Below is the letter Alan Mak MP wrote to Cllr Humby on 24 May 2016, regarding the public consultation over the future of the Havant Waste and Recycling Centre.
Dear Cllr Humby,
Thank you for attending the meeting I organised and chaired on Hayling Island recently to discuss the future of Hayling Island’s Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). I am grateful that you accepted my invitation to meet a group of local councillors, and the residents’ petition organiser Allison Wiltshire, in order to listen to their views and concerns.
Following that meeting, I am confident that you now have a fuller impression of the strength of local opinion supporting the view that the HWRC should remain open.
Please accept this letter as my response to the Hampshire County Council (HCC) consultation in relation to Hayling Island’s HWRC.
Summary of key views from Hayling Island residents
I understand that you and HCC are the sole decision-makers in this instance rather than Parliament, so I would be grateful if you could take into consideration the following points which have been raised with me by local residents:
1. Hayling Island’s HWRC is a valued and well-used community asset. Along with local councillors at both Havant Borough Council and HCC level, I am of the view that it should remain open.
2. Hayling Island has unique geographic characteristics that makes its HWRC particularly important in this instance.
· With a single arterial road and bridge on and off the Island, residents expressed concern at the time and distance involved in travelling to the next nearest HWRC in Havant – a round trip of between 7-15 miles for many Islanders. (There are also occasions when Hayling Island residents are advised by the police not to make journeys off the Island due to heavy road congestion. On such occasions, they would not have access to Havant’s HWRC, which means Hayling Island’s HWRC must stay open.)
· Such trips to Havant HWRC mentioned above would be responsible for an estimated 70,000 extra car journeys to Havant and back, resulting in excess and unnecessary cost to local residents, and pollution of the environment.
3. Havant’s HWRC already struggles to meet demand, with multiple reported temporary closures in the recent past due to queuing and overloading. This could lead to increased instances of fly tipping, local incineration and litter build-ups in both Havant and Hayling Island, with consequential impacts on the environment and the Island’s visitor economy and residents’ quality of life.
4. With forecasts predicting growing populations in both Havant and Hayling Island, waste and recycling demands are only like to increase in the future, so retaining Hayling Island’s HWRC will be vital to meet those growing demands.
5. Hayling Island is home to a large elderly population (c. 40% of residents recorded in the 2011 census were aged over 60). These are some of the most vulnerable members of the community, many of whom do not have a vehicle and/or the ability or confidence to drive off the Island in order to dispose of waste. The Hayling Island HWRC is a key local amenity for these residents in particular.
My actions as local Member of Parliament
I recognise that (a) I am not a member of HCC and have no rights of audience there; and (b) the House of Commons, where I am a member, has no role in HCC’s decision-making on this issue because responsibility has been devolved to HCC. I note that Hayling Island’s democratically-elected representative on HCC is County Councillor Frank Pearce, a Hayling Island resident.
Notwithstanding the above, I thought it would be helpful for me to re-state the actions I have taken to date in order to engage with you, and Hayling Island residents and stakeholders, on this issue:
1. Met residents’ petition organiser Allison Wiltshire to listen to her concerns and thoughts, and agreed to assist her to raise awareness of her petition and present it to you;
2. Met a large number of local residents at my MP surgery at Hayling Island Community Centre to listen to their concerns and wider thoughts in relation to HCC’s proposals;
3. Met HCC Leader Roy Perry to lobby him, and communicate residents’ views and concerns;
4. Visited the Hayling Island HWRC to meet and listen to local residents who use the facility, and discuss the proposals with the HWRC’s staff;
5. Met you to communicate residents’ views and concerns;
6. Organised and chaired a roundtable meeting on Hayling Island with you, Cllr Frank Pearce, Allison Wiltshire and representatives of Havant Borough Council (local councillors) to communicate the views of local residents and stakeholders to you;
7. Met HCC Deputy Leader Councillor Keith Mans to lobby him, and communicate residents’ views and concerns;
8. Arranged for Allison Wiltshire to present the petition she has co-ordinated to you before the formal consultation closes; and
9. Responded to HCC’s formal consultation as local MP setting out a summary of the substantive arguments against closing Hayling HWRC, and asking HCC to take into account the responses from Hayling Island residents and other stakeholders.
Hayling Island residents’ petition
I know that following the meeting I organised, you agreed to accept and take into consideration the residents’ petition organised by Allison Wiltshire which contains over 6,500 signatures. This is a welcome step.
Views from Hayling Island residents and stakeholders submitted to the HCC consultation
I would also be grateful if you could also take into account the submissions to HCC’s consultation from Hayling Island residents and other stakeholders and interested parties. This issue has generated a substantial amount of interest and concern locally, and such views should be fully considered by your and your colleagues at HCC.
HCC’s decision-making process and timings
I understand you will be making your decision over the summer of 2016 once you have had the opportunity to review and consider all the responses to HCC’s consultation about HWRCs across the county of Hampshire.
I look forward to the outcome, and I will be happy to stay in touch with you, and Hayling Island’s HCC representative Cllr Frank Pearce, in the meantime.