Hart is the solution
To ensure that the Council is doing what it can to maximise the effectiveness of the duty to cooperate the Council must approach Hart Council to make sure that it provides land to meet the shortfall arising in Rushmoor. We note in paragraph 4.6 of Topic Paper 2: Housing Delivery that the Council asserts that the duty is not a duty to agree. This suggests a lack of zeal on the part of the Council to ensure that the unmet housing need of Rushmoor is addressed. Even if Hart and Surrey Heath are unable to provide land the three HMA authorities should engage with authorities elsewhere to persuade them to provide land to accommodate the shortfall.
It then goes on to make the silly suggestion that Hart to review its Green Belt, when in fact Hart doesn’t have any Green Belt land.
Reviewing the Green Belt in Hart
The Council must work with Hart to remove land from the Green Belt if this is what is necessary to accommodate the housing shortfall.
The HBF then call on Rushmoor to increase their housing allocation by an arbitrary 10% because the HBF believe more affordable housing should be built.
We consider that a 10% adjustment upwards should be made to the baseline demographic need.
They do not seem to consider the option of house-builders reducing their prices, nor do they mention that part of the reason house prices are so high is because interest rates have remained at 0.5% for around 6 years.
Amazingly, the HBF make no mention at all of brownfield land in their submission, despite Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 Ha of land even though there will be a surplus of around 195 Ha of employment land across the Housing Market Area at the end of the plan period.
It is simply unacceptable for an unelected industry body to seek to override the wishes of local people by asking Hart to concrete over green fields, whilst at the same time ignoring the vast opportunity presented by brownfield sites.
If you would like to make your own submission to then please download the pre-prepared feedback forms below, fill in your details and send them off to firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation closes on 20 July 2015.