The brownfield development tracker

Brownfield Development thermometer for Hart District

Given the recent success in quantifying the brownfield development potential in Hart District, we thought it would be good to set up a monitor to see how close we are to identifying all of the dwellings we need to meet the residual requirement of 4,000 units for the Hart Local Plan.

This of course assumes that we have to deliver the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).  There is a chance we might have to deliver an extra 3,100 houses for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  But equally there is also the potential for us to challenge the SHMA and end up with a lower housing target.

We will try and keep track of this as the process develops.

Brownfield Capacity in Fleet and Hook Keeps on Rising

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Back in November Hart Council insisted (p15) that the brownfield capacity for the district over the next 20 years was around 700-750 dwellings.  However, a number of recent developments show that this is assumption is incorrect and the available capacity is much larger and we could meet all of our remaining housing allocation through brownfield development alone.

 

LocationNumber of Dwellings
Guillemont Park Phase 1 (not included as brownfield site in SHLAA) 150
Guillemont Park Phase 2320
Ancells Farm, Fleet370
Bartley Wood, Hook200
Fleet Road, Fleet220
Bramshill House350
Fleet Police Station50
Extra dwellings at Landata House28
Total1,688

 

First, planning permission has recently been granted for 150 dwellings at Guillemont Park (former Sun Park site), an increase of 48 over the SHLAA estimate, near the J4a of the M3.  In addition, a developer has submitted a preliminary application for a further 320 houses on the same site, bringing the total up to 470 dwellings on just one site.

In addition, Stonegate Homes Limited have produced a report on on the potential capacity for converting offices to residential under permitted development rights in Fleet and Hook.  They have come to the conclusion that there’s an extra 790 units that could be delivered quite easily, with further additional capacity available at Ancells Farm.

Furthermore, discussions are underway to deliver about 350 new homes at the former Police College site at Bramshill House.

This brings a total of 1,610 of new brownfield capacity identified since November 2014, more than double Hart’s assessment of the capacity for the 20-year planning period. Notably, none of the 1,610 units above are on sites designated as brownfield in the SHLAA of October 2014, so all of these units are incremental to their original 750 estimate, bringing the current total up to 2,360.  We have started a tracker to monitor future progress.

Update: Fleet police station has now become available creating a new brownfield site for perhaps 50 apartments and Landata House has a planning application in place to increase the units by 28, bringing the total up to 2,438 units.

We have already shown that Hart has also under-estimated the available capacity on the sites it has identified because it has used a very conservative density assumption of only 30 dwellings per hectare (dph), whilst separately admitting it could go to 80-160dph in urban areas.  This would push its own estimate of 700-750 to 2,800-3,000 units meaning the total residual requirement of 4,000 units is within grasp.

Taken together, the sites in the table above and the potential increase in capacity from the sites Hart originally counted, then the full remaining housing allocation could be met in full on brownfield sites.

There is still no sign that Hart is taking brownfield development seriously enough, so if you would like to join our campaign to change the approach and adopt our 5-point plan, then please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

Revised submission to Owens Farm (Hop Garden Road) Appeal

The slot we thought we had been allocated to the first part of the Hop Garden Road (Owens Farm), Hook  appeal (APP/N1730/W/14/2226609) unfortunately didn’t happen due to some administrative hiccough.  However, we have now been allocated a slot at 10am on 9 June 2015.  This has presented an opportunity to improve further our submission and make it stronger.

The full details of the submission can be found here:

Revised submission to Hop Garden Road Appeal

The summary of the submission is presented below and the main challenge to the SHMA here:

This purpose of this submission by the We Hart Campaign is to oppose the specific unnecessary development proposed at Hop Garden Road in Hook and demonstrate to other developers who may wish to put forward speculative proposals for the over-development of the district that they will face formidable opposition to their plans.  Hart District is facing a scale of development that is against the wishes of its residents and in contradiction to stated Government policy to place planning decisions in the hands of local people.

Let me remind you of the Prime Minister’s words in 2012, taken from this Telegraph article:

He said: “I care deeply about our countryside and environment. Our vision is one where we give communities much more say, much more control. The fear people have in villages is the great big housing estate being plonked down from above.

“Our reforms will make it easier for communities to say ‘we are not going to have big plonking housing estate landing next to the village, but we would like 10, 20, 30 extra houses and we would like them built in this way, to be built for local people’.”

Mr Cameron, who was being interviewed in his Oxfordshire constituency, denied that the reforms would lead to large swathes of the countryside being built on.

He told BBC1’s Countryfile programme: “Here we are in west Oxfordshire one of the most beautiful parts of our country, set in some of England’s finest countryside. I would no more put that at risk than I would put at risk my own family.

“I care deeply about our countryside and environment. Our vision is one where we give communities much more say, much more control.”

We Hart object to this proposed development and any future speculative proposals on the grounds summarised below:

  • The SHMA and OAN are not objective and represent a “need” that is far too high.
  • Understated brownfield capacity means green field development is not necessary
  • This proposed development will not contribute towards meeting the needs of the changing demographics of the district
  • The proposed development will make the current infrastructure funding gap worse
  • Lack of consideration of the environment

As shown in section 8, the combined effects of reducing the OAN as assessed in the SHMA to a more realistic level and taking account of brownfield development in the pipeline that is not included in the Land Supply calculation would increase the land supply to 11.7 years.

The only reasonable conclusion from this analysis is that the Hop Garden Road application should be refused as it is not required; would build the wrong type of housing in the wrong place to meet the changing demographics of the district; would make the already difficult infrastructure funding position worse and needlessly concrete over our valuable green fields and damage the environment.

We Hart respectfully requests that this application is turned down.

 

Link

A30 roundabout cost escalation casts doubt on Winchfield new town infrastructure plans

A30-A327-Blackbushes Road Junction Improvements

A30-A327-Blackbushes Road Junction Improvements

It has been reported that the estimated costs of the second phase of improvements to the A30/A327/Blackbushes Road junction near Hartley Wintney have increased three-fold from £0.5m to £1.5m.  This does not bode well for the infrastructure cost estimates and plans for the new town at Winchfield being tested by Hart District Council.

We have already reported that Hart Council have done no work to evaluate the costs of alternative development strategies for the District and have no idea how much funding might be raised from developers for each development strategy.

We Heart Hart’s back of the envelope calculations (based on published figures for the costs of similar types of improvements to roads, rail, power, sewage etc.) show that the infrastructure costs of a new town could be around £150m.  4,000 houses might be expected to deliver around £40m of funding from developers, so this would leave a gap of £110m over and above the existing £78m funding gap in Hart’s Infrastructure Delivery Schedule.

Hart Existing Infrastructure Funding Gap

£78m Funding Gap

We Heart Hart called for a proper infrastructure plan to be included in the Local Plan as part of our 5-point plan for change.  Surely the experience with a relatively simple road junction improvement make this more important than ever.

If you would like to join the campaign to improve our Local Plan, please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

What legacy do Winchfield landowners want to leave for future generations?

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Cows in Winchfield

Robert Worsley has made the news recently by famously turning down an offer of £275m for his land in Sussex, saying:

‘What would I be doing to my neighbours and the other farmers round here? I could not be held responsible for putting the area under concrete.’

His principled stand to protect the legacy he leaves behind for future generations has won admiration across the country.

Andrew Renshaw, one of the landowners in Winchfield took a stand against development even before Robert Worsley, by expressing his strong opposition to a new town and he put up signs saying his part of Winchfield is not for sale.

Might it be possible to persuade the other landowners in Winchfield to think about the legacy they might be leaving for future generations and turn down the offers from the voracious developers?  That might force a much stronger focus on brownfield development and a more common sense approach to Hart Council’s Local Plan.

 

Hart District Council under-estimates brownfield capacity again

Vacant Sun Park (Guillemont Park) block near J4A of M3, Cove, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Sun Park (Guillemont Park) block near J4A of M3, Cove, Hart District, Hampshire

A preliminary application has been made to build 350 dwellings at the old Sun Park (Guillemont Park) site, near J4A of the M3, Fleet, in addition to the earlier application for a further 120 homes on another part of the site.  Provided concerns over road access can be overcome, this looks like a valuable addition to our brownfield capacity.

On the face of it, this is good news but further illustrates how misleading Hart District Council’s figures about brownfield capacity were when the council voted for plans to test a new town at Winchfield back in November 2014. Back then, they estimated overall brownfield capacity at only 700 units.

However, even though this site (SHL152) was in their assessment of Land Availability (SHLAA), it underestimated capacity (300 dwellings compared to the total now at 470), and wasn’t counted as a brownfield site as it was included in their “Adjacent to settlement boundaries” section.

If Hart Council are serious about a “brownfield first” strategy, surely they must now create a proper register of potential sites and properly assess the capacity and feasibility of delivering our residual requirement on brownfield only sites.

If you are worried about Hart’s hopeless position on the Local Plan and like our 5-point plan to bring it back on track and add to the pressure to Hart to adopt a brownfield strategy and drop all ideas of a new town, the please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

Please tell Hart Council how much you value our countryside

Hart District Council is running a consultation about the quantity and quality of open space provision within Hart District. This is a great opportunity for you to express your support for the countryside and open spaces within Hart and request that they are maintained as havens for exercise, quiet contemplation, for viewing wildlife – or whatever you use them for.

This has surely got to be better than handing over our countryside over to developers and filling them with concrete.

The survey can be found here and more details on Hart’s website here.

If you would like to join our campaign please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

We Heart Hart submits objection to Hop Garden Road development in Hook

We Heart Hart has submitted an objection to the Hop Garden Road (Owens Farm) development in Hook.

The full details of the submission can be found here:

Submission to oppose development of Hop Garden Road

The summary of the submission is presented below:

The purpose of this submission by the We Hart Campaign is to oppose the specific unnecessary development proposed at Hop Garden Road in Hook and demonstrate to other developers who may wish to put forward speculative proposals for the over-development of the district that they will face formidable opposition to their plans.  Hart District is facing a scale of development that is against the wishes of its residents and in contradiction to stated Government policy to place planning decisions in the hands of local people.

Let me remind you of the Prime Minister’s words in 2012, taken from this Telegraph article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/hands-off-our-land/9002655/Hands-Off-Our-Land-Housing-estates-will-not-be-plonked-next-to-villages-pledges-David-Cameron.html

He said: “I care deeply about our countryside and environment. Our vision is one where we give communities much more say, much more control. The fear people have in villages is the great big housing estate being plonked down from above.

“Our reforms will make it easier for communities to say ‘we are not going to have big plonking housing estate landing next to the village, but we would like 10, 20, 30 extra houses and we would like them built in this way, to be built for local people’.”

Mr Cameron, who was being interviewed in his Oxfordshire constituency, denied that the reforms would lead to large swathes of the countryside being built on.

He told BBC1’s Countryfile programme: “Here we are in west Oxfordshire one of the most beautiful parts of our country, set in some of England’s finest countryside. I would no more put that at risk than I would put at risk my own family.

“I care deeply about our countryside and environment. Our vision is one where we give communities much more say, much more control.”

We Hart object to this proposed development and any future speculative proposals on the grounds summarised below:

  • The SHMA and OAN are not objective and represent a “need” that is far too high.
  • Understated brownfield capacity means green field development is not necessary
  • This proposed development will not contribute towards meeting the needs of the changing demographics of the district
  • The proposed development will make the current infrastructure funding gap worse
  • Lack of consideration of the environment

You can help by going along to the appeal, to be held between Tuesday 12th May and Thursday 14th May, 10am to 5pm.  The first day starts at 10am and probably through to 5pm at Hart Council’s Civic Offices, Harlington Way, GU51 4AE, Fleet.  More details here.

link

Hart Council rules out register of brownfield sites

Vacant, derelict brownfield site in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant, derelict block in Hook, Hampshire

In a worrying development at the Hart Council meeting on Thursday 30th April, the leader of the council, Stephen Parker, ruled out creating a register of brownfield sites in the district, whilst at the same time insisting that the council supported a “brownfield first” strategy.

He said that the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) had identified only 750 dwellings as being “deliverable” within the time-scale of the Local Plan.

The council insisted that all sites in the Local Plan must be “deliverable”.  However, this is misleading as the term “deliverable” has a special meaning in planning terms and only applies to the first five years of the plan when it is submitted.  Beyond five years sites only have to be “developable”.

We have previously posted that there are loads of mistakes in the SHLAA that have the effect of reducing the apparent brownfield capacity and the density assumptions that Hart uses are far below what they themselves say would be achievable in urban areas.

If Hart were to include “developable” sites such as the vacant and derelict offices, Bramshill House, Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) and Sun Park as potential sites and increase the density assumptions then it is entirely possible that the whole of our remaining housing requirement could be met by brownfield development.

Surely any credible “brownfield first” strategy should include as its starting point a register of all the redundant brownfield sites in the district.

If you would like to join the campaign to get Hart to think again, then please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

NPPF Definition of Deliverable:

“to be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable”

NPPF Definition of Developable:

“to be considered developable, sites should be in a suitable location for housing development and there should be a reasonable prospect that the site is available and could be viably developed at the point envisaged”