Youngsters must act to shape their housing future

A previous workshop held to gather peoples views on development
A previous workshop held to gather peoples views on development
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes with members of Solent Waspi at her Senior Citizens Fair, in Fareham.

Solent Waspi campaigners attend Fareham fair

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YOUNG people across the borough are being urged to play a part in shaping their future housing situation.

Havant Borough Council wants the younger generation to engage with the Local Plan – the 20-year housing blueprint for the borough which will see 11,250 homes built by 2036.

Places to live will be developed across Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, and more, but officials are only hearing from predominantly older residents about what is and isn’t wanted.

Andrew Biltcliffe, the council’s head of planning, said: ‘The scale of housing we’re being asked to provide will change the borough forever.

‘Young people need to play a part in this because they will be affected by the plan, which sets out what’s built where.

‘A lot of the events we host to gain people’s views and generate ideas are attended by an older demographic.

‘We need to know what locals want from developments and young people can come up with ideas about how they want to live. For example, they might not mind living in an apartment block with no gardens if there’s a new park nearby.’

The information will be fed back to the council, as the planning authority, and central government, who make the final decision on the plan.

The local authority also wants young people to make suggestions about in-house leisure facilities (cafes, gyms, restaurants), and say that with new ideas the design of future developments ‘could change forever’.

But a push for youngsters to engage isn’t about excluding older people, it’s about working with them. Cllr Tim Pike, cabinet lead for infrastructure and projects, said: ‘If we get different age groups together and understand each priority, we can create something to meet people’s needs most of the time.

‘There’s no right answer but there’s a balance, and that’s why it’s vital young people have their say.’

Cllr David Guest, cabinet lead for economy, planning, and development added: ‘Young people need to drive the agenda, this is their future. If they don’t speak up, decisions will be made for them. The door is open.’

Bradley Groves, 23 and from Cowplain is looking to buy a home this year. He said: ‘I had no idea about the Local Plan. I didn’t know myself and other young people could have a say about the kind of homes we might live in.

‘If young people knew about the workshops I think they’d go along.’

The council is working with secondary schools and colleges to find out how best to interact with young people, all of whom can keep up-to-date about up-and-coming sessions on social media, or sign-up for updates at http://bit.ly/2mnFrg6.