Havant Borough’s issues with traffic are clearly understood by the residents but appear low down the priority list for Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council. Long-standing issues with Hayling Island traffic flow are made worse by HBC’s relentless push for new housing development, while the long-talked-about Southleigh/A27 link road remains ‘missing in action’ and the Warblington A27 junction is increasingly loaded by new housing developments to the east.
Recent planning applications have demonstrated a near complete lack of integration between the local and regional councils. Hampshire County Council (HCC) have responsibility for traffic and transport, but appear to lack any local knowledge of Havant’s road network, while Havant Borough Council (HBC) have the responsibility for local planning matters, but fail to grasp the cumulative impact on traffic of individual planning applications.
HCC’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan is bringing some real and welcome improvements for part of the community, with new pedestrian/cycle crossings on Elmleigh Road and Petersfield Road coming soon, but the major problems of peak time traffic simply get worse. The major roundabouts at Asda, Langstone and the Rusty Cutter are all becoming peak-time nightmares and with uncontrollable rat-running traffic generated by the opening of Amazon’s new delivery centre in the centre of town, the situation can only deteriorate.
Amazon’s Havant ‘Delivery Station’ has finally been ‘announced’ in a press release quoted in The Times on 11 January. There has been no public communication from HBC or the developer.
The New Lane site will service deliveries of parcels, groceries and fresh produce to the City of Portsmouth, to Southampton in the west, to Bognor in the east and north to Guildford, with most of its new traffic fighting for access to and from the A3(M) and the A27. (For details from the press release, see this Havant Civic Society post from 11 January.)
The siting of a major distribution centre at a site landlocked by the existing town centre roads and throttled by the limited number of crossing points over the rail network may yet prove to have been a ‘courageous decision’ by Havant Borough Council’s planning committee. Only time will tell.
Before the two Amazon planning applications were heard, sources attributed to Amazon Logistics had already confirmed that the company’s preferred site in the Borough was at Dunsbury Park, close to the A3M and with easy access to the UK strategic road network. However, by that time, Portsmouth City Council (the site owner) and Havant Borough Council (the planning authority) had already ringfenced Dunsbury Park exclusively for future Solent Freeport use. The only other viable site for Amazon had been lost when Havant Borough Council sold off Brockhampton West to fund redevelopment of the Meridian Centre.
The architect behind Havant’s regeneration plans suggests a future option to prioritise pedestrian and cycle movements in Park Road South, between Solent Retail Park and the town centre, a scheme that while absolutely desirable for residents and visitors alike, shows precious little understanding of Havant’s traffic management issues.
We suspect that Amazon will have something to say about that, and for that matter, any other local planning application that gets in the way of its delivery traffic.
Residents demand action
At a Havant Civic Society public meeting in November 2022, the audience expressed clear support for a move to bring Havant Borough Council’s planning and development officers together with Hampshire County Council’s Highways officers in a public forum in order to understand and resolve these issues.
Two months later, with no response from Havant’s elected HCC representatives, it’s time to step up the pressure.