More than 130 concerned residents have registered their support for a campaign opposing proposed coastal defences during a meeting at historic Langstone village, in Hampshire.
Hosted by the recently formed “Save Our Shore” (SOS) action group, the meeting explained how the East Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP) is championing its preferred development option for flood defences on Langstone’s shoreline – even though stakeholder meetings have made it clear the proposals are unacceptable.
In an open forum, multiple residents spoke about the many unaddressed concerns over the scheme’s suitability in terms of effectiveness, recreational access and aesthetics within the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Save Our Shore campaign issued a statement which said: “As they are spending an allocated £376,000 of public money, we’re asking ESCP and Havant Borough Council to reconsider these unacceptable plans as their preferred option and to get more residents involved so they can have their say before a further £450,000 is spent finalising detailed plans. After that the scheme will cost millions to build and runs a huge risk of failing in its aims.
“Of course, everyone in Langstone village and the wider Havant area appreciates the need for coastal defences but we feel a real duty to ensure that the plan is absolutely right. We’re talking about protecting centuries of history in this unique environment for the next 100 years and we believe there are much better solutions to be explored.”
The ESCP is currently planning drop-in sessions in early January at which its preferred plans could be viewed but previous sessions were poorly attended due to insufficient publicity. This resulted in minimal public engagement. As a result, the SOS group decided to hold its own meeting to provide a robust means of measuring true majority opinion with the aim of stopping the wrong plan going forward as a fait accompli.
The SOS group is asking for the drop-in sessions to be postponed indefinitely whilst it seeks a meeting with elected representatives to secure the future of the village against the damage of current proposals.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the plans so far can view a PDF with information as well as before and after illustrations at: www.soslangstone.org
Created by the SOS group with information provided so far by ESCP, the document shows how the proposed defences will restrict sea views, detract from historic buildings and limit access to the foreshore.