Lib Dems urge Havant Borough Council to rethink plans for historic quarter

REVAMP? The White Hart public house on the corner of North Street and East Street in Havant. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (122041-7677)
REVAMP? The White Hart public house on the corner of North Street and East Street in Havant. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (122041-7677)
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REGENERATION plans for Havant town centre should start again from scratch, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The Havant branch of the party said the council should go back to the drawing board and form a town centre renewal partnership, involving all the local stakeholders and community organisations.

It comes as Havant Borough Council has been consulting the public on options for the East Street area, including new housing, the possible demolition of the White Hart pub, and the idea of moving the town’s war memorial.

The proposals were drawn up in partnership with developer Barratt Homes, but no deals have been signed and there is no formal planning application.

Faith Ponsonby, a former Lib Dem councillor, said the council should have a meeting involving all interested parties.

She said: ‘What we would like to see is much more consultation with the community.

‘So rather than presenting it to us as a fait accompli, the council comes to us and says we would like to do something with East Street, these are the possibilities, what would you like to see?

‘I know they have consulted the church and landowners but the wider community needs to be looked at.’

She said the Lib Dems would like to see high-quality housing in the area, but retaining the facades of the buildings in East Street.

The party opposes the demolition of the White Hart pub and St Faith’s Hall and is against moving the war memorial.

The party is also concerned about losing parking facilities at The Bear Hotel and East Pallant.

The idea of semi-pedestrianising the Roman crossroads in Havant was also opposed.

The party says it could lead to traffic chaos if the A27 becomes gridlocked.

But she said the Lib Dems agree that East Street needs urgent attention.

Mrs Ponsonby said: ‘The whole thing is deteriorating rapidly. We believe something should be done.’

Council officials are analysing feedback from the consultation.

If a major proposal comes forward, the council has said there will be more public meetings.