Councillor Column – January 2020

Those of you that engaged with the Neighbourhood Plan will recall that a majority of villagers supported the addition of limited housing in Ropley. In response the plan included a site for four self-build houses on Petersfield Road with the requirement that they should be for families with a local connection and registered on EHDC’s self-build register. An outline planning application has been submitted for the site, and states that there are not sufficient local people registered and so they may have to be offered to non-local people, which is disappointing and clearly not what was intended by the plan. If you, or a member of your family is interested in this opportunity please make sure that your get on EHDC’s self-build register as soon as possible using the following link:

https://www.easthants.gov.uk/register-interest-self-build-or-custom-build-homes

There has been a lot of press coverage concerning proposed planning reforms contained in two white papers released by government for consultation. The first, “Changes to the current planning system” proposes changes to the way that the local housing need is calculated and this could result in EHDC’s housing need increasing from about 600 dwellings per year to over 900, and that will put huge pressure on communities to accept a lot more housing. Additionally because 57% of EHDC’s area is within the National Park the vast majority of the additional need will be borne by the 43% that is outside – which includes Ropley and Monkwood.

The second paper, “Planning for the future” proposes new methods for creating local plans which would effectively destroy all of the work done by EHDC over the last two years to create the local plan review and send them back to the drawing board. It should be noted that this review was only started because in 2018 the government changed the rules to require councils to review their plan every five years. Additionally this white paper proposes changes to the way that local infrastructure is funded; at present the Parish Council receives money from developments in the village, and these are being used to contribute to the rebuilding of the church as well as supporting the pre-school activity and the refurbishment of the Coffee Rooms. The proposals would fundamentally change this and remove a significant element of local control.

The work to get faster broadband into Ropley is continuing – see here

Finally, you may have seen articles in the local press suggesting that EHDC is going to merge with Havant Borough Council (HBC). I can assure you that this is NOT true. We have for several years co-operated with HBC, one of our neighbouring authorities, in a number of areas, share a number of key officer positions and last year moved our waste collection to a service provided by HBC. EHDC is focused on providing the best possible services in as efficient as possible manner to keep your council tax low. We will continue to rationalise our workforce to achieve that goal, including sharing further positions with HBC.

Thank you for your support.

Charles Louisson