In an astonishing admission, Hart Council have said that they do not track planning applications for brownfield site developments separately to green field developments. This comes on top of their insistence that they do not need to build a register of brownfield sites in the district and their inadequate classification of sites in the SHLAA.
Taken together, these make a mockery of the council’s supposed commitment to a ‘brownfield first’ strategy.
The admission came in answers to questions put to the council by Winchfield Action Group at the council meeting last week on 24 September. The full Q&A can be found here. The brownfield topic is quoted below in full (my emphasis added):
How many units have been applied for or granted or identified, and their locations and categories, as possible conversions or developments on brownfield sites since October 2014?
With regards solely to conversions allowed through permitted development rights:
At 14th September 2015, there were 258 dwellings approved through the permitted development/prior approval notice procedure the bulk of which are conversions from offices to residential. 5 units were completed in the year 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015. This information is published on Hart’s website.
These figures exclude brownfield sites that require planning permission, because those are not currently split between greenfield and brownfield developments. We do need to be mindful that as yet the PDR regime closes next May, and it is now way too late for a developer complete any such conversion if not already started. You will however note the brownfield provisions on today’s council agenda, which we will be discussion later this evening.
You will note that the question was not properly answered. It was designed to get the council to confirm the figures we have put together regarding the available capacity on brownfield sites.
However, in better news, it emerged that there are only 2,900 dwellings left to grant permission for up to 2032. This almost certainly means that there is now more brownfield capacity than the remaining housing target in the Hart Local Plan.
Of the 7534 housing target set out in the SHMA, what is the residual requirement left that need to be granted planning permission?
At 14th September 2015 the residual requirement to 2032 was approximately 2,900 dwellings needed to meet Hart’s housing needs as identified in the December 2014 SHMA, although we will be required to refresh this document before we go to Examination. However I should point out that this figure does not allow for any unmet need arising in Rushmoor and Surrey Heath that we may have to meet under the provisions of the Duty to Cooperate. Rushmoor currently say they have a 1,600 dwelling shortfall although as I have said previously, Hart has challenged that figure
It is clear that we don’t need a new town in Winchfield, Hampshire or anywhere else.