Havant council is urging its residents to have their say over its future building plans.
In Havant, both housing numbers and sites were effectively decided in 2016 so there’s little point in questioning what amounts to most of the plan.
Infrastructure like roads, schools, sewage, energy, etc are also part of the plan but these services are mostly in the gift of government and/or other agencies, not local planning authorities.
Sustainability is another word planners like to use a lot in their work.
The original sense was to leave for future generations something of nature to enjoy.
In Havant’s case they are not likely to experience what Arthur Conan Doyle, once described as ‘the smiling and beautiful countryside’.
The borough will be one of the most urbanised in Hampshire outside the two cities and yet still short of building land.
Councillors under pressure offer truisms such as ‘people need houses’ or ‘if we don’t do it the government will’.
People really do need houses – especially the almost 10,000 on Hampshire’s growing housing register and homeless people, whose number have quadrupled since 2010.
For them and based on past performance the council’s new plan is unlikely to deliver much relief.
The threat that if the council fails to deliver a plan the government will is all you want to know about the meaning of the word ‘consultation’.
Meanwhile, owners of the green fields targeted for development and building company executives stand to make fortunes at the stroke of a pen.
Yes, have your say but don’t hold your breath.
Beach Road, Emsworth