General election 2019: Here's what the successful candidate in Havant will have to deal with

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SINCE it was created in 1983 the Havant constituency has only been blue.

Its 36-year life has seen the town’s Conservative candidates notch nine general election victories, with just three different MPs representing the area in Parliament.

Chris Hitchen, who owns CJ Meats in havant town centre. From the election on December 12 he said what the people want mos is 'certainty' - after tremors caused by Brexit and the following three years in which it hasn't been delivered. Picture: Byron Melton

Chris Hitchen, who owns CJ Meats in havant town centre. From the election on December 12 he said what the people want mos is 'certainty' - after tremors caused by Brexit and the following three years in which it hasn't been delivered. Picture: Byron Melton

The most recent was returning candidate Alan Mak, who was elected in 2015 and took over the seat following David Willetts’ 23-year tenure.

Before Mr Willetts, now a life peer, Ian Lloyd was Havant’s MP. If you include the seat's former life as the Havant and Waterloo and Langstone-Portsmouth constituencies, he was the area's member of Parliament for some 28 years.

In 2019, odds put the seat as a safe Conservative hold again - but whoever inherits it will have a tough task on their hands.

Figures compiled by Havant Borough Council show the area must create more than 11,000 new jobs just to match national density averages, or 23,000 to achieve a rate of one job for every resident of working age.

Langstone Bridge, linking Hayling Island with the main land. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (1434-13)

Langstone Bridge, linking Hayling Island with the main land. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (1434-13)

This need gives the borough the second-lowest job density in Hampshire, with only Gosport lower, with about 26,000 Havant residents commuting elsewhere for work.

The local authority has set its sights on regenerating town centres in Havant and Waterlooville to help address the shortage, after a spate of closures have left sections of West Street, East Street and Wellington Way inactive and worse for wear.

But partly to blame, business owners say, are high rents and business rates some independent traders have historically been unable or unwilling to pay.

While a rate relief scheme was introduced by the council in 2017, to last until 2021, local businesses want their MP to fight their corner for the sake of value - at a time when online shopping threatens the traditional high street.

The Wellington Way shopping centre, in Waterlooville, which has become an eyesore with a number of empty units. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Wellington Way shopping centre, in Waterlooville, which has become an eyesore with a number of empty units. Picture: Keith Woodland

Chris Hitchen, owner of the long-run family firm CJ Meats, in West Street, said: 'Relief rates have been a sore situation but I tip my hat to the reliefs.

'Now we need to look at the return businesses like ours are getting for their money. For example I pay for my dustbins separately and we've got no Christmas lights in the town. We want more incentives.'

As well as a need for jobs, the constituency is wrestling with the government-set objective of 10,000 new homes by 2036.

The total has raised concerns for existing infrastructure, including on Hayling Island, which houses more than 17,000 people and is connected to the mainland by a single bridge with two lanes. Despite this, it has been earmarked for 1,000 new homes.

East Street, Havant, where a number of empty units sit. Picture: Byron Melton

East Street, Havant, where a number of empty units sit. Picture: Byron Melton

As well as the strain these residents could have on schools, doctors' surgeries, roads and Queen Alexandra Hospital without adequate infrastructure, there are also fears about what their arrival will mean for local ecology.

The constituency is home to environmental groups unafraid to battle to retain its 15 per cent make-up of green space, in the interests of the species which live there. Unlike job density, this is an area where Havant measures up at five times the UK average.

Weigh up these issues with the behemoth that is Brexit - which Havant voted for - and crime, and the future MP will take on a mighty balancing act.

HAVANT GENERAL ELECTION STATS

Last five elections

2017

Empty units in West Street, Havant. Picture: Byron Melton

Empty units in West Street, Havant. Picture: Byron Melton

Alan Mak (Conservative): 27,676

Graham Giles (Labour): 11,720

Paul Gray (Liberal Democrats): 2,801

John Perry (UKIP): 2,011

Tim Dawes (Green): 1,122

Ann Buckley (Independent): 984

MAJORITY: 15,956

TURNOUT: 46,399

2015

Alan Mak (Conservative): 23,159

John Perry (UKIP): 9,239

Graham Giles (Labour): 7,149

Steve Sollitt (Liberal Democrats): 2,929

Tim Dawes (Green): 2,352

MAJORITY: 13,920

TURNOUT: 44,828

2010

David Willetts (Conservative): 22,433

Alex Payton (Liberal Democrats): 10,273

Robert Smith (Labour): 7,777

Gary Kerrin (UKIP): 2,611

Fungus Addams (English Democrat): 809

MAJORITY: 12,160

TURNOUT: 43,903

2005

David Willetts (Conservative): 18,370

Sarah Bogle (Labour): 11,862

Alexander Bentley (Liberal Democrats): 8,358

Timothy Dawes (Green Party): 1,006

Stephen Harris (UKIP): 998

Ian Johnson (BNP): 562

Russell Thomas (Veritas): 195

MAJORITY: 6,508

TURNOUT: 41,351

2001

David Willetts (Conservative): 17,769

Peter Guthrie (Labour): 13,562

Catherine Cole (Liberal Democrats): 7,508

Kevin Jacks (Green): 793

Timothy Cuell (Ukip): 561

Roy Stanley (Independent): 244

MAJORITY: 4,207

TURNOUT: 40,437

Current status

Last MP: Alan Mak (Conservative)

Majority: 15,956

Odds on winners (via William Hill)

Alan Mak (Conservative): 1/200

Rosamund Knight (Labour): 25/1

Paul Gray (Liberal Democrats): 80/1

John Colman (Green): 300/1

Police in Leigh Park after a stabbing. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Police in Leigh Park after a stabbing. Picture: Habibur Rahman