Last night’s Development Consultation (DCF) Forum at the Plaza was a well attended event.
The DCF is a platform for a developer to share their proposal with the council and interested community groups along with the public before moving onto the planning application stage. This is a useful initiative by Havant Borough Council which enables local residents to get early sight of potential future developments. Residents are invited to question the developer and the developer is encouraged to take note of this feedback before submitting a formal planning application.
The land in question is to the west of the town, alongside the Hermitage Stream which runs down parallel to the railway to the south east of Bedhampton Gates. The developer, Foreman Homes of Park Gate, are seeking to extend their existing development of homes in Abrams Place, Doyle Close and Longcroft Way, streets which remain unadopted by the council.
Introducing the development team, Steve Weaver, the HBC Case Officer commented that the proposed site for development is ‘unusual’ in that it is not included as an allocation in either the adopted Local Plan or the pre-submission Local Plan 2036. The original allocation for commercial development applicable to part of the site in the currently adopted Local Plan has not been carried forward to the emerging pre-submission Local Plan 2036 because of the current Environment Agency flood risk assessment.
The meeting was well attended by residents of the adjoining streets, West Street and further afield. Foreman Homes were represented by their Planning Manager, Kate Little, and Steve Carrington, Planning Director. There were a couple of other silent members of their team present to make up the numbers but by far the most vocal member of the developer’s team was Tim Wall of iTransport. Tim joined iTransport five years ago after almost ten years as team leader for Strategic Transport for Hampshire County Council. We conclude that (a) he knows his onions and (b) that he has sufficient contacts and inside knowledge from HCC to be worth his fee to Foreman.
Foreman’s Planning Manager outlined their proposal, which shows 164 dwellings on a 4.1 hectare site, representing a density of 40 to the hectare – 16 to the acre in ‘old money’. The proposal for access to the site would either be via Abrams Way or Meyrick Road, the former an unadopted street and the latter unsuitable without upgrading. When questioned from the floor regarding the more obvious access route through Marples Way, Mr. Wall responded that access was unavailable due to the existence of a ransom strip between that road and the site.
After the developer’s presentation, the Councillors present were invited to pass comment, with Councillor Lloyd the first into the fray, raising concerns about the availability of parking and appropriate dropped kerbs for access. She asked whether the developer had considered designing houses without garages but with more open off-road space for parking. That was an interesting question though the predictable response was that the developer could make more money by selling garages that buyers will probably never use! Councillor’s Crellan and Keast weighed in on the evident lack of consultation with the Highways Agency and the providers of medical services, both observing that the developer’s action in bringing this to the DCF seemed ‘premature’.
Councillor Satchwell, seen by some of her Tory peers as ‘the opposition’, gave her usual refreshingly clearcut, no bull, response, observing that it was the first time she’d seen a developer bring forward a development proposal for which access was required over an unadopted road. She stressed the need for engagement with the owners of the road and the residents of the streets concerned.
Those residents, it seems, are already disgruntled about having been sold houses by the very same developer for which the associated annual management fees appear to have been hidden until purchase completion. Indeed, one resident asked directly whether Foreman would employ the same trick with this new proposed development.
These questions met with silence from Kate Little and muttering from her Planning Director to the effect that if the level of opposition continued, their development option would become smaller and smaller, adversely impacting their profit and probably resulting in the proposal being dropped.
In the discussion which followed it became clear that despite the fact that Foreman had built the original development through which access would be needed, they had clearly not considered, nor did they know, whether they already had access rights.
We took a well trodden path and pointed out that with anticipated applications by Portsmouth Water for development of their new HQ offices behind the Bosmere Medical Centre and the development of housing on their existing West Street site, current traffic chaos in the area can only get worse. While we have confidence that in any forthcoming planning application, Tim Wall will cover the traffic questions to the level of detail which would tick all of his former employer’s boxes, he would be considering the application in isolation. Just who in Havant Borough Council , we asked, is taking a holistic view of the overall traffic impact of the consolidated set of development proposals. We didn’t really get a clear answer…
Steve Weaver, the case officer for Havant Borough Council, wrapped up the meeting by saying that the presentations and output from the meeting would be ‘available on the website within a few days’. (Whether it gets there before the documentation from the previous DCF , number 49 from October last year remains to be seen;)
While the DCF process is to be commended for giving us an early ‘heads up’ on forthcoming plans for the town, it does concern us that sometimes the development proposals are at odds with both the adopted and Pre-submisssion Local Plans. With development proceeding elsewhere in the borough, on allocations in the new plan which have yet to come before the inspector, it rather calls into question the value of the Local Plan process on which many hours of effort have been expended by both council and public alike.
Having recently discovered Britain from Above as a resource, we’d encourage you to take the link and take a look.
To whet your appetite, here’s a photograph of Havant, taken from the air in 1928, which shows the town as it was a little over ninety years ago.
The main road running from south to north through the photograph is, of course, South Street, running into North Street which carries on north over a long gone level crossing into what is now Leigh Road. At the right hand top corner, New Lane is simply that, a narrow lane heading past the New Lane cemetery which was then on teh outskirts of the town.
Click on the image and it will open slightly larger in a new tab.
The HCS AGM and Public Meeting will be held at the Havant URC Meeting Room on Elm Lane, see map below, on Wednesday November 6th. We’ll be there from 7:00pm and the meeting will start at 7:30pm sharp. We’ll try and keep the AGM matters as brief as possible to allow more time to talk to you about the many items of current interest around the town. A detailed agenda will be posted on the website before the meeting and the highlights can be seen immediately below this map.
We already have a full agenda, kicking off with an update from the Havant Borough Council Regeneration leadership, Councillor Tim Pike and Andrew Biltcliffe. In addition to showing the long awaited Havant Regeneration programme video, a futuristic vision for the town, Tim and Andrew will give us a progress update on the regeneration plan. Applications closed last Friday for the appointment of the development partner for the first phase, the Civic Plaza car park housing site, so we expect also to be able to share some detail on that. Tim has indicated that he’d welcome discussion so we’ll be making the session as interactive as possible.
We will also bring you an update on various activities which HCS has been undertaking under the general heading of ‘Havant’s Green Spaces’. These activities bring HCS together with other local environmental groups including the Havant Borough Tree Wardens who be on hand to give us a brief update on their activity.
Lastly, we’ll be including a round-up of planning and development activity affecting the town centre, including an update on Portsmouth Water’s plans for their site, the first of which has now been aired.
Everyone is welcome and new members will be welcomed.
To give us an idea of numbers, please could you take the time to enter your name and email address below, we’d be grateful. Simply press the green ‘Submit’ button when you’ve finished.
Do you remember this image from a year ago? Well until now, it’s been the only still image made public from the video made over a year ago to sell Havant as an opportunity for outside investors.
The video launch was originally planned for a public meeting at the Meridian Centre back in the summer but the residents who went along were disappointed to find that it was inexplicably dropped at the last minute.
We’re pleased to be able to announce that the first public showing of the video will finally be at at our AGM and Public Meeting!
Cllr. Tim Pike and HBC Head of Regeneration, Andy Biltcliffe, will be coming along to our AGM next Wednesday, November 6th, and will be showing the full video to the meeting, giving us an update on the Regeneration Programme and inviting discussion.
So if you want to see what the fuss is about, make sure you come along on Wednesday evening and join us! Take this link for details.
An update on this location where previously granted planning applications have yet to result in any construction. HBC have now received a request to vary Condition 2 of Planning Permission APP/17/01187 as follows: “Following the demolition of the facades (No’s 5 and 7 East Street) facing onto East Street, a stretch of of hoarding shall be secured in their place with immediate effect”.
This may well have resulted from recent complaints about the lack of security of the site and rubbish being left in the doorways. Whether it’s an indication that construction work is about to begin is anybody’s guess.
APP/17/01187 was in itself a variation of Condition 2 of APP/17/00061. Links below provide the details.
Last night, we attended the Development Consultation Forum for the new Portsmouth Water HQ proposed development.
The HBC team had not invited the Bosmere Medical Practice or their Patient Participation Group (PPG) to the forum and as a result, yesterday’s meeting may have been the first time that the architect and Chancerygate, PW’s shed builder of choice, had been able to grasp the scale of the medical practice they are proposing to trash. With over 19,000 affected local residents on their patient list and as one of the largest GP practices in Hampshire, it seems all the more astonishing that this directly impacted GP practice had not been previously been identified as a ‘key stakeholder’ in the proposal.
The chart above demonstrates how the Bosmere Medical Practice patient list has grown steadily year on year, from 14,700 in 2007, to the current total of 19,370. Given the catchment area of the practice and the growth in population planned in the Havant Borough Local Plan 2036, we can safely predict that this rate of growth will continue.
In what sadly is often the case with Havant, the development proposals for the Portsmouth Water site are being handled piecemeal, with no clear thought to the overall transport infrastructure within which new developments should be defined. The first proposal to come forward, the subject of last night’s Development Consultation Forum, has been drawn up in isolation from the one which will eventually be submitted for the delivery of 135 houses on the ‘old’ Portsmouth Water HQ building in West Street.
Last night was the first time that it had become clear to us that Portsmouth Water intend to keep their site yard in Brockhampton Road. The next (?) phase of the site proposal will be for the 135 houses which will be crammed onto the land occupied by the current HQ building and the land behind it.
Because the architect of last night’s proposal has not been given an overall context in which to plan her design, she has accepted that the Bosmere Medical Centre site access on Solent Road is the only one available to her. In reality, as our questioning brought out, the logical site access for the new development is from Brockhampton Road, through one of the company’s existing ‘yard’ entrances.
Portsmouth Water stated last night that one of the prime reasons for keeping the new HQ building in Havant will be its proximity to this existing yard, an option which their alternative office site (Lakeside, North Harbour) couldn’t offer. When called on by the chairman to respond to points made in our deputation, they expressed reservations as to whether they’d be able to get any access from Brockhampton Road ‘without causing distress to the residents of Manor Court’.
We have good news for them! They already have four possible entrances to choose from:
Forcing new site traffic through what is effectively the dedicated Solent Road access to the Bosmere Medical Centre will cause further traffic chaos on Solent Road and will severely impact the operation of one of Hampshire’s largest GP practices. With over 19,000 residents on their books, it is perhaps unwise of Portsmouth Water not to bring the Practice and their Patient Participation Group with them on this journey.
Havant Civic Society fully support the concept of the Regeneration of Havant, in fact, we’re looking forward to the update which will be given by the Regeneration team at our next public meeting on November 6th. However, we do need to see coherent plans for redevelopment of existing sites within the town. The piecemeal redevelopment of the Portsmouth Water site and the lack of a coherent road infrastructure is not what we think of as ‘Regeneration’.
Please get it right – #rethinkhavant
There’s more concrete pumping going on this morning as the foundations take shape quickly now, burying for good the eyesore which was the Wessex Construction yard.
We still think it rather a sad that more effort wasn’t put into investigation of the industrial archaeology of the old town gas works now long gone, briefly visible in this picture from June.
As Ray Cobbett from Havant FOE has already commented in an email to us, this week’s Stirling prize winner has set a standard for social housing which Havant should be taking a serious look at.
With so much potential housing coming through with the 2035 Local Plan, dare we wish for something as good as this for the town? If HBC are serious in trying to attract national interest, then Norwich have surely shown the way.
The first move by Portsmouth Water to redevelop their Havant premises has now broken cover with the publication by developers WYG of a briefing note concerning the first stage of an overall development programme.
The image below shows West Street at the top, including the entrance to the existing headquarters building, Brockhampton Road to the left and Solent Road running along the bottom. The Bosmere Medical Centre is clearly visible centred along the bottom of the image.
The report in today’s Portsmouth News highlights the broader picture, including as yet unpublished proposals for 135 new houses accessed from West Street. These would cover the land at the top of this image.
The first stage outlined this week proposes the development of a new headquarters office building to the south of the existing West Street site and immediately to the north of the Bosmere Medical Centre in Solent Road. Also included are three commercial units, with access to the new employment sites sharing the Solent Road entrance currently dedicated to the Bosmere Medical Centre.
Given the volume of traffic already using Solent Road at peak times, adding Portsmouth Water’s office traffic to the mix will surely make things worse. Peak traffic times also align with peak surgery access times and with the volume of patient traffic, both private car and taxi and with regular deliveries to Boots, the on-site chemist, wider use of the existing surgery access road need questioning.
The proposal will be the subject of a Development Consultation Forum on October 22nd at 6:00pm. Since this is likely to be of wider interest to our members, many of whom will be patients registered with the Bosmere Practice, you may wish to come along to that meeting.
As you may have seen in today’s Portsmouth News, Southampton based Drew Smith Homes have been awarded funding by Homes England to construct 95 homes on the former Colt site in New Lane, half of which will be offered as ‘affordable homes’.
It’s difficult to make much sense of the illustration included on the press release, but rest assured we’ll bring you the detail of the planning application when the developer submits it.
We originally brought you news of the outline planning application back in May, and we expect the detailed plans to follow much the same approach. To recap, this is the overall Masterplan for the site: