Despite the 9,991 Hampshire residents who signed the Save Our Haven Centre! petition, the thousands who emailed and took part in the survey, and the best efforts of the campaign members, the Countryside, Culture and Communities Select Committee voted to close and sell Haven House.
It came as a devastating blow to all those for whom the centre is a true haven, but residents intend to fight on, and work towards re-opening the centre and café as soon as possible.
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has confirmed that it will be submitting an expression of interest not only in the centre but also in the reserve. This will trigger a six-month moratorium period to allow negotiations to take place between HIWWT and HCC (who cannot sell the centre except to a community interest group in the meantime).
This would be on an ‘open book’ basis and officers would co-operate fully in providing the necessary information for a bid to be worked up.
The Council says that closing and selling Haven House visitor centre will raise money to support the reserve, provide a more financially stable future and protect special habitats.