1,000 sign petition against plans to redevelop Havant

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A 1,000-strong petition was handed to Havant’s MP as people demanded a historic street is kept intact.

Pete Walden gave a petition to David Willetts to send a strong message that many people are against proposals to redevelop East Street and create a town square.

It comes after Havant Borough Council presented early-stage proposals during the summer to regenerate East Street.

The displays included options to demolish The White Hart pub, move the war memorial, redevelop East Street with new homes and the demolition of St Faith’s Church Hall.

One option was to take down the embankments around St Faith’s Church and create a town square.

Following the consultation, the council has indicated it does not want to move the war memorial.

Of the 300 respondents, 38 per cent agreed new homes should be built in East Street, with 82 per cent of people saying shops and commercial facilities should be kept there.

Mr Walden, chairman of Havant Over-50s Forum, said: ‘We have got 1,020 signatures.

‘We could have got thousands more if we wanted to.

‘This is about the war memorial, the church walls, everything. We’re against it – it should be left as it is. 
 ‘Other areas need doing first such as Market Parade. East Street should be regenerated by bringing back the shops.’

Mr Willetts accepted the petition and said it would be handed to planners at the council.

He said: ‘I like the historic character of our old buildings in Havant.

‘We don’t want to be a kind of clone town where every building is anonymous.

‘We have historic crossroads that go back to Roman times – having that 2,000 years later with traditional buildings around it makes Havant rather special.’

Mr Willetts said he felt it would be a good idea to lower the embankments – the result of centuries of burials – and make the 12th century church more visible and accessible.

He added: ‘The question is whether you can keep the old buildings, keep the trees and lower the embankments to create more of a square. It would have to be done very carefully and sensitively.’