'˜Welcome to Havant' '“ fury over eyesore in town centre
THIS is the grotty mess that greets people when they get off the bus at a town.
Now residents in Havant have said enough is enough and are demanding that it is sorted out.
The site was once a row of shops and a bank in West Street, but was demolished five years ago to make way for new retail units and 14 two-bedroom flats.
Since then, nothing has happened and the site continues to rot.
It is in stark contrast to the multi-million redevelopment and new retail units opening to the west of the town in Solent Road.
Ann Buckley, a former county councillor and resident of Havant, took pictures of the eyesore, which was further damaged by Storm Katie last week.
She said: ‘The site visible from the bus station looks dreadful from the rear and has been like this for over five years.
‘The West Street elevation has been covered by Havant Borough Council banners for years telling us to “shop local” but no development has taken place.
‘This looks shocking in our historic town centre and gives visitors a terrible impression of Havant.’
Planning officials at Havant Borough Council confirmed the site still has planning permission for a three-storey building providing 650 square metres of retail space, flats above and five parking spaces.
A spokeswoman said: ‘This dates from 2011 and could still be built as the development was implemented within the relevant three-year period (specified by the planning permission) by the undertaking of commencement works.’
Andrew Biltcliffe, head of planning at Havant Borough Council, added: ‘The council is concerned that the site is currently vacant in this prominent location within the town centre and has been for a considerable period of time.
‘We have been in contact with the landowner and would welcome the site to be re-developed as part of the ongoing new retail development that is happening throughout the town.’
It is understood that construction drawings for the development have been drawn up very recently and there could be progress on the project later this year.