Hampshire 2050, Vision for the Future
As a branch we have long discussed the need for a more strategic vision for Hampshire in which the future of our countryside, our towns, villages and cities is planned properly with the participation of communities. This would help to weather the challenges of growth in both house building and the economy, while protecting what is Hampshire’s greatest asset – the countryside.
In 2015 we wrote the ‘Strategic Vision for Hampshire’ and began to talk to decision makers all over the County. In early 2018, I was invited by the then Leader of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Roy Perry, to join a Commission of Inquiry into Hampshire 2050 as a Commissioner. The first hearing was in June 2018 and the final hearing in June 2019. During that time we were presented with evidence from a range of experts across six strategic themes. This work culminated with the production of a Commissioner’s Summary Report and presentation to an extraordinary meeting of Hampshire County Councillors in September. The work continues with engagement of the public working on Hampshire as a Place and connecting with all sectors to progress some of the recommendations.
The Commissioners were asked to consider three questions around six interlinking themes.
What makes Hampshire a great place to live, what could be done to improve the county and what changes might the future bring that would need to be prepared for or taken advantage of?
- Demographic and Societal Change
- Work, Skills and Lifestyle
- Environment and Quality of place
- Mobility, Connectivity and Energy
- Rural Hampshire
Predicting the nature of change is difficult – evidence from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a growing but ageing population in the future. This will put pressure on public services, housing and the NHS. The one thing we do know is that life will be different in 2050. Our job as a society is to make sure it is not a change for the worse.
Experts on Artificial Intelligence forecast more use of robotics in every area of life and we were lucky enough to have Dame Wendy Hall address us with evidence on computing in the future and the importance of diversity in programming computers – they are only as good as the people who programme them and if it is mostly young, white males, problems can occur in use.
In the workplace, there was recognition for the importance of confidence, resilience, problem solving, creativity and social skills as well as knowledge and skills.
So what about the profile of the Countryside? We submitted evidence to the Commission and I found plenty of support from fellow commissioners who understood that without protecting the environment, Hampshire will not be an attractive place to live but more importantly, the quality of the environment is vital to Climate Change mitigation, wellbeing of residents, production of food, quality of water and clean air. Climate and Environment became cross-cutting themes and found their way to the front of the report.
To read the whole document search ‘Commissioner’s Summary Report’ on your search engine. You can read all the evidence on this link: https://www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/visionforhampshire2050/moreaboutthework
This video was produced by HCC to give a flavour of the Commission: