Havant MP resists calls to join revolt against housing

AN MP says he won't join his constituents' campaign against houses being built.

Friday, 21st October 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:45 pm
Alan Mak MP with a map of the Local Plan

Havant MP Alan Mak told residents that he would raise their concerns over the effect of additional housing on Hayling Island to ministers.

However, Mr Mak vehemently disagreed with claims by the Hayling Island Residents’ Association that he agreed to take their side and oppose the Havant borough’s local plan entirely – a move that has left residents angry.

Mr Mak said: ‘My position on the Havant local plan remains unchanged.

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‘In general terms, I support efforts to solve Britain’s national housing shortage and meet housing needs in our local area.’

Mr Mak was presented with arguments against further development of homes at a meeting of the Hayling Island Residents’ Association last week.

Residents say that an increase of housing will apply pressure especially to the island’s infrastructure and medical facilities.

Anne Skennerton, chairwoman of the Hayling Island Residents’ Association, said: ‘I’m disappointed and surprised because I am sure that what we presented to Mr Mak was not nebulous.

‘These new buildings will make life very difficult.

‘I know that our people will feel very angry.’

Ms Skennerton says that more than 200 attendees voted unanimously for Mr Mak to ask the government to recognise the island as ‘a unique cul de sac’, and pause development.

Mr Mak has said that he will be relaying residents’ specific concerns over the local plan to housing minister Gavin Barwell.

However, he says that this should not delay the drafting process of the plan.

‘I’m conscious that Hayling Island is a special place to live, and I want to protect it from speculative development proposals winning planning applications on appeal,’ he said.

‘An effective local plan can be used as a shield, giving power over planning decisions to your elected local councillors rather than a planning inspector who might not know our area’s characteristics.’

He added: ‘As local MP I will help the council engage with local residents and community groups, whilst respecting their role as the local decision-maker.’