structure of stone from IoW and its content including a ring, dogs, a brooch, coins and an infant. These are all still being analysed; there are many possible reasons for their presence in this well. Post holes indicate that nearby building was not particularly substantial.
 Other finds in this area (including Horndean, Warblington and Denvilles) are indicative of isolated substantial dwellings, perhaps deriving income from trade e.g. olive oil.
 There is considerable evidence of Havant’s trade links with continental Europe before the Roman invasion.
 A synchronised exploratory “big dig” by the residents of Grove Road planned for 2014 would be interesting and may inform opinion about the exact line of the original east-west road.
 Somtimes exploratory trenches on a new site (typically covering 5%) show clearly that there has been no previous occupation whatsoever.
 Other wells in the proximity of St. Faith’s are medieval.

4 Shaun Adams Hampshire and Regional Development Ltd discussed plans for redeveloping Market Parade. This included material selected from HBC’s local plan which had been used for guidance, a map of Market Parade and an architect’s drawing of the proposed building. This plan differed in almost every respect (design, materials, target market, retail, food and beverage provision) from the plan previously discussed with the committee – the only common aspect is the location. Understandably, the chairman and committee members were disquieted by these unannounced changes. Comments from the floor included:
 The brutal appearance
 Canyon effect when the west side is developed
 Parking provision and traffic implications
 The number of eating places already in existence (>25)
 Would the project include replacement of the railway footbridge? Developer said it would.

5 Closing comments:
The suggestion that in future the newsletter could be confined to members only was discussed. Some thought that this would limit the chances of increasing our membership.
Suggested occasional, perhaps bimonthly, members meetings in a local hostelry on a Sunday or Monday evening to discuss issues with the committee – members did not support this idea.
Participation in the Battlelines project – it was widely agreed that joining a public event is preferable.
The Consultation form (on reverse of agenda) was acknowledged as a good move in the right direction.
The Civic Society is a very young organisation and needs time to refine its procedures.
HCS should request an update from HBC into progress on the public consultation launched in March.
Following an announcement in the local press that a national planning agent will be appointed to look at the East Street area, HCS should request details of how this contract will be advertised, whether it will be put out to tender, what the parameters of the consultation will be and how members of the public and affected parties can make submissions.
Possibility of using Facebook for communication (perhaps a closed group with posts visible to members only)
The Chair urged members to comment upon the Local Allocation Plan before the closing date of 22 November 2013