Emsworth blueprint can protect town - and help bring prosperity

Emsworth town centre
Emsworth town centre

A revised Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to Havant council chiefs.

The Emsworth Forum has finished preparing the desired blueprint for the town’s future – taking into account more than 200 responses received from residents, businesses and statutory bodies during a public consultation.

A forum statement said: “We have, as a community, created the Neighbourhood Plan because we wanted to make sure that any future development would not damage the social, economic and environmental sustainability of Emsworth.

“This Neighbourhood Plan will become part of the statutory planning guidance for the town that must be taken into account in decisions on planning applications.

Some of the highlights of the revised document are:

* Protection of green spaces such as Horses Field and the Ems Valley corridor, so valued by locals and important to the environment.

* An ambitious affordable homes target of 40 per cent for all developments of more than ten units. This was recommended by the government appointed planning consultants Aecom in the Emsworth Housing Needs Assessment and would help ensure more affordable housing for young people.

* The designation of a community and public service hub in the town centre including protection of the Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital for health or community use. This has also been also reflected in the council’s emerging Local Plan.

The Forum has had backing from Emsworth Residents’ Association in attempts to create robust design policies that will protect Emsworth’s special character.

And there are now innovative proposals to improve traffic flow and conditions for pedestrians and cyclists – in particular along the A259 and in the town centre.

Parade means so much to Arthur - and many others
Arts trail unveils its treasures
The plan has now begun a six-week public consultation, running to June 7, during which documents can be viewed here or www.emsworthforum.com, or here - or at the council’s Public Service Plaza in Civic Centre Road, Havant, or at Emsworth Library.

Comments on the revised plan they must be received by June 7 and must be made in writing to policy.design@havant.gov.uk or to Planning Policy, Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX.

Following the consultation, the responses will go to a government planning examiner and a public examination will take place. The examiner may direct the Forum to make some changes. Once the plan has been approved, a referendum of all Emsworth electors will take place, possibly at the same time as the local elections in 2020.

The Forum said: “It has taken a great deal of time and effort to get the Emsworth Neighbourhood Plan to this point. We could not have done it without the generous donation of time, services and finance by our volunteer committee and the many residents and businesses in the Emsworth community.

“We are particularly grateful for the tremendous support we have had from the Emsworth Residents’ Association, Emsworth Business Association, Emsworth Community Association and our local councillors.”