THE future regeneration of a historic part of Havant is likely to be decided at a public inquiry.
Tony Briggs, the leader of Havant Borough Council, said all interested parties will get to have their say on the future of East Street and surrounding areas.
Cllr Briggs moved to deny claims that people had not been properly consulted on the plans, which he said were merely ideas at this stage.
It comes as more than 250 people gathered at St Faith’s Church Hall to debate the proposals, which include redeveloping the area around East Street with new housing and the creation of a new town square at the crossroads of Havant.
There was widespread opposition to moving the town’s war memorial and the majority of people at the meeting said the council should rethink the plans, which are out for consultation until September 14.
Cllr Briggs told The News: ‘We have a council rightly consulting the public on its ideas. It’s no more than that.
‘The feedback will help us to formulate a plan to take forward for the development of East Street.
‘Until we have carried out and looked at that consultation material, nothing is happening.’
Cllr Briggs defended the council’s decision not to send officers to the recent public meeting called by the Green Party in Havant.
He said: ‘We take public consultation extremely seriously.
‘It’s taken a lot of staff time. We are in the middle of the holiday season, we are short of planners, we have some statutory work which needs to be signed off fairly quickly and for that reason we do not have the staff available.
‘They asked officers to be present. That’s totally inappropriate at this time. We are still consulting with the public. Once we have evaluated that consultation, there will no doubt be further public consultation and further public meetings.
‘Once there is a major proposal for East Street, then there’s likely to be a public inquiry.’
Cllr Briggs confirmed that the proposals had been drawn up in partnership with developer Barratts. But said no deal had been signed.
He said: ‘When we were looking at East Street, we went to a number of companies and asked if any of them were interested in working with us and working a scheme up. Barratts were the only company who were prepared to do so.’
HAVE YOUR SAY
Havant Borough Council says that at this stage the East Street plans are only ideas and no formal planning application has been submitted.
To see the plans visit havant.gov.uk and follow the link for East Street Informal Consultation.
A questionnaire form can be downloaded.
Completed questionnaires can be returned to the following address or written representations sent by post to:
Planning Policy Team, Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX.
Written representations can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.