How to find and comment on a planning application

Commenting on a planning application is a relatively simple process. If you’ve ever written a product review online, then you can certainly do this!

We’ve shown a simple six step process here for first Finding, and then Commenting on a planning application. Normally, if we give you a link to comment on a planning application in one of the website articles, then that link will take you straight to Step 5.

If you just want to see what planning applications there are in the Havant Borough Council area, the first place to go is the Planning Public Access page. Click that link and the following page will open in a new browser tab.

Note, the images shown below are a from a Windows PC, the appearance on a phone will be different but the content will be the same. It is actually much easier to work on this from a PC /Laptop screen if you can

Step 1

Enter your search text in the box next to the green Search button and when you’ve entered the details, press the button. In this example, we’ve entered ‘Market Parade’.

Note, if you already know the Planning Application Reference Number, which will be something like APP/21/0001, then enter that number as your search.

Step 2

You’ll now see a list of planning applications in date order, newest at the top. Find the one you’re interested in and click the blue link text.

Step 3

The next screen shows the summary of the planning application that you’ve selected.

Note that there are a set of ‘tabs’, starting with ‘Details‘ and followed by ‘Comments’, ‘Documents’ and ‘Related Cases’. In the image below, we’ve highlighted the ‘Documents‘ tab and the ‘Make a Comment‘ button.

The Details tab gives a summary of the application, and also allows you to see ‘Further information‘, ‘Contacts‘ and ‘Important Dates‘.

The screen that we’ll show next is the one you’ll see when you select the ‘Documents‘ tab. (Note the count showing how many documents there are).

Note If the application is straightforward, perhaps for a conservatory or to cut down a tree, then there will be just a couple of documents, whereas if the application is for a new housing estate there could easily be 50+ documents covering all aspects of the works. 

Step 4

The Documents page will show you a list of the documents associated with the planning application, the most recent being shown first.

Note that on the right hand side of this image, you will see small icons against each document, circled in red in this example. Click those icons to open and read the documents, which will each open in a separate browser tab.

Note This part much easier on a PC than on a phone!

Once you’ve read the documents that interest you and have decided you want to make a comment, then find the ‘Make a Comment button at the top of the page and press it!

Step 5 – Making a Comment

In this example, we show the screen that will appear when you press the ‘Make a Comment’ button on an application. Please note that you do not have to register with the council to see these and comment, but you will have to give a valid name, address, postcode and email address.

When you select the ‘Commenter’ type drop down, pick ‘Complainant‘ – the selections are not exactly clear!

The other important selection to make, highlighted above in red, is your ‘Stance’ on the application, whether you Object, Support or are ‘Neutral’.

Once you’ve done that, you can write your comments in the big box underneath.

Note that you have a limit of 5000 words and you also have a time limit of 30 minutes. You may find it easier to write your comments in a text editor first, then simply cut and paste them into this box.

Step 6

When you’ve finished filling in your comments, simply press the green Submit button. You do not have to register with the Council if you do not wish to.

Final note, Just like product reviews, there is some checking the Council does before your comment is published, so it may take a couple of days before your comment appears.  You will be able to see the comment you have made and comments made by other people.  

If you’re one of the 20,000 patients of the Bosmere Medical Centre, this directly affects you.

After two years of public silence by our Councillors, the long awaited planning application for the new Portsmouth Water Company headquarters building at the back of the Bosmere Medical Centre in Solent Road has finally been loaded to the Havant Borough Council Planning ‘Public Access’ portal.

While several alternative access points have been suggested, Portsmouth Water are insisting on driving the site traffic straight through through the already constrained Solent Road entrance to the Bosmere Medical Centre.

With GP surgery hours dictated by their NHS Contract, it just happens that visits to the surgery must already coincide with peak time traffic in Solent Road. If this application goes ahead, then the doctors, staff and you, the patients are going to have to fight for access with the Portsmouth Water HQ staff and four new industrial units.

We’re not going to waste time repeating ourselves here, so suggest that you read the following posts by clicking the links in order. They will open in separate browser tabs. Each of the posts contains information which will help you understand the history of this application and give you background detail from which to make comments on the application.

The link to the planning system Comments page for this application is included at the bottom of this post, immediately after the map below.

The objections raised at the Development Consultation Forum on October 22nd two years ago have remained unanswered and the St Faith’s Councillors have remained unanimously tight-lipped in the face of repeated requests for transparency over Portsmouth Water’s master plan for the centre of Havant.

In the old days, the ‘Portsmouth Water Company’ was a local business which residents were proud to fund for the service they gave. Today, as ‘Portsmouth Water’, it’s just another privately owned utility maximising its shareholder dividends by flogging off the land around us, unopposed by a council that appears to care more about housing numbers than it does about residents’ health or the working conditions of one of our largest, town-centre NHS GP practices.

To make a comment on this planning application, please click on this link. You have until Friday August 27th to add your comments.

Remember, you have a right to make your voice heard. You pay your Council Tax, you contribute to Portsmouth Water’s profits, and there are times when we all need the overstretched resources of our GP Practices.

On a day when it’s been announced that ‘Home Bargains’ will be opening up in the Solent Road retail park in October, it’s worth us all reflecting on just how much worse Havant’s town centre traffic could get.

While we’re on the topic of traffic, if you’ve not already made your views known on the Pfizer site application, take a look at this link and join in. Traffic planning and traffic management simply isn’t one of Havant Borough Council’s strong points.

If you’re new to commenting on planning application, take a look at this post for a bit of guidance.

#rethinkhavant

The ‘Pfizer site’ at 32 New Lane – “When you’re in a hole, stop digging”

We’re getting tired of reporting on this one. We’re certainly tired of wading through the nonsense that the applicant’s ‘transport consultant’ turns out. The Kingsbridge application to redevelop the old Pfizer cold store site at 32 New Lane might have seemed like a bright idea to somebody who doesn’t know the town, but for local residents it’s always been the thin end of a nightmare.

The root of the problem has always been ‘traffic’. The proposed development would generate it, the town already suffers from it and a national distribution hub operator needs to manage it. Wise players, like DPD, have already sited their distribution hubs at an edge of town site like Dunsbury Park, right next to the A3(M). Others have already made an intelligent play for ‘Brockhampton West‘, next to the A27, but Kingsbridge seem strangely convinced that New Lane is ‘the right place’. It isn’t.

(We’ve written about Havant’s traffic issues at length before so if you’re new to the subject or just want to catch up, take a look at this post. )

By managing the traffic we mean that the business needs to have a precise grasp of the number of vehicles needing site access, a thorough understanding of the constraints of the local road network, and an appreciation of whether or not the site would be giving delivery drivers the best chance of hitting their daily schedule target.

This isn’t rocket science. You don’t need a ‘traffic consultant’ to work this stuff out. If the first round of transport documents that were issued for this application in February had more holes than a Swiss cheese, then the latest set issued during July have certainly provided the crackers. The rushed publication on July 27th of the local bus timetables, apparently at the request of HBC, is just the latest.

(If you want to dive into the detail, the New Lane residents have already done it – click here to read.)

The national planning rules established by the government are clear. Transport Statements and Transport Assessments should declare the impact of all ‘trips’ generated by a proposed development. The problem is that the data apparently provided by the ‘proposed occupier’, clearly doesn’t include the traffic movements associated with the staff commuting to and from the site.

With the proposed three shift, 24 hour, 7 day operation, we’d expect around a couple of hundred vehicles to arrive at and depart from the site around midnight when the two largest shifts change over. However, according to Kingsbridge and their ‘consultant’, just EIGHT vehicles arrive, and NINE depart, between 11:00pm and 01:00am. (And those, in case you wondered, are all HGVs)

The Travel Plan suggests that the workforce will be using public transport. Just think about that for a moment…… It shouldn’t take a ‘consultant’ to realise that the local buses are tucked up in bed at that hour. This is not London, we don’t have ‘night buses’.

The UK Government (MHCLG) guidelines also state that the traffic statements made by the developer should also include “an assessment of trips from all directly relevant committed development in the area”. This latter point should clearly take account of the traffic expected to be generated by Kingsbridge’s own neighbouring ‘Spring Business Park’, the New Lane Colt site developments and the new residential developments to the north and south of Bartons Road.

IN SUMMARY:

The data which underpins the transport documentation is demonstrably incomplete and unsound and the transport documentation derived from it is riddled with mathematical and transcription errors. With this lack of accuracy, precision and completeness in the trip generation numbers, and with clear lack of adherence to UK Government MHCLG expectations, Havant Borough Council must reject this planning application.

If you agree that this application should be rejected, then you have until Wednesday August 4th to add your comments. Take this link to add your comments to the planning application.

(If you need a bit of guidance on how to comment on a planning application, read our post here.)

Post script.

Kingsbridge should understand that local residents are not against the intelligent regeneration of the New Lane employment area. Havant needs quality employment and the New Lane estate is ideally placed for the creation of the right kind of employment. Work with us and we can bring a great deal of local knowledge to the party. All you need is the vision.

The Solent Freeport – an update

You may remember that we wrote a piece way back in March on the Solent Freeport bid, asking just what it might mean for Havant. At the time, we drew a map outlining where we expected the Solent Freeport ‘outer boundary’ to be, since the bid documentation linked to that previous post failed to disclose it.

Well there’s now a website for the Solent Freeport which publicises where the actual boundary will be and we thought it worth bringing to your attention. The one we drew way back in March is on the right, and the official one, which has only just surfaced, is on the left. Not much of a difference, you might say, but a clear shift to westward.

We’re not really surprised by that shift to the west, given that the Solent LEP bid document was heavily weighted towards Southampton, and rather disparaging about Havant.

The newly available ‘official’ map identifies the three clear ‘clusters’ of activity.

The first, and largest, is the Southampton Water Cluster, comprising Associated British Ports (ABP), Solent Gateway (Formerly Marchwood Military Port) , New Forest District Council and, rather curiously, Fawley Waterside. No doubt ABP will once more have their eyes on Dibden Bay for a new container port, making potential use of the relaxation of planning regulations that would accompany a freeport.

The second is the Southampton Airport Cluster will clearly be making use of the recently approved extension to the airport runway.

Thirdly, the Portsmouth Gateway Cluster will be capitalising on the Portsmouth International Port, currently the temporary resting place for Virgin Voyage’s behemoth, ‘Scarlet Lady’, (“she who dwarfs carriers”), and for secure warehousing, Portsmouth City Council’s (PCC) will exploit the Dunsbury Park site which they own, alongside the A3(M) at the top of Hulbert Road here in Havant Borough.

What does Havant get out of this?

Well we might get a bit of tax revenue from Dunsbury Park since while it’s owned by PCC it comes within HBC’s reach for tax purposes.

Could Havant have got more?

Well, we think yes. What have the following companies got in common?

  • Eaton
  • AneticAid
  • Danosa
  • Sartorius
  • Qvis
  • Dunham-Bush
  • DeLonghi – Kenwood -Braun
  • Colt International
  • Lewmar

They all import materials and product from the Far East or Europe, they all export finished goods, they could probably all exploit freeport benefits and they’re just a few of over fifty businesses which operate from the New Lane employment area, the birthplace of Havant’s high tech manufacturing business ‘back in the day’.

It was the attitude and productivity of the West Leigh manufacturing workforce who encouraged IBM, Plessey and Siemens to relocate to Havant during the last commercial regeneration and the same local workforce would rise to the challenge again. A plan to regenerate the New Lane employment area and bring back 21st century science and technology based manufacturing is long overdue. We appeal to HBC to recognise this fact and focus on building an employment base that will lift the standards and bring real opportunities to the young people of the borough.

Here’s a challenge for the councillors – let’s get together and actively engage with the landowners of the New Lane estate and plan something courageous and forward thinking. As an old manufacturing site now ‘landlocked’ by residential properties and within easy walking distance of the town centre, it’s crying out to be regenerated as a centre for high quality, green employment. Throw in some secure warehousing, with a bit of adaptation, Kingsbridge’s Spring Business Park comes to mind, and take the opportunity to the Solent Freeport. Don’t wait for it to come to you, because it won’t!

Doing nothing and letting it get used for more traffic intensive, low grade employment will achieve nothing positive for the town.

Kingsbridge are just one of the landowners sitting on prime real estate in New Lane. We think that if they raised their sights a little higher, we might all benefit.

#rethinkhavant

Persimmon Homes makes a grab for the Southmere ‘Hay meadow’

Here’s another developer trying it on with an application for outline planning permission.

The site in question is the Southmere Hay Meadow (click the link to open the application). This site will be well known to all who drive between Havant and Hayling as being the last piece of green space to the west of the A3023.

The application is for 65 houses, of between 2 and 2.5 stories height, to be accessed from The Mallards, a small estate built in the late 90s. The application is well covered by our peer groups to the south of the town, and Havant Civic Society will take our cue from their responses. These, we note, are already being posted to the Public Access planning portal for Havant Borough Council and to give you a taste of the content, we’ve taken the liberty of quoting from one of the local resident’s responses already loaded:

“This land is not designated for housing and is not included in the Draft Local Plan. A Transport Assessment was required for Hayling Island as part of the preparation of the Local Plan, elements of which remain unresolved. However, to avoid further stressing of the A3023 before the Adoption of the new Local Plan the Borough Council resolved to refuse permission for any new accesses to be formed onto that road. PHSC propose to defeat that restriction by forming an access to their development from the existing Mallards access road. This would create an unacceptable overload on the junction with the A3023 and compromise the use of other access within The Mallards development.

The field, known as Southmere, is a vital part of a green corridor of undeveloped land linking Chichester and Langstone Harbours and separating the original Langstone settlement from urban Havant. It is an ecological haven for many different plant species and protected birds, having not been ploughed for more than a hundred years. When Bosmere Field was lost to the building of the Langbrook Farm Family Restaurant and a Premier Inns Hotel, the developers excused the loss of that field by arguing the habitat for the displaced wildlife would be replaced at Southmere.

More than 40 years ago, when the development of The Mallards started, the then landowner covenanted with Havant Borough Council to the effect “that no house or other dwelling unit shall be built on the land and the land shall not be developed to provide residential accommodation of any sort.” The Borough Council has previously acknowledged the binding nature of this covenant and maintained and honoured its effect on the site.”

Many of us use that route regularly, and all of us in and around Havant value what little green space remains. Once you’ve read the documentation associated with the planning application, if you feel strongly, take this link to comment directly in the usual way.

If you would like a little guidance first on how to comment on an application, take this link to review our simple guide.

#rethinkhavant

And finally…. we note once again that “The Traffic Team have no adverse comment to make”. Clearly there are no traffic issues with the A3023 between Havant and Hayling Island. It’s rather surprising how little Havant Borough Council seems to know about traffic in and around the town.

Kingsbridge re-imagine the traffic numbers for the ‘Pfizer site’ application

Kingsbridge Developments have added further documents to the set they submitted in February for the 32 New Lane Planning Application. Following our earlier reports on the likely impact of allowing such a traffic generating business in the middle of a town already constrained by peak time traffic issues, Kingsbridge and their Transport Consultant, Vectos, went away to rework the Transport Statement.

Here’s what they came up with:

The result was hardly worth the wait; the original, unsound ‘Occupier Traffic Data’ remains unchanged and the many tables and statistics in these documents which build on this unsound data, do so with a level of mathematics that Havant’s schoolchildren could make a far better fist of.

Here’s one key chart which appears deliberately aimed at calming our concerns about the peak time traffic generated between the New Lane site, the A27 and the A3(M).

Just for fun, try adding up the numbers highlighted in yellow and see if you can arrive at the same totals as they did.

Note that data for only two hourly periods are shown 08:00-09:00 and 17:00-18:00, in addition to a ‘Daily total’ line. The breakdown for the remaining 22 hours of the day are only shown in the appendices.

Look a little closer, this time at the green highlight. While they manage to add up the number of HGVs OK, (1 + 1 = 2), they do seem to struggle with the number of cars, (12 + 0 = 121)?. Perhaps hardly surprising since we believe that the ‘Occupier Traffic Data’ used as the source does not include the warehouse staff and van driver cars. (We’ll be substantiating that assertion in our response to the council.)

The documents play heavily on the fact that New Lane is within easy reach of public transport and cycle lanes, but go on to admit that they expect 73% of the employees to commute by car. It’ll be an even higher percentage for the busiest of the three shifts, the night shift starting at midnight, and the evening shift which ends at midnight. Public transport around here isn’t much use at that hour.

We contacted the TRICS Consortium to clarify just what sort of ‘trips’ should be covered in a ‘Development trip generation’ report, asking: “should we just be considering the movements of the staff in the course of their daily employment, outbound from and inbound to the development site, or should we also be counting the inbound and outbound commuting journeys and methods of transport that the staff are using?” Their response was quite clear: “For all of our surveys, we include every single movement related to a development as a trip, whether it be a commute, a trip out to buy some lunch or any other reason, etc.”

So TRICS, a company part owned by Hampshire County Council and referred to by Kingsbridge as an authority on the matter, believes that staff commuting should be included in the ‘Development Trip’ counts and so do we.

By our own mathematics, that will add something over 2,100 movements through the site gates each day, seven days a week, on top of the 2,415 claimed by Kingsbridge. Since their figures in Table 5.1 (above) show 505 vans, just 58% of the planned capacity of 866, then when running at full capacity the traffic generated per day at the site gates could top 6000 trips. We think that’s rather more than the 2,415 that the planning application states and would dispute any assertion that it’s simply an ‘error due to rounding’.

Nice try!

The folk who live behind the site in Nutwick Road will be interested to see that even with the downplayed numbers in the new documents, there will still be an HGV arriving at or departing from the one of the 12 loading bays every seven minutes between 10 PM and 6 AM, seven days a week. Just think of all that reversing….

Only Havant Borough Council, with their proven expertise in logistics (think ‘waste collections’), could justify putting such a site in a built up residential area. The problem is that they inevitably will. Opportunities to milk a headline and a photoshoot are never lost on this Council and the local MP.

‘Major Brand’ and
Distribution Supply Chain partner
bring 1000 jobs to Havant’

(But at what cost?)

Given the inevitability of the decision, it hardly seems worth the fight. That won’t stop us though and if you also believe this to be ‘the right opportunity’ but in completely the wrong place, here’s the link to make your comments on the plan.

Make a comment on Planning Application APP/21/00200
(If you need a bit of guidance on how to comment on a planning application, read our post here.)

You have until August 4th to make your comments.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Framework Operational Management Plan, and in particular Table 3.1 contained in it:

Haven’t we seen that before?

We’re curious to know whether Hampshire County Council really do believe that the data is robust. It’s probably just another imaginative piece of text from the applicant. After all, they do also say that this is just a last mile’ distribution centre, where parcels are delivered via small vans to customers in the local area”.

The reality is, from Table 5.6 in the original Transport Statement, that only 5% of the delivery trips would be local, with the remaining 95% of the delivery trips requiring access to the A27 or the A3(M), to the New Forest and Winchester in the west, Guildford and Woking in the north and Worthing in the east.

#rethinkhavant

Bargate Homes win Lower Road planning appeal

Members may recall our earlier reports on the saga of the Bargate Homes planning applications for Lower Road, Bedhampton. Our previous report on the HBC meetings which rejected the two previous applications by this developer can be found at this link.

If you can’t recall the two original applications, these plans might help.

Bargate Homes placed an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

The appeal was heard in February 2021, and the closing statements can be viewed here:

Bedhampton Heritage Alliance
Havant Borough Council
Bargate Homes

The result of this appeal was a blow for the team from the Bedhampton Heritage Alliance who have worked tirelessly on this for some years. A sad result, but one depressingly predictable in this current UK Government climate.

Havant Borough Council are to be commended for taking a stand on this application, for listening to and taking note of the views of the residents in the earlier planning debates. This will not be the last time that we will need the council to stand with the residents against over zealous developers and we all need to keep alert.

The detailed decision by the inspector can be viewed at this link.

Havant Borough Council wins creative writing award

Yesterday’s press release from Havant Borough Council raised more than a few eyebrows among our members and peer groups. HBC have issued a press release on the subject of ‘the Warblington Farm initiative’ before and the residents’ reaction this time is broadly similar.

The HBC submission in the ‘Planning for the natural environment’ category of the ‘Planning Awards’ does deserve credit for the creatively worded executive summary’, reproduced below:

“This project has shown original thinking, swift action and true multi-disciplinary partnership working to not only deliver a solution to planning needs, but a genuine addition to the Solent’s ecological landscape and a new asset for residents. It enables development, and will educate the public about their local, world-class coastline.

In addition, particular attention has been paid to effectively communicating a complex, emotive subject. Considerable effort was applied to ensure that messages could be easily relayed to the public in numerous ways. Developers were provided with a gamut of materials to help them understand and engage effectively with the solution.”

Having watched that again, we hope that you share the view that this complex, emotive subject was effectively communicated, that you now have a clear understanding of your new asset and that you feel fully educated about your local, world-class coastline.

Perhaps next year HBC would consider setting a rather higher bar and going for something a little more taxing, for example:

#rethinkhavant

Portsmouth Water – Yet another incoming planning application


Wearing one of my other hats, I recently attended a meeting of the Bosmere Medical Practice Patient Participation Group (PPG). These occasional meetings have been scheduled over lunchtimes throughout the current pandemic given that the practice doctors and staff have no other time to spare. To be honest, they even struggle to make that time fit given their current workload. Staff morale is at an all time low, the government’s changing rules on vaccination groups and the erratic supplies of vaccine, often delivered at barely 48 hours notice, necessitates significant admin effort and appointment rescheduling. The practice is bending over backwards and working ridiculous hours to help the 20,000 patients on their list so you’d like to think that people would keep off their backs.

Sadly, the fact that a minority of vocal patients regularly bombard them with offensive and abusive phone calls isn’t helped by the fact that Havant Borough Council and Portsmouth Water keep them completely in the dark about their future. The Practice Manager reported to the PPG that staff can now see a new site road forming with heavy machinery working in the woodland to the north of the surgery. This work presumably relates to a previous planning application ‘for tree work’ which we reported last October as ‘the thin end of a wedge’.

Last December we wrote about the lack of public visibility of a masterplan for the site and if you’re not familiar with the location please take a few minutes to read it. Click this link and it will open in a separate browser tab.

The slideshow below contains four images. The first, from Google Earth, shows the site as it is today, with the Bosmere Medical Practice visible at the bottom of the frame in the centre. The second image is from the latest Portsmouth Water planning application which is in pre-planning and expected for consultation imminently. The third image shows the application for a new site entrance on Brockhampton Road for which detailed plans submitted in March 2021 show is designed to be usable by ‘large, four axle tipper trucks’.

The fourth image shows the allocation for housing on the rest of the site. While no plans have been published, the allocation itself suggests where site access might be, from West Street and Brockhampton Road.

The next two slides show the plans for the immediate surroundings of the Bosmere Medical Centre in Solent Road. The current aerial view shows the dedicated access road into the surgery and the pharmacy with staff parking to the right of the buildings and patient parking in front. Those who know the surgery will know that the short cul de sac to the left is often also jammed with waiting cars at peak surgery hours. Surgery hours are dictated by the NHS contract and thus coincide with peak morning and afternoon Solent Road traffic.

The second image above shows the outline plan proposed by Portsmouth Water at the Development Consultation Forum which we reported on in October 2019.

The third image summarises the planning application which will shortly be logged for consultation. It appears that Portsmouth Water and their architect have completely ignored the deputations made to the Development Consultation Forum by concerned residents of Manor Court and by HCS on behalf of the Bosmere Medical Practice. When the application is available for consultation, we will be notifying our members and will be working with the practice to notify the 20,000 patients on their list, the majority of whom will be Havant residents and council tax payers.

Watch out for a further post when the new application is published.

#rethinkhavant

Planning Committee overturns Planning Officers’ recommendation, unanimously voting for an ‘unsatisfactory living environment’

The life of a planning officer is never particularly easy round here, particularly when they have their well researched recommendations overturned by the elected members of the Planning Committee who, by doing so, call into question their own motives. Last night’s Planning Committee meeting was a case in point.

The application under consideration (for the fourth time) was that submitted by one of the Bedhampton Councillors in respect of his own property. This time, following the direction forcefully set in a deputation by County Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the newly-formed and partly-baked Planning Committee deliberately ignored the recommendation of the Planning Officers and forced the application through, leaving the Planning Officers to do the hard work of clearing up the mess created.

To appreciate the background to this application and to understand the concerns raised by this Planning Committee decision, please read our earlier post on the planning history for Aura House.

The edited extract from the meeting, viewable below, provides a brief summary of the event and is worth sticking with if only for the last few minutes which clearly demonstrate the quality of the ‘debate’. In order of appearance, the players are: Cllr. Fairhurst, Cllr. Branson, HBC Development Manager, Steve Weaver (with Case Officer, David Eaves), Cllr. Hughes, Cllr. Crellin, Cllr. Patrick and Cllr. Patel. The meeting was chaired by Cllr. Crellin. (Cllrs. Guest and Keast now conveniently absent, leaving the hapless Cllr. Hughes to take on their usual role.)

David Eaves and Steve Weaver, the two planning officers present, had burned a considerable number of hours considering the facts and producing a detailed, forty page report recommending refusal of the latest iteration of this application. The Havant Civic Society Planning Representative, together with the rest of the HCS Committee and other members of the Havant Borough Residents’ Alliance had all considered the Planning Officer’s recommendation to be in the best interests of those on the Council’s housing list.

By overturning this recommendation without any semblance of intelligent debate, the five elected members present demonstrated their complete lack of commitment to the quality of entry-level housing, ‘levelling down’ the opportunities for the two thousand people on the Council’s list.

It’s clear from the Officers’ report and the public objections raised that those on the housing list deserve a higher quality of accommodation. It’s also true that the Planning Officers deserve a higher standard of engagement from the elected political representatives and, quite frankly, so do the residents.

HBC Election – A landslide victory for the non-voters

The only real ‘winner’ in this month’s election was the ‘Did Not Vote’ cohort, who took the election by a landslide. No doubt there was a ‘Covid effect’ which affected turnout, and disillusionment with central government and the general state of the world will also have taken its toll, but the results for each ward that we show below are really very depressing.

A healthy borough council needs a balance of opinions, with a strong opposition to stimulate real debate and sound decision making. Following this election, Havant Borough Council’s consolidation as a ‘single party state’ is near complete, with 36 of the 38 seats now occupied by Conservative councillors, leaving just one seat each for Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

For those who thought that the standard of debate, the clarity of vision and the objectivity of decision making by Havant Borough Council was poor before the election, the future’s not looking any brighter.

Our message to the new Councillors:

Please listen to your ward residents regardless of their voting intentions. When they contact you, take the time to understand their position and respond. At the end of the day, it’s the local issues that matter and it is inevitable that these will sometimes clash with your party’s current national agenda. When you take part in a debate, offer fact-based support to the motion or have the courage to challenge it. Do not be swayed by party politics and above all do not allow yourself to be intimidated by ‘senior’ members of the council. Your voice counts with equal weight and your fresh ideas should be heard.

The more the Council are perceived as ignoring the needs and concerns of the residents, the less inclined the electorate are to vote.

Our message to the non-voters

In a series of posts over the next few weeks, we’ll explain why you should vote. We’ll show you how easy it is to use a postal vote without even leaving your house and we’ll remind you of how much of your hard earned money you are giving to the council and just what they are supposed to be doing with it. Above all, we’ll explain why this matters to you and to the kids of the town.

It’s easy to blame the UK’s archaic ‘first past the post’ electoral system but the real villain of this piece is the fact that most of the population of Havant Borough can’t be bothered to vote.

Full breakdown of Havant Borough Council results for May 2021

Barncroft 
Battins
Bedhampton 
Bondfields 
Cowplain 

Emsworth 
Hart Plain 
Hayling East 
Hayling West  
Purbrook
St. Faiths 
Stakes 
Warren Park 
Waterloo 

Barncroft

Battins

Bedhampton

Bondfields

Cowplain

Emsworth

Hart Plain

Hayling East

Hayling West

Purbrook

St Faiths

Stakes

Warren Park

Waterloo