Councillor Gibb-Gray has circulated the following information following the proposal being considered by Havant Borough Council at its Development Management Committee last week:
1. We now have planning consent to rebuild reconstruct the wall to an exceedingly high specification.
2. Tenders have been returned and HBC have a preferred bidder who has submitted a method statement of how the work would be undertaken. The total cost associated with the work has leaped to a staggering 130k [Originally HBC were thinking in terms of 35k] but this includes compensation to householders and associated work on a gas line. This high level of expenditure will have to come from HBC reserves and requires Cabinet approval.
3. The bidders method statement states that whilst the contract will take 10 weeks to complete a total road closure of North Street will only be necessary for a limited time, possibly only a few days [less than a week] At other times it may be necessary to have one way traffic controlled by temporary traffic signals.
4. No start date for this work has been suggested and in any event this will not be anytime soon, so residents, motorists and the EBA [Organisers of the British Food Week] can breathe a sigh of relief!
5. Given the above there are a number of associated issues that need to be taken into account before there is any prospect of the planning consent being implemented.
[a] Authority from Cabinet authorising the spend [130k]. Currently this is unlikely.
[b] Agreement with the householders over compensation and authority to work on their land.
[c] Transco and the gas pipeline. No design work has been completed on this and could take many weeks.
[d] The role of Hampshire County Council. They are the highway authority and should accept responsibility for fixing the problem. Their engineers closed off the footway when the danger of the wall collapsing was first recognised. Whilst they have been content for HBC to accept responsibility for obtaining planning permission etc there are indications now that they would adopt a different solution to removing the danger and fixing the problem. They suggest the old wall should be removed and the householders land regraded to eliminate the risk of a landslip. Having done this HCC would seek their costs from the householders who after all have most to benefit from a resolution of the problem.
[e] Clearly the costs of doing this will be substantially less than the rebuild option.
[f] It is possible that other options may come from HCC in the near future.
[g] Lawyers at HBC and HCC are considering all of the above and we await clear guidance. Again this is likely to take weeks rather than days.
So a protracted road closure has been avoided, but we still have the considerable inconvenience caused to our elderly residents and those with mobility problems by the footway closure on the east side of North Street. Please be assured that your councillors are working to resolve all the issues highlighted above and seek a speedy reopening of the footway link between north and south Emsworth.
The public meeting this Wednesday, which will be chaired by Stephanie Elsy, Chair of the Emsworth Forum, and will take the form of an update by our local Councillors followed by questions from the floor.
We hope very much that you can make it and look forward to seeing you there.