Chance to have say on plans for new homes

Residents in Emsworth have been told to have their say over where hundreds of houses will go in the town, as preliminary discussions get under way with the community.

Chairman of the Emsworth Residents’ Association, Lorraine Clode took part in a recent workshop run by Havant Borough Council for stakeholders in Emsworth about what sites are available for housing development in the future.

The Emsworth ward needs to find room for up to 826 new dwellings before 2026, planning permission has already been given for 334.

Although public consultation is not set to take place until later this year, she felt it was a good start, but warned residents that they must make their voices heard now to help shape the allocations plan rather than after all the decisions have been made.

“We thought it was an extremely good process,” she said. “The actual number of homes is not being imposed on us by Havant Borough Council, it’s very much a consultative process.”

Those at the workshop used a traffic light system to rate the sites. A red marker was used if they felt it was unsuitable, an amber marker if they were undecided, and a green marker if they thought it was suitable.

She said: “Before we started putting the red, amber, and green next to the sites, we had to put a little blue spot on the road where we lived so there was no possibility of us being accused of being nimbys.

“If people don’t take part in the discussions about the allocations then they don’t really have much room to complain about the end result if they are not part of shaping it.”

The information gathered from the workshops will be put into a draft allocations plan which will be the subject of an informal public consultation running from May 4 until June 16.

A spokesman for HBC said: “The informal consultations in May and June will provide the public with an opportunity to consider the potential housing, employment and green infrastructure allocations before a formal consultation is held on the preferred options for allocation in November and December 2012.”