Thousands sign up to stop new homes for Hayling Island

PROTEST Hayling Island
PROTEST Hayling Island
From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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ALMOST 3,000 people have signed a petition to try to stop hundreds of homes being built on Hayling Island.

The petition calls for a review of Havant Borough Council’s decision to allocate 527 new homes to Hayling by 2026.

The homes are part of the council’s ‘core strategy’ plans which set out an overall 15-year housing target of 6,300 new homes to be built in the borough.

Residents in Hayling are trying to force the council to take another look at the figure and instead only allow development on previously developed brownfield sites, back gardens and sites where houses are demolished and replaced with several homes.

Paul Fisher, chairman of Hayling Island Residents Association, who, along with the island’s Community Board, is spearheading the campaign, said those previously developed sites alone would generate around 500 new homes over the next 15 years and the island simply could not take any more.

Mr Fisher said: ‘So far we have 2,820 signatures which is pretty incredible. We are hoping to get as many as 4,000.

‘That is the strength of feeling on the island. Petitions now have much greater power than they used to and we needed 2,500 to trigger a debate about the issue by the local authority.

‘They must review this figure of 597 new homes by 2026 because Hayling simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with that amount. The roads will not be able to cope, the sewerage system won’t be able to cope and neither will the health centre.

‘There will come a point when there will be so many people here, the infrastructure will be overloaded and it won’t be a feasible place for residents or visitors.’

Mr Fisher plans to continue collecting signatures until the end of September and will hand the petition into the council on October 5.

Andrew Biltcliffe, the council’s acting planning policy and urban design manager, admitted there was a need for improved health care on the island but added: ‘There is a real need for new homes to meet the requirements of our changing population in each of the five areas of the borough.

‘The core strategy only identified the overall potential for new homes – it does not identify the specific sites. The council will consult on the potential sites that will be shown in the allocations plan around the turn of the year.

‘The core strategy looked at infrastructure capacity in some detail and concluded that there is no significant reason why the proposed levels of housing should not be delivered.

A specific infrastructure issue that was identified on Hayling Island was for improved healthcare services.

This will be considered in the allocations plan work.’

He said due to the national economic situation, it was a possibility that the only way to fund improvements to infrastructure would be through funding brought in from developers.