Havant council set to build 200 homes around Public Service Plaza as part of town centre regeneration plan
A VISION for Havant’s future has been unveiled by the council, including 750 new homes to be built in the town centre.
Ambitious plans were announced as part of Havant Borough Council’s long-term regeneration vision, which includes a mix of residential, retail and leisure developments to the town.
Councillor Tim Pike, Havant Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet lead for planning, revealed today the immediate focus will be building 200 homes with parking on land already owned around its offices at the Public Service Plaza, with help from Homes England.
The message from councillors is that it is ‘business as usual’ at the Meridian Shopping Centre, which was recently bought by the council for £4.1m, but there are longer-term plans to regenerate the town centre and the borough.
Cllr Pike said: ‘We all recognise that retail is changing rapidly, and the town centre offer needs to change in order to respond.
‘However, I’m pleased to say that footfall in the town continues to be strong, and we will be undertaking the necessary investment to ensure this remains the case.
‘While our longer-term strategy may be to regenerate the centre of the town, for the moment we will support the Meridian Shopping Centre and the tenants so that it is as successful as possible.’
Housing allocations for 750 new builds in the centre of Havant were previously considered ‘not sufficiently ambitious’ by residents in a public consultation on the local plan.
Plans looking towards 2036 also include around 1,000 car parking spaces, two new town squares and a new pedestrian/cycle bridge over the railway, as well as enhancing the Billy Trail.
Business owners in the town welcome the idea of developments but have concerns about the road infrastructure around the town centre, and whether it will be able to cope with new homes.
Chris Hitchen, who owns CJ Meats in West Street, said: ‘Very few people venture from the retail park back into the town.
‘What I have noticed over the last 15 years is they have built that big retail park but there’s no infrastructure. The road structure isn’t strong enough to take it, they need to be mindful of that.
‘I think what they’re trying to do is the right thing, but I think time will tell what they plan and if they can get the investment to do it.’
Paul Tickner, proprietor of Havant Garages in South Street, said there are certain times his team won’t go out to do road tests because you can’t get around and he hopes the new housing developments will include plans for enough parking.
Mr Tickner said: ‘It seems that every time they build somewhere, say 60 houses, there will only be parking for 30.
‘If you just keep building and don’t alter the road structure, what way can you go? There’s certain times of the day where Havant is completely gridlocked.’
As part of the launch, a new website and video are showcasing the council’s vision for the future at havewithhavant.co.uk.