What we do

Themes

The interests of the ERF fall under a number of headings which we call Themes:

  • Young People
  • Environment
  • Traffic and Public Realm
  • Housing and Community Facilities
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Town Centre

Where relevant community groups already exist, ERF aims to encourage, publicise and support their work, for example through small grants.  In other cases we facilitate the formation of a working group with members drawn from other organisations and volunteers from outside the ERF committee.

The Projects page of this website gives more detail about some examples of work which the ERF has previously supported or which is on-going.

Young People

A working group meets regularly and has organised several Youth Days for 11-16 year olds at the Emsworth Community Centre, with a wide range of activities.  The participants have provided us with information about the facilities they wanted in Emsworth. Several of these young people took part in the greatly admired ‘street art’ project in the Washington Road underpass.

Providing a place for young people to meet and funding a youth worker are challenging priorities which the ERF needs to grapple with.

 Environment

Various work strands have been pursued under this heading:

A steering group has been formed to explore the proposal for an Emsworth Green Network to strengthen links between existing environmental groups and identify gaps in current ‘greening’ activity.  A dedicated website is under development.

The Forum’s Community Gardens scheme is intended to support a number of groups who have identified small areas of under-used land that can be re-purposed for growing food and promoting biodiversity.  The scheme’s current flagship is the Victoria Road Community Garden being developed on the site of disused allotments.  This is a partnership between the ERF and Havant Borough Council, who own the land and have provided some very welcome funding, but the intention is to transfer formal management of the garden to a constituted local group within the first two years of operation.

The ERF will continue to support the Friends of Hampshire Farm Meadows, the Community Orchard and the Havant Tree Wardens in their work at the Ems Valley Memorial Arboretum.  Funding will be made available for location signs and interpretation boards.

The Clean Harbours Partnership: start-up funding was provided by the ERA in 2021; further investigations and testing may require “as-and-when” funding.

Havant Thicket Reservoir: Southern Water’s controversial proposal for pumping treated effluent from Budd’s Farm Sewage Treatment Plant up to the reservoir has not generated widespread opposition in Emsworth, but we will continue to monitor the progress of the scheme.

Traffic and Public Realm

A public consultation meeting in 2023 confirmed traffic problems to be among, if not at the head of, the main issues of concern for Emsworth residents, echoing the conclusions of the Neighbourhood Plan.  Addressing such problems can be expensive but we believe there are some affordable measures that can be implemented within Emsworth which will make a difference.

The Forum is taking a leading role in campaigning for a direct connection between the A27 and a ‘spine’ road through the Southleigh site, as a necessary and prior condition to the proposed strategic housing development of 2,100 houses going ahead.  This is a venture with councillors and community organisations representing the parts of the borough that would be worst affected by the extra traffic generated by this development.  Without this road the already overloaded road network in Emsworth and Denvilles will deteriorate further.

Health and Wellbeing

We have continued to provide support for the Emsworth Health Alliance.

The ERF has convened meetings of users of Emsworth Park sports and recreation facilities with relevant officers of HBC to discuss land use and future investment strategy.

Housing and Community Facilities

The Emsworth Community Land Trust takes the lead on housing in the town but there are overlapping memberships with the ERF, which also takes a keen interest. Via the statutory consultee role we are continuing to assert the policies for housing design, mix and affordability set out in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Town Centre

The development of the Town Centre is a central theme of the Neighbourhood Plan and there are numerous important ambitions set out for commercial activity, visitor experience, community facilities and public spaces.  An earlier consultation conducted through The Ems newspaper showed overwhelming support for re-modelling St Peter’s Square as a permanent public assembly area, and in 2024 the Square was the setting for a design study by 40 student architects.

Funds have been set aside for some master planning and public consultation work to pick up from where the NP stops and act as catalyst for future action.

A medium-term objective is the formation of an Emsworth Town Partnership with the Business Association and other stakeholders.