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Haven House sale completed

Dear friends and supporters

Hampshire County Council has just issued the following press release on the sale of Haven House:

Hampshire County Council has confirmed the sale of Haven House, the former visitor centre for the Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve. The property has been sold to a private local buyer who has expressed an intention to lease the property to a day nursery, part of Hopscotch Nursery Group, which will operate with a focus on the outdoor environment

Councillor Kirsty North, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead for Universal Services, said: “The sale of Haven House will release much needed investment for Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, helping us to fund improvements and deliver our obligations to this important site. Upgrades are planned to boardwalks, bridges, and bird hides alongside enhancements to the habitats that provide a home to many species. The proposed use of the building by a local nursery provider is positive news, offering childcare spaces in an area that has been identified as needing additional early years capacity, supporting local families, and creating jobs.”  The sale of Haven House was agreed to address a funding gap in the projected running costs of Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve totalling £1.8 million.

We have understood for some time that this outcome was likely, but we know that everyone who fought so hard to save Haven House as a community resource will be sad to know there is now no possibility of that being achieved.

Titchfield Haven Community Hub trustees – and doubtless many other individuals and organisations – will now be pressing HCC for details of how the income from Haven House and Haven Cottage will be used to improve the nature reserve.  Both HCC and the owner of Hopscotch Nurseries have said they will communicate further and we will pass on any further information to you.

It is extraordinary that the HCC press release continues to use the figure of £1.8 million as the target they were seeking to achieve: that included £610,000 for the replacement of the visitor reception and staff facilities in the back yard, whereas we understand the plan is now for HCC to rent their existing facilities in Haven House from the new owner.  You may recall that THCH offered the space to HCC at a ‘peppercorn’ rent – ie virtually no cost.  They rejected that out of hand, saying they must have a ‘clean break’.

However, the time for pressing the case for THCH is now past.  We would like to offer so many thanks – to those who gave funds to HIWWT so that our bid could be put together, to those who wrote emails and protested in front of the cameras and gave interviews, to those who offered donations for the purchase and to all of you for the huge encouragement and warmth you gave to us as we put the bid together and pressed HCC to see sense.

It has been a great pleasure to get to know so many of you and we wish you well.

With warmest good wishes

Pamela Charlwood     Lynne Murray     Caroline Herbert

Trustees THCH Limited

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