Draft Local Plan 2036 Consultation and Summary

 

The Emsworth Residents Association (ERA) and others  who submitted comments to Havant Borough Council on their draft local plan earlier this year will have received  the Consultation Overview and Way Forward Note (8 pages) and Consultation Summary Report (271 pages).

 

For Emsworth sites, Land at Westwood Close (p.6, para 21, site H10) there may be a note of cautious optimism, when considering the following wording of paragraph 21 which states: “For almost all of the policies, some changes are being considered. However for some, the principle of including the policy or site needs to be given further consideration. These are: H10 Land at Westwood Close.”

 

Opponents of the proposal at Westwood Close have built evidence for their case since this site was mentioned as one for potential development in the draft Havant Local Plan. Malinda Griffin, one of Emsworth’s Tree Wardens and an Emsworth Residents’ Association Committee member, has collected an impressive amount of biodiversity evidence on water issues affecting quality of the River Ems. The ERA has also heard that the Environment Agency and Havant Borough Council are going to do more investigations into the flood plain and ground water levels in the field and projections of rain fall due to global warming. This will not be concluded until Jan/Feb next year so extending a decision time to early 2019.

 

Land to the north of Long Copse Lane (H6 p.120-126 Consultation Summary Report) HBC have commented on p.123 that, “broadly, they can see no reason why a development should not proceed. No fundamental matters have been raised which indicate that the site is not deliverable or should not be allocated in the HBLP 2036. The council is satisfied that the evidence base supports an allocation.”

 

However, the ERA maintains that this site is unsuitable for a development of 260 homes, having quite inadequate infrastructure to cope with the resulting additional traffic, and with no means to increase that infrastructure.Local residents of Long Copse Lane have formed a local action group, and are organising a leaflet drop outlining their campaign.

 

Objectors to the development and ultimate loss of these two unspoilt green sites will continue the fight, supported by the ERA. 

 

Charles Ash 

 

Westwood Close

 

All of Emsworth must be aware by now of this contentious planning application for 46 homes. The depth of concern here is considerable with 300 objections registered with the HBC Planning Department on their website.

 

One of the more recent ones is from the Chichester Harbour Conservancy that objects on the grounds of being premature to the proper consideration of the Draft Local Plan proposed site allocation (also an objection the ERA sited in their objection in August). 

The CHC also point out that the planning application submitted in fact exceeds the area as defined by HBC in their Draft Plan.

 

Earlier this month, the Planning Officer asked to postpone the decision date on this application, from mid October to 3rd January 2019.

This is to ‘Enable the submission and consideration of amended/additional information.’ The main areas relate to issues raised by the consultees in respect to:-

Flooding, Drainage, Landscaping, Ecology, plus detailed layout issues.

 

The opinion of one concerned local resident is that the Council are waiting for further information, primarily a new layout, and details as to how the developers plan to overcome the Environment Agency’s objections to the proposed flood mitigation measures.  Once that information is in, the Council will re-consult, and will notify all those who have responded to date. Objectors will then have the option to change their objections or leave them as they stand. 

 

Charles Ashe 4/11/18

What is happening at Dolphin Quay?

 

There seems to be a slight air of mystery about the site of Dolphin Quay. In October last year, Havant Borough Council seemed confident that a final legal agreement between the Council and the developer/buyers (Wilson House Ltd) was about to be signed. Until now however, nine months later, this agreement has not been signed. The Council do not know what the delay is, and have said their legal team have chased the applicant’s solicitors several times but are still awaiting a response. 

 

Charles Ashe

Will the NHS sell Emsworth short?

 

If our well-loved hospital site is sold to the highest bidder, the community will lose an opportunity for ever.  Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital was built more than a century ago with money raised by the residents of Emsworth to help look after the health of local people.  Now a new community group wants to ensure that the hospital site by the roundabout in the town is redeveloped into an asset that could play a key role in everyone’s future health and wellbeing.

 

Since April this year a group of volunteers has been looking at what could be developed on the hospital site currently owned by the NHS (Property Services).  Dwynwen Stepien, chair of the voluntary group states:  “We aim to form the Emsworth Community Land Trust (Emsworth CLT) so that we can ensure that the old hospital site works for local people.  The steering group is exploring all possible options including affordable housing and a community space dedicated to helping people access healthier lifestyles. We will look at other sites too but this one is the priority.”

 

Harry Thuillier, Treasurer of Emsworth CLT adds: “This project is a huge challenge and the opinions of the people of Emsworth really matter.  Our first wish is to involve people and local organisations so that any plans we have are fully aired and shared. Once we are established properly as a charitable organisation we will encourage everyone to join the group as a member.” 

 

The group recognises that the biggest challenge is to raise enough money to acquire and develop this site and possibly others.  The Emsworth CLT steering group is currently exploring options to work with other organisations including Housing Associations. The vision of the Emsworth CLT is to include, on the redeveloped hospital site, a community place full of possibilities for people to get involved.  The main objective is to work closely with all community groups to explore what could be developed in the community space that enhances our health and wellbeing.

 

Local volunteers and fundraisers are encouraged to make contact with Emsworth Community Land Trust if they would like to be more closely involved in this project. The first public meeting is currently being organised for later in the year.  

The ECLT steering group promises regular updates on its activities via the EMS.  Please email emsworthclt1@gmail.com if you would like further information.

Dwynwen Stepien

For further information please contact: Dwynwen Stepien 07540 276 256 

 

Emsworth residents speak up for the local environment.

 

A unique online survey seeking opinions on the future of Havant Borough’s natural environment revealed hundreds of Emsworth residents strongly in favour of protecting the area’s open spaces and wildlife. The survey, organised by Emsworth environmentalists, asked a series of questions about the state of nature across the borough which faces 18 years of housing development, much of it in and around Emsworth.

 

As part of the emerging Local Plan Havant Council was requested to review their Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), published in 2011. New national and local planning policies since 2011 meant that the BAP needed to be updated. The council agreed and it was hoped that local conservation and nature groups would be engaged, as happened in 2011, in the preparation of the update but this was eventually turned down by the council officers. It is understood that a new biodiversity strategy is work in progress but it will not be available and open to public view until a few days before a council meeting in January at which the Local Plan will be approved to pass on to the next and final stage. It was against this background that the 10 questions online survey, the largest on the subject ever conducted locally, was launched in October.

 

45% of the responses were from Emsworth residents followed by Havant, Hayling Island and Waterlooville area. Over 90% of all responses rated the value of green spaces ‘very high’ but, while about two thirds said that the green space near them was adequate, almost a third said it was inadequate. Among numerous threats urban development was seen as the most serious one to the quality of the local environment followed by pollution and flooding. Respondents felt it was the responsibility of Havant Borough Council to promote robust policies that protect and enhance nature as well as to encourage active public participation in caring for the environment and to lead by example. 

 

Respondents observed significant losses of once common local species, such as some birds (ringed plovers, hedge sparrows), hedgehogs, butterflies and bees and even insects were noted. Members of over 20 local nature and conservation groups were among 670 Borough residents who did the survey. The most visited nature sites in the Borough are Chichester Harbour, Hayling Billy and local parks in a list that included Emsworth’s Nore Barn and Hollybank Woods and Brook Meadow. The full survey results and report has been sent to Havant Council and can be read online- go to http://www.havantfoe.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Havant-Natural-Environment-Survey-Results-Report-2018.pdf

 

Words by Ray Cobbett, Friends of the Earth, Havant Friends & East Hampshire