People rally round to form a new plan for the future of Havant

Havant MP Alan Mak with FatFace chief executive Anthony Thompson and infrastructure director Simon Ratcliffe

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TRAFFIC, parking and the lack of a large Diamond Jubilee celebration in Havant were among the issues raised at a residents’ meeting.

Community leaders and representatives of residents’ associations met for a brainstorming workshop at Bedhampton Social Hall.

The meeting yesterday was the first step of a bid to create a Community Plan for Havant and Bedhampton – drawn up by the people and detailing what residents’ priorities are for the area.

It is hoped the project will help steer the authorities on what is important to people and what needs improving.

The meeting was held in an informal fashion, with dozens of post-it notes being placed on boards on the walls.

People were asked to scribble down ideas and stick them on boards, which each represented different topics, such as which issues need addressing and which organisations are important to people.

A survey before the meeting had concluded the top three ‘likes’ for living in Havant were its transport links, access to the coast and countryside, and local council services.

The top three ‘dislikes’ were lack of town centre shops and nightlife, traffic and parking, and lack of youth facilities.

Issues raised at the meeting included providing a safer crossing for pedestrians at the Rusty Cutter roundabout and the problems of queuing traffic at the Warblington level crossing.

The condition of the bridge at Havant railway station was raised.

Litter at Broadmarsh and the redevelopment of East Street were raised as concerns.

Some were angry that Havant did not stage a large Diamond Jubilee celebration, apart from local street parties.

Lucy Flannery, a resident in Orchard Road, who created Havant Literary Festival, said the town needs to become more well-known for cultural events.

She said: ‘Havant has a vibrant artistic scene.

‘We are very concerned about business and regeneration and boosting the local economy, but we are not very good at seeing the opportunities that the artistic side of life brings to us and how we can sell the borough.’

The project is being led by Havant and Bedhampton Community Network.

Chairwoman Kate Turner said: ‘What we are going to have is a number of issues, and we are going to put pressure on the council to actually prioritise them.

‘The next stage for us is to send out questionnaires.

‘We would like people to work with us and join us on this.’

CREATING A VISION

COMMUNITY leaders are confident the council will recognise their vision for Havant and Bedhampton.

One of the aims of the project is give residents a voice on where cash is invested in the borough.

Havant and Bedhampton Community Network chairwoman Kate Turner was confident the council would listen.

She said: ‘I actually think they will. With the government localism bill, they have to.’

Bedhampton Cllr Jenny Wride welcomed the Community Plan and said it would become an important document.

The group is looking for other local individuals or groups who want to help with the Community Plan.

Email hbcn12@hotmail.co.uk