Ranil emphasises the need for infrastructure alongside housing

Ranil Jayawardena at a brownfield site

Ranil Jayawardena at a brownfield site in Hampshire

Local MP, Ranil Jayawardena has published a new article re-stating his preference for brownfield regeneration and emphasising the need for proper infrastructure to be delivered alongside housing and calling on local councils to take a more active approach.

This is the key passage from his article:

This is an important point. It is clear to me that infrastructure improvements are an absolute necessity for any development – and Government has a role in this part of the equation.

Whether brownfield or greenfield, infrastructure is critical to ensure that these developments not only provides homes for our friends and children, but are taken as opportunities to improve the way of life for existing residents. Whether brownfield or greenfield, development should not come before infrastructure.

I welcome the Hampshire Combined Authority proposal, specifically a ten-year Transport Investment Fund to be used to significantly improve our roads and public transport. This is a good start, but to plan our future, we must consider the past. We should be thinking about the existing infrastructure deficit also and how this can now be mitigated, so that existing residents end up with a better deal.

It is only right that infrastructure is delivered alongside any new development, rather than leaving communities hoping for improvements in the future, when our roads are already jammed and our trains are already crammed.

Ranil also calls on Local Authorities to take a more active role in developing their areas, by actively considering Compulsory Purchase Orders and using development profits to fund additional infrastructure:

There is another way to fund infrastructure, of course. If regeneration is led by local government, through its ownership of the land (whether by private treaty or CPO), the profit that local government makes from the redevelopment can be invested in infrastructure or for the benefit of taxpayers. This is particularly important with brownfield sites, since sites may not be viable – after taking into account a developer’s profit – if they are also required to pay CIL/s106 at the normal level and it would not be good to see large-scale brownfield regeneration without any infrastructure improvements.

Through this vision of active local government, brownfield regeneration genuinely benefits local people, rather than shareholders of a developer, through improved infrastructure and lower Council Tax.

I should probably say that I accept, often, brownfield sites are not in common ownership and, even if they are, the landowner doesn’t wish to develop them. To my mind, however, that is not a reason for brownfield to be put in the ‘too difficult’ pile. Rather, I believe local government has a role to outline how it wishes to comprehensively improve the existing built environment, through purchasing and redeveloping land if not already in its ownership

We wholeheartedly welcome Ranil’s new intervention and we can only hope that Hart District Council are listening. We urge you to sign Ranil’s petition using the button below.

 

Sign Ranil's Petition

 

 

Community Campaign in bitter clash with We Heart Hart

Community Groups in bitter clash over homes Fleet News and Mail 20151028

Community Groups in bitter clash over homes in Hart District, Hampshire

Fleet News and Mail has covered our story where we challenged Community Campaign Hart’s (CCH) plan to decimate the heart of Hart.

Hart District Council takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign takes aim at the Heart of Hart

To remind readers, we took CCH to task over their assertions that there was no sustainable alternative to building a new town at Winchfield and their claims about infrastructure and traffic.  In particular, we dispute CCH’s claim that there isn’t enough brownfield capacity, an area where we are backed up by the views of our Local MP, Ranil Jayawardena.

We are delighted that Fleet News and Mail has brought these arguments to a wider audience.  Let’s see how the general public react to the forthcoming Housing Options paper.

A large image of the Fleet News and Mail article can be found here.

This story was also covered in Get Hampshire on November 3 2015: Community Groups in bitter clash over Winchfield homes plan

Community Campaign Hart takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Hart District Council takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign Hart takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) have published a new newsletter on their website that calls for a new settlement to destroy the Heart of Hart in Winchfield.

In their article they make criticism of We Heart Hart and the good residents of Winchfield, and come to the conclusion that the only viable option for delivering the housing we need is a new settlement of 3,000-5,000 houses in Winchfield.  In their article they make a number of assertions that we believe are false, and will now seek to correct them, point by point.  But first, it is important that we start with the areas where we agree with CCH.

Points of Agreement

CCH say:

Until Hart have an LDP which meets the approval of a Government-appointed inspector, developers are in effect able to build on almost any greenfield site they choose

We broadly agree with this, although as in the case of Hop Garden Road in Hook, sometimes common sense can prevail especially now that Hart has more than 5 years of land supply.  However, if CCH are so concerned about the lack of a Local Plan, they should work more closely with We Heart Hart and others to ensure that Hart Council takes proper steps to improve the management of the Local Plan project that has slipped its timescale by two years within two years.  They would do better to use their time at council meetings to ask questions about the local plan rather than seek to stifle difficult questions.

Points of Difference

1. CCH say:

There just isn’t enough brownfield land available to accommodate that number of new homes, unless we are going to build high-rise tenement blocks along the length of Fleet Road.

This is simply not true on a number of levels.  First, the council hasn’t even created a proper register of brownfield sites so it hasn’t properly assessed capacity.  Second, our own work has shown there’s capacity for between 2,438 and 3,688 units, compared to the remaining unsatisfied “need” of 2,900 given at the last cabinet.

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices on Fleet Road in Fleet, Hampshire

Third, parts of Fleet Road are a disgrace to the district and should be redeveloped, not with tenements, but with mid-rise (say 3-4 storey) high quality apartments to help young people get on the housing ladder.  Finally, there is brownfield capacity all over the district including Ancell’s Farm, Bartley Wood, Pyestock, Bramshill and Guillemont Park.  They really should get out more and see all of the vacant offices around the district.

2. CCH say:

With a mainline railway station far closer to it than to any other new development in Fleet; with the option to integrate new roads onto the A30 and through to the M3; together with sufficient scale to fund three new primary schools and a new secondary school, Winchfield strikes many as being the best compromise

This is economic incompetence of the highest order.  The council’s own assessment of infrastructure needs points to costs of over £300m for a new town including the schools, but not including improvements to healthcare.  The ballpark estimate for developer contributions made by a senior Hart Councillor is around £40m.  There’s already a £78m infrastructure funding deficit in the district and £1.9bn across Hampshire.  Not only would a new town at Winchfield destroy green fields, it would destroy ancient hedgerows and put at risk SSSI’s and SINCs, but it would no doubt further increase congestion in Fleet and Church Crookham.

3, CCH say:

Consequently they have resorted to social media and other marketing techniques to promote the ‘wehearthart’ message.

However, their messaging is incomplete. They point to the council wishing to build a new town at Winchfield and seek to demonize anyone who may have reached the conclusion, however reluctantly, that a new town at Winchfield is the least worst solution out of an abhorrent set of options. They do not explain what the alternatives are, as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) mandates that this level of housing must go somewhere within Hart’s borders

We do not see what is wrong with communicating with the public using social media on the serious issue of the Local Plan, particularly when the council gets its own facts wrong.  However, We Heart Hart has explained what the alternatives are at some length, and the CCH Chairman of the council sought to have questions that we raised to indicate a different path censored at council meetings.  The alternatives are:

a) Reduce the alleged housing need by challenging the SHMA, particularly taking into account the latest DCLG population forecasts that indicate a lower population in 2031 than assumed in the SHMA and the reducing ridiculous jobs forecasts.  CCH would do well to engage with this debate instead of seeking to censor it.

b) Explore the options for reducing the assessed housing need by exploring so called “policy on” options to protect the environment and ecology.  Note that Winchfield is beautiful countryside in its own right, but is also within the 5km zone of influence of the Thames Valley Heath SPA.

c) Properly get to grips with brownfield options by establishing a brownfield register, actively encouraging landlords to redevelop their derelict sites and exploring the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders on sites that have sat vacant for years with no apparent signs of progress (e.g. Hartland Park aka Pyestock).

Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

Brownfield site: Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

CCH need to wake up, smell the coffee, listen to Ranil Jaywardena and use their talents to establish a different vision to protect the countryside they profess to love rather than coming out with incomplete, inaccurate nonsense.  Be careful who you vote for in next year’s local elections.

This story now covered in the local press, see here.

Questions for Hart Council meeting on 29 October 2015

Hart District Council Offices

Hart District Council Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Hart District Council meets again on 29 October at 7pm.  We have been busy preparing some questions for them on brownfield capacity; the impact of the new Government announcements about brownfield sites; Ranil’s statement about protecting our green fields; when they might use Compulsory Purchase Orders to acquire vacant sites; the inaccurate assumptions in the SHMA and the slippage in the timetable for the Hart Local Plan.

The questions can be downloaded from the button, and are re-produced below:

Questions to Hart Council on 29 October 2015

To Daryl Phillips

  1. Please provide an analysis, including SHLAA ref, site name and description, site area in hectares, and expected yield, of the sites that have been used to build up the estimate provided at cabinet on 1 October 2015, when you asserted that the ‘guesstimated’ capacity for brownfield development in the district up to 2031 was now 1,800 dwellings (up from the 750 dwelling estimate of a year ago and compared to the 2,438 units estimated by WeHeartHart).
  1. How will the recent Government announcement extending permitted development rights indefinitely and allowing automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites impact your assessment of brownfield capacity?

To Stephen Parker

  1. Do you agree with our local MP who says: “I believe unused and redundant commercial buildings should be brought forward for regeneration before any more greenfield sites are allocated anywhere in NE Hampshire. That includes Grove Farm, Hop Garden, Winchfield, the Urnfield…I’m against these developments – indeed, this sort of large-scale top-down volume-led development generally – as I do not believe they are necessary to deliver the housing we need in our area. Looking at Hart District specifically for a moment, as the largest part of the constituency, I believe that the local housing demand can be met on brownfield sites”?
  1. What criteria would you use and how long would a brownfield site need to be vacant, with no sign of redevelopment before the council would consider using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to ensure that we can build modern apartments for young professionals who can’t otherwise buy a home in our area?
  1. How many sites would meet those criteria and how many dwellings might they yield?
  1. Given that the baseline estimate of the number of households in Hart in 2011 and 2031 used in the SHMA was 35,760 and 42,220 respectively, but the new DCLG 2012-based household projections (Table 406) for 2031 show that Hart will have only 40,618 households, a reduction of 1,602, can you confirm that these revised figures will lead to a corresponding reduction in Hart’s assessed housing need?
  1. When will the 6,560 excess housing requirement for the whole HMA be removed from the assessed need in the SHMA given that the new DCLG 2012-based population projections (Table 426) show a population projection of only 289K for the HMA for 2031, compared to the SHMA (Appendix F, Figure 2)
Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

starting assumption of 307K and the final population estimate of 322K used to determine housing need?

  1. What justification is there for assuming the significant social changes implied in the SHMA given that the SHMA increases the number of houses that need to be built based in part on very ambitious jobs forecasts which when combined with the population projections in the SHMA results in a massive increase in the proportion of people of working age who will be in employment (see table below)?

 

Data Point2011 (Census)2011 (BRES)2031 (PROJ 2)2031 (PROJ 5)
SHMA Population (a) 272,394 272,394 307,578 322,278
People in employment (b) 122,300 125,000 162,233 170,223
Overall % in employment (b/a)44.9%45.9%52.7%52.8%
People over 70 (c) 28,559 28,559 51,164 51,164
People 5-19 (d) 67,375 67,375 73,206 73,206
People of working age (a-c-d)=e 176,460 176,460 183,208 197,908
% working age in employment (b/e)69.3%70.8%88.6%86.0%

 

  1. What steps will be taken to adjust the jobs forecasts in the SHMA given that, a) the revised BRES job numbers for 2013 show that the compound annual growth rate in jobs we have achieved since the recession ended in 2009 is ~0.5% which is much lower than the ~0.8% growth rate assumed in the SHMA for the period 2011-2031, b) this comes at a time when the UK is creating more jobs than the rest of the EU put together and c) it is inevitable we will experience at least one more recession during the plan period?
Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

  1. What steps are being taken to accelerate the delivery of the Local Plan given that the recent Government announcement indicated that Local Plans need to be brought into force by 2017 and the current LDS shows the Local Plan being adopted in Summer 2017 and other DPD’s in Autumn 2018 and the track record of past slippage?

Housing allocation for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should reduce by 6,560 according to new DCLG figures

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

The housing allocation for the combined Housing Market Area (HMA) of Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should be reduced by by 27.7% or 6,560 houses, taking away the risk that Rushmoor and Surrey Heath will ask Hart to build 3,000 houses for them and ensuring Hart’s own requirement can be built on brownfield sites only according to new population projections that have been released by the DCLG.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

Figure 1: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F

The SHMA worked by taking as a starting point earlier Government figures that showed the combined population of the HMA would be 307K (PROJ 2 circled in Figure 1 above) and this was inflated by increasing the assumptions on inward migration, average household size and jobs growth to arrive at a final figure of 322K (PROJ 5 circled in Figure 1 above).

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 1

Figure 2: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Interestingly, revised population forecasts were published by the Government as the SHMA was being finalised that showed that the start point population forecast should be reduced to 295K (circled in Figure 2 above), but amazingly these changes were not used to reduce the assessed housing need.  If they had been used, the total amount of housing that would be required for the HMA would have reduced by 208 per annum (see Figure 3 below), or a total of 4,160 dwellings out of a total objectively assessed housing need (OAHN) of 23,600.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 2

Figure 3: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Now the latest DCLG figures (Table 426) have reduced the population forecast for 2031 for the whole HMA down to only 289K, a reduction of 6,000 people, which equates to a reduction of a further ~2,400 houses (@2.5 people per property).

Taken together these reductions in population forecasts would reduce the whole housing need for the HMA by 6,560 houses of the 23,600 or a reduction of a stunning 27.7%.

We wonder when Hart Council, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath councils will take these new figures into account in the Local Plan.

 

Government makes brownfield development easier but steps up pressure on Local Plans

10 Downing Street

Number 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister has made an important announcement today about brownfield development and added to the pressure on Councils to produce Local Plans by 2017.

First, on brownfield development, the Government has made two announcements:

  • Automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites – to build as many homes as possible while protecting the green belt
  • the PM also announced that a temporary rule introduced in May 2013 allowing people to convert disused offices into homes without applying for planning permission will be made a permanent change – after almost 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 to June this year

These are important developments as they make it easier to make use of the massive surplus of brownfield land in the district so we can maximise brownfield capacity and have no need to build a new town at Winchfield or anywhere else.

Second, the Government has increased the pressure on councils to get Local Plans in place by 2017, saying:

Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them….Following today’s announcement, if councils fail to produce and bring into force an up to date plan for new homes by 2017, we will work with local people to ensure one is drawn up. Ministers will shortly be bringing forward further details of how best to intervene when councils have failed to get started on their plans

This potentially puts Hart District Council (and potentially other Hampshire districts) on a collision course with Government, because it has repeatedly failed to hit its own deadlines for the Local Plan and its latest Development Schedule shows the main Local Plan not being adopted until Summer 2017, with other development plan documents not due to be adopted until Autumn 2018.

We wonder when Government Inspectors will be knocking on the door of local people asking what they want from a Local Plan?

Hart household projections fall according to new figures from DCLG

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Do we want to lose our cows to concrete?

In a piece of good news, revised population projections published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that Hart will have fewer households in 2031 than were assumed in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).  This should have the effect of reducing the housing requirement being imposed on Hart District as part of the Local Plan.  This might reduce the remaining 2,900 houses left to grant permission for and make it more likely we can meet all of the remaining need from brownfield sites.

 

Local Authority2011 householdsSHMA start point for 2031 using 2011-based population projectionNew projection for 2031 using 2012-based population projectionChange between 2011-based and 2012-based projectionsSHMA end-point for 2031
Hart357574222040618-160243291
Rushmoor365594083042362153246381
Surrey Heath33632381703832115140689
Total10594812122012130181130361

 

However in other news, the same new figures for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath show higher projections for households up to 2031 than were assumed in the SHMA.  This might increase the housing requirement for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor and they may ask that Hart builds those houses for them.

What is clear is that the SHMA then makes several dubious adjustments to the baseline DCLG projections that add a further 9,000 or so houses to the total for the housing market area that need to be challenged.

The DCLG figures can be found here and here.  The SHMA can be found here.

If SHMA adjustments were applied nationally we would be building too many houses

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA adjustments applied at national level

Figure 1: Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA adjustments applied at national level

Evidence presented at the examination of the Vale of the White Horse Local Plan has demonstrated that if the adjustments made to the baseline DCLG housing projections were applied on a national basis, they would increase the national output of housing to double the DCLG estimate of what is needed and triple the recent output of housing.

Applying a similar approach to the Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA shows that on a national basis, we would be delivering 54% more housing than we need on a national basis, see Figure 1 above.  Surely it cannot be right that we are being asked to build at a rate that would lead to a surplus of housing.

England housing delivery actuals and projected 1946-2031

Figure 2: England housing delivery actuals and projected 1946-2031

The baseline DCLG projections for the combination of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor call for 790 houses per annum (SHMA Figure 7.3).  This equates to the DCLG projection of 220,000 houses per annum nationally (see figure 2 above).  This compares to recent performance of around 150,000 houses per annum.

The final SHMA, after taking into account past under-delivery, amount to a total of 24,413 houses (see table below), or an increase of 54.6% over the DCLG baseline figures.  The duty to cooperate might mean that Hart District has to build more houses than either Surrey Heath or Rushmoor as part of our Local Plan.

 Hart DistrictSurrey Heath BoroughRushmoor BoroughTotal Housing Market Area
Original SHMA7,5347,0579,82224,413
Proposed Transfers3,022(1,400)(1,622)0
New Total10,5565,6578,20024,413

If the same 54.6% uplift were applied to the DCLG projection, we would be building over 340,000 houses per annum nationally, more than double recent performance.

In recent years Hart has built more houses than it has been required to do and built at a rate above regional and national averages (SHMA Table 5.11).  It is beginning to look like the total of the local SHMAs are much larger than the overall requirement as defined by the DCLG. Surely it cannot be right that we are being asked to build at rate more than 50% higher than the DCLG suggests we need to meet overall demand.

Latest jobs growth figures well short of SHMA estimates

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

The Government have released the revised BRES job numbers for 2013 and these show that the jobs growth rate we have achieved since the recession ended in 2009 is still much lower than the jobs growth rate assumed in the SHMA for the period 2011-2031, during which period it is inevitable we will experience at least one more recession.  This comes at a time when the UK is creating more jobs than the rest of the EU put together, so can hardly be described as a normal set of circumstances.

The flawed jobs growth rate in the SHMA adds 5,100 extra houses to to the overall housing allocation to the combined Housing Market Area of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  The impact of this is that it pushes up Hart’s own allocation and forces Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to ask Hart to become a sink for 3,000 extra houses for them. Furthermore, these jobs forecasts lead to over-estimates of the amount of employment land we need and so constrains the amount of land that might be made available for housing.

Hart becomes Housing Sink for Surrey Heath and Rushmor

Hart becomes sink for 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

If these errors in the SHMA growth rate were corrected the threat from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor would evaporate and Hart’s own housing allocation for the Local Plan would come down from 7,534 to around 6,750, which would definitely mean the remaining requirement could be made from brownfield sites alone.

How long before the penny drops with Hart District Council and the other Hampshire boroughs that they need to revise the SHMA to a more realistic number?

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

Ranil Jayawardena says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

In a very welcome move, local MP for Hampshire North East, Ranil Jayawardena has come down strongly against proposed large scale green field developments such as Winchfield New Town, and asked Hart Council to produce a register of brownfield sites and be more active in using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) on brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.

In a week where Conservative MP’s have been spat at on the streets of Manchester, I think the only risk to Ranil after publishing his article is that he will be showered with kisses from his local constituents.

In response to questions from his constituents, Ranil has set out his views on planning and development.  Ranil has also set up a petition  saying brownfield development must be more strongly prioritised by Local Planning Authorities and Neighbourhood Plans must continue to be respected, both in the absence of Local Plans and by Local Planning Authorities when devising Local Plans.

Sign Ranil's Petition

The key passage from Ranil’s article is re-produced below:

I believe unused and redundant commercial buildings should be brought forward for regeneration before any more greenfield sites are allocated anywhere in North East Hampshire. That includes Grove Farm, Hop Garden, Winchfield, the Urnfield – and any other greenfield site for that matter – unless a locally-led Neighbourhood Plan wants to build homes to meet local needs.

I’ll go further. I’m against these developments – indeed, this sort of large-scale top-down volume-led development generally – as I do not believe they are necessary to deliver the housing we need in our area. Looking at Hart District specifically for a moment, as the largest part of the constituency, I believe that the local housing demand can be met on brownfield sites. This has the massive advantage of, often, improving an area; instead of vacant office buildings on Fleet Road, for instance, why not have modern apartments for young professionals who can’t otherwise buy a home in our area?

In July 2015, the Chancellor set out in the budget that, to reinforce our commitment to making best use of brownfield land, legislation will grant permission in principle for housing on suitable sites identified in the new statutory brownfield register. (Interested folk might recall that Hart District Council was previously asked to create a register, but chose not to. There will now be one.) Brownfield redevelopment will also be supported by strengthened advice for authorities on the release of land earmarked for employment purposes where it is no longer needed. Whatever your politics, I hope you’d agree that the Government – while still protecting the rights of local Councils to determine the future of their own area – is being clearer than ever that brownfield land must be prioritised.

I’d even suggest, perhaps unusually for a Conservative, that Councils should be more active in their use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) where brownfield sites exist and it is clear that it would be a good site for housing, but the landowner is standing in the way of development, or the site as a whole is currently in multiple ownership. Not only would this deliver properly thought through regeneration, maximising the potential of brownfield land but, done right, it would also be good for local taxpayers, as the receipts from such a scheme on the eventual sale or rental of properties would help to keep Council Tax low in future…

Of course, the National Planning Policy Framework has always made clear that “planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land)” and that local Councils “may continue to consider the case for setting a locally appropriate target for the use of brownfield land”. I’ve spoken with Government Ministers and others about this policy, which applies across the country. I was pleased that the Prime Minister included a £1billion ‘brownfield regeneration fund’ in the Conservative Party manifesto, which will help make more brownfield regeneration happen, while now requiring Councils to bring forward 90% of suitable brownfield sites for housing by 2020, both of which will help protect our countryside.

Needless to say, We Heart Hart is delighted by Ranil’s article as it reiterates many of the points we have been making for some time about brownfield capacity and the need to establish a proper database of brownfield sites as part of a different approach to the local plan.

It remains to be seen whether Hart District Council’s Conservative administration will heed the advice of its local Conservative MP and the express wishes of the Conservative Government when preparing the forthcoming coming consultation paper on housing options for the Local Plan.

Of course, Ranil’s intervention also increases the pressure on Rushmoor Borough Council who are needlessly protecting 96 hectares of brownfield land when there is a massive surplus of employment land whilst at the same time asking Hart to build 1,600 houses for them.