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Devastating news from HCC re Titchfield haven bid

Hampshire County Council (HCC) published yesterday the report for two meetings on Monday 31 July. We are very sorry to say that the report recommends HCC decline the bid from Titchfield Haven Community Hub (THCH) for Haven House. The report also recommends that the proposals for the nature reserve submitted by Hampshire & IoW Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) are declined.

This is hugely disappointing, not only to those of us who have worked on the bid but to our thousands of supporters who signed the petition last year and the hundreds who have since shown their support through the public meetings held in March and April, and subsequently by the submission of forms indicating financial and other support, with many contributing to the HIWWT ‘fighting fund’ which we used to prepare the bids.

It is also deeply disappointing that although HCC sent both the Wildlife Trust and THCH a list of questions to clarify factual details, there has been no dialogue since we submitted our business plan on 13 June.

The report sets out a deeply flawed analysis of THCH’s business case, claiming it is not financially viable which is of course in complete contrast to the view of central government, which has awarded us £186,000 from the Community Ownership Fund.

The report for the following meetings on 31 July:

·The Universal Services Select Committee at 10.00 at The Castle in Winchester: this committee has an advisory role and will not actually make the decision.

·The Executive Member Decision Day at 3pm by video: the two Executive Members will be Cllr Nick Adams King and Cllr Russell Oppenheimer. This is where the decision will be made, theoretically taking account of advice from the Select Committee which met in the morning.

We intend to challenge the conclusions of the report and its recommendations and Pamela has arranged to make a deputation in person to the Select Committee meeting and by video in the afternoon. We know, however, that HCC is not renowned for changing its mind in the face of reasoned argument and they have clearly ignored public opinion as well as the excellent arguments included in the 14 July letter from Cllr Woodward and the MPs (a copy of which is on THCH’s website).

If you wish to make your views known in advance of the 31 July meeting, please email the two Executive Members who will make the decision: nick.adams-king@hants.gov.uk and russell.oppenheimer@hants.gov.uk, and copy to our councillor pal.hayre@hants.gov.uk (who is as deeply disappointed as we are). You may wish to emphasise the need for proper dialogue with THCH and a review of the highly questionable assumptions in the report concerning financial viability of our plans. We believe that no decision should be taken on the basis of such flawed reports and more time should be taken to explore constructive and mutually beneficial solutions.

We will keep in touch with you and our critique, together with the HCC report, will be posted on www.thcommunityhub.org.uk Latest News as soon as it is sent to HCC on Monday morning.

With kind regards

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