In July of 2016 Havant Borough Council announced a new Local Development Plan to replace the one adopted only two years ago. A hastily prepared road show followed a public consultation (well those who had heard about it) were given six weeks to make comments on the 5000 dwellings. The new plan called for an addition to the 6300 already agreed only two years before making a combined total of 11300 up to the year 2036.
Why the hurry? Council official say that unless the current plan conforms to national policies, which in December it said it did, there was a serious risk of developers making applications to build on any green field, and if refused they would be successfully appealing against the decision. This is partly because a new planning policy launched in 2012 strengthens the hand of developers against local Councillors.
Our response criticised Havant Borough Council for their haste, we questioned some of assumptions on which the new housing numbers were based, expressed concern over the choice of green field sites and impact on local ecology and habitats, and highlighted the threat to protected land such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), The Ramsar Convention, the international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the district
The consultation has now closed and over 800 people have commented on it. An officers’ report will go to the council’s cabinet in November, and if approved, will go forward to a full council meeting in December for final acceptance.
Havant Friends of the Earth has joined with nine other local groups to become the Havant Borough Residents Alliance (HBRA) to coordinate a joint response during the various stages of plan making. Between them the groups it represents over 3000 members.
The steering group has since met senior planners (Sue Holt, who represented Friends of the Earth) and we are intending to present a case at the full council meeting in December. Getting our heads around the whole thing including reading through almost 40 megabytes of maps, charts, reports and data sets.