HERE’S WHAT YOU SAID
The Emsworth Forum is working with the Emsworth Residents Association and the Emsworth Business Association to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of the town and its residents. It aims to produce a Neighbourhood Plan by 2016, based on the views, aspirations and needs of people and businesses in the town.
The Forum conducted a survey at the end of 2014 which was sent to all the 300 members of the Forum, either by Email or post, and was also circulated widely in the town. two hundred and twenty four replies were received.
The survey contained open ended questions, to encourage a wide range of views, and than asked to tell us what they thought about a range of issues that may need further exploration.
What is it about Emsworth that you value most?
Everyone expressed a positive view of Emsworth. You mentioned the community, the shops, the feeling of a village and its independence, and the friendly people. You also valued its location, the pubs and restaurants and the range of available activities.
Shops and services
These were highly valued, and there was a strong desire to encourage independent retail-ers. There was comment that there were too many estate agents and charity shops, and regret that two out of three banks (and cashpoints) in the town had recently closed.
There was comment that the town’s appearance and cleanliness could be improved, particularly in North Street and round the Millpond, with better pavements, reduced dog mess and more flowers.
There were few responses that could be identified as coming from local businesses, but there was comment that the quality of the mobile signal and the speed and variability of broadband in the town was thought to be impacting on local businesses.
Parking was the most commonly mentioned issue in the survey, and this included requests for more parking spaces, free parking and residents only parking.
More cycle lanes with improved protection for cyclists, and more cycle racks were the key transport issue raised.
Other traffic issues were the volume of traffic on the A259, the difficulty of getting on to it from side streets, and the fact that it divided the north from the south of the town. An additional spur off the A27 to the east to reduce through traffic was mentioned.
There were also many comments about speeding and congestion, and improvements to pedestrian crossings.
Suggested improvements to public transport included more buses, more routes, including one to the QA hospital, and better trains to London.
With such a wide range of interpretations of the term “leisure” there was a corresponding diversity of responses. People expressed satisfaction with pubs and restaurants, walking the coast or the countryside, and the general level of facilities in the town.
Some also expressed the need for a local gym, an indoor pool, more tennis and badminton courts and in particular more facilities for the younger generation.
Many respondents said that they had no knowledge of the schools in Emsworth. Those that did comment felt that the two Primary schools were excellent, but there was concern that they would find it difficult to cope with an expanding population.
Some people regretted that there was no secondary school in the town.
Adult education was thought to focus on the needs of older people, and could be expand-ed to meet the needs of the young.
Health and Social Care services
There was strong support for the Emsworth Surgery, a recognition of the need for new premises, and a concern that services, particularly access, are deteriorating.
There were concerns about access to Community and Social Services, particularly with a growing elderly population, and the location of these services in Havant.
There was also strong support for a new Surgery or Health Centre either in the Community Hospital or on the site, but this was frequently linked with an expectation of a larger Team and a wider range of services in Emsworth.
The majority of residents seem satisfied with the waste management in Emsworth, but the areas for improvement that were identified include:
• Improved recycling, particularly by collecting glass separately, and also dividing pa-per and cardboard from food waste clothing etc.
• Emptying litter bins more regularly, particularly around the Millpond.
• Weekly collections should be reinstated.
Issues raised included better lighting, particularly around the millpond, cold calling, and safety in the subways.
There was frequent comment about flooding in Emsworth, of which over two thirds were critical.
There is a Flood Action Group in Emsworth, which was thought to be doing a good job, but proposed schemes need to be completed as soon as possible.
By far the biggest concern was that new development in the area could have an impact on flooding, and a belief that the Environment Agency and Havant BC were not stringent enough when agreeing to flood alleviation schemes put forward by developers.
There was a recognition for the need for continued development, but wide ranging views on its scope.
There was a consensus that Emsworth should preserve its individual character, including it’s village centre, the shoreline and the rural hinterland.
There was concern that development should not outstrip the infrastructure, including schools and medical facilities, and about the risks of increased traffic and flooding.
Developments should include affordable housing, accommodation suitable for older peo-ple, and larger homes for families. There were also requests for space for industry, small businesses and more shops and restaurants.
There were a number of pleas for good quality design for any new developments.
Although the number of respondents was small it is sufficient to identify the issues that the Forum should be considering. The next steps are to explore opinions in greater depth by surveys, focus groups and public meetings, to collect evidence where appropriate, and to consult with the many agencies and groups involved in these areas. We will then be in a position to include proposals and policies in the Neighbourhood Plan that are supported by the evidence and can be put to the people of Emsworth in our final consultation.
Possible areas for policy development
1. Ensuring that future developments meet the needs of all residents, are consistent with the character of Emsworth, do not outstrip the infrastructure, and do not contribute to increased flooding.
2. Managing transport, including traffic, parking, cycling, and public transport, to meet peoples needs and preserving the quality of life.
3. Helping the shops, restaurants, pubs and businesses in the town to thrive, and encouraging the growth of employment particularly for younger people.
4. Building a new Medical Centre on the Community Hospital site that includes a wider range of accessible services that meet the needs of the population, particularly the elderly.
5. Maintaining and developing community facilities and services that enable everyone, particularly older people live healthy independent lives.
6. Developing leisure facilities, particularly for younger people, including opportunities for sport.