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.


NEWS

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……

OUR ADVICE

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

Minutes of Committee Meeting 15th September 2014

Present: Tim Dawes, Bill Woods, Christopher Evans, Annette Harley, Carole Nash

1 Apologies were received from Beryl Francis, Sara Smith, David Smith, Ray Cantwell

2 Preparation for AGM

It was agreed that there is no need for scrutiny and revision of our Constitution as this was done at the last AGM. The accounts have been audited and a bottle of wine for the auditor (Harry Crossley) was approved. The bank balance is £459.57 credit. AH has been posting the need for new committee members on Facebook and will send a press statement to PO9, Jeff Travis at The News and notify Angel Radio. We need a new secretary, vice-chair and publicity and communications officer.

Consideration was given to a strictly business AGM in a small URC room on 20th October or using the main hall on 21st with a speaker. The latter was decided, with David Willetts invited to speak; BW will phone his secretary, Jackie Scaddan. If he is not available TD will find an architect instead.

There will be no further public meetings this year – dates for 2015 were agreed as Tuesday 10th February and Tuesday 9th June. CN will book main URC hall and confirm AGM booking.

3 Market Parade

The Public Consultation is on Wednesday 17th September 3-7pm in URC. CN will collect any useful printed material for AH. Comments from members will be consolidated by CN to form a collective view.

4 Community Right to Bid for White Hart

BW explained that considerable factual evidence is required about the use of the building. Nicki Conyard (HBC) had provided helpful examples of successful bids. BW and CE had worked on the application – BW will email the form to TD who will provide the evidence.

Regulations prevent such applications be made for church buildings.

5 Upcoming Planning Applications

The applications for 10A The Pallant (now withdrawn) and further housing above Davies Chemist are not contentious. More housing in Bartons Road is included in the Allocations Plan. Town End House has been purchased by a software company LiveLink along with all of the disabled parking bays used by The Spring. CN will contact Sophie Fullerlove for clarification and comment.

6 Newsletter Communication updates

The next edition will be published 26-29th September. CN was unable to provide updates to our membership data, BW has not received any subs recently. AH will contact SS directly to ensure her data is up to date. DS will take over the MailChimp operation. The account is in AH’s name – she will set an account in the name HCS. AH will produce a flyer. The new secretary will be asked to keep AH informed (via minutes) so that Facebook can be updated.

It was acknowledged that WordPress is cumbersome; Moonfruit might be considered instead.

7 Society’s accounts and membership updates

Covered in 2 and 6 above

8 A.O.B.

CN doubted the value of continuing to renew the Freezone HavantCivicSociety.org.uk domain name. Apparently this is essential, but will be funded by HCS in future.

TD urged participation in the LitFest and provided programmes for onward distribution.

CN has not pursued with HBC’s conservation officer reports of unauthorised work at the White Hart, but will do so with specific examples provided by CE and TD. The music venue has now become The Wheelwright’s Arms.

Date of next meeting

Monday 27th October 2014 was agreed.