Update on The Draft Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan Consultation
The public consultation on the Draft Emsworth Plan closed on 19th December. Thank you to all of you who took the time and trouble to respond to our questionnaire or to write to our Chair. In total we had 108 responses – which is a very good result considering you were being asked to review a 70 page document and answer 38 questions. It was clear from the detail of the responses we have received that many of you had spent a great deal of time and effort in thinking about the questions we asked and giving carefully considered responses. It shows once again how much people living in Emsworth really care about the place and want to see it protected and develop in the right way. We thank you most sincerely for that.
We had a further 5 responses from local community organisations, 13 from various statutory organisations and two from developer/landowner representatives. As you will understand, these need to be carefully considered also.
We are pleased to tell you that, of those who completed the questionnaire) there was overwhelming support for all of the policies we proposed: the lowest level of support was 66%, the highest was 94%! We are now going through your comments (of which there are hundreds) in detail and starting the process of drafting our responses to you and re-drafting the Plan. At the end of that process we will produce and publish what is called a Consultation Statement. We do not expect this to be ready until mid-February at the earliest.
Havant Borough Local Plan Consultation
Just before Christmas Havant Borough Council’s Cabinet approved the new Draft Havant Borough Local Plan 2036 for public consultation. The consultation will take place from 8th January 2018 to 16th February 2018.
As you may be aware, the Local Plan is an overarching strategic planning document for the borough of Havant and will provide the framework for guiding the determination of planning applications and will sit alongside the Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan, which will be completed before the Havant Local Plan. It is important to the success of both documents that the two plans support and reinforce each other and we will be working with HBC to ensure that. The Emsworth Forum will itself respond to the Local Plan Consultation, but it is important that you – Emsworth residents respond as well so that we can make sure Local reflects our needs, perspective and aspirations for the area. Although the Draft Local Plan document is very long to read (in total 400 pages) you can find the references to Emsworth or topics of particular interest to you by inserting keywords into the Adobe software search tool that the document is created in.
You can also attend an exhibition organised by HBC about the Draft Havant Local Plan at Emsworth Baptist Church, North Street, Emsworth on Tuesday 30th January 3pm-7pm. There are HBC exhibitions on other dates in other parts of the borough if you cannot make that date.
There is also a dedicated webpage and frequently asked questions where you can find out more http://www.havant.gov.uk/localplan
You can respond with you views using a web-based survey https://havantbc.researchfeedback.net/s.asp?k=151506469928
Ems Valley Corridor
One of the many issues that you raised with us in public meetings and in your responses to the Draft Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan was the possibility of the Ems Valley corridor being protected as a ‘Designated Green Space’.
Please note that if you look at the Draft Havant Local Plan you will see that land behind Westwood Close is proposed by Havant Borough Council to be allocated for housing in this area. There is also an HBC organised Development Consultation Forum being held at the request of developers at the Hurstwood Room in Public Service Plaza on Tuesday 16th January from 6pm- 8pm.
The Emsworth Forum agreed at our AGM to look at this area in detail to see if it would qualify under the planning rules that govern ‘Green Spaces’ to be added to the Draft Plan. Our Chair Stephanie Elsy and other members of the Forum Committee will be visiting the area with our planning consultant, Richard Eastham, at 2pm on Wednesday 10th January. We shall be meeting at the far end of Westwood Close. Anyone with an interest in this site is most welcome. We advise suitable footwear as the field is likely to be damp.
Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital Site
Those who attended the Forum AGM will know that the future of the site was discussed. At time of writing, we understand that the Emsworth Surgery is still hoping to move to Redlands Grange and is unlikely therefore to occupy the EVCH site. We know that as soon as the site is declared surplus by the NHS it will be placed on the market for sale. Because the site has been designated an ‘asset of community value’ under the Localism Act, the Communnity has up to 6 months to place a community bid for the site. There was a call at our AGM for people to get together to enable this to happen. Shirley Farmer came forward at that meeting and offered to take the lead in doing so. She has asked us to share the following statement in this members email:
‘At the AGM of the Forum in which the Draft Neighbourhood Plan was discussed, the aspirations for a Community and Public Services Hub were of particular interest to me and especially the relevance and importance of the EVCH site within this. I agreed that I would explore how an accessible and integrated community-social-voluntary service might be developed. Latterly I have also been thinking about the concept of embedding Healthy Living in the process and what this could look like. I would very much welcome input and views from like-minded people as it is my strong belief that by working together we bring the complementary skills and experience to propose a really innovative development, tailor-made for Emsworth. I may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or by text only to 07767 457752. I shall respond by return! Shirley Farmer