Does Hart District need a new secondary school?

Time for Hart District Council to go back to school

Time for Hart District Council to go back to school

As part of the debate about the alleged ‘need’ for a new town at Winchfield, a number of councillors have stated that one of the benefits would be a new secondary school, even though the proposed location was between the M3 and the Mildmay Oaks hospital. But what is the evidence we actually need a new secondary school?

Well, it is patchy at best.  Hampshire County Council have only planned school places up to 2018.  This shows a  9% surplus of  secondary school places:

Secondary School Capacity in Hart District

Secondary School Capacity in Hart District

The same document also forecasts a fall in the birth rate across Hampshire (individual forecasts for Hart District are not available). This will reduce future pressure on secondary school places:

Hampshire Live Birth Forecast

Hampshire Live Birth Forecast

[Update]

Moreover, some 1,533 pupils out of the total 13,436 pupils being educated in Hart District schools come from outside the district. Whereas only 264 pupils (of which 103 are in special schools) from Hart are being educated outside of the district. These figures include 13.6% of Robert Mays and 5% of Calthorpe Park pupils coming from outside the district. Source is an FOI request made to Hampshire County Council.

[/Update]

In communication with Hampshire County Council, I have been told the following about the circumstances that would need to prevail to justify the expense of building an entirely new school:

Again there will be a number of factors to consider before deciding to build a new school to meet increased demand, these including:

  • being able to demonstrate that the existing school system (net capacity) is unable to reasonably cope with the increased number of children.
  • That the increased demand is sufficient to warrant a sustainable size school (1FE/210 places as a minimum is desirable) in primary and at secondary a school of 900 (180 per year group).
  • That where new housing is proposed a suitable size site is secured during the planning process

Moreover, Hart’s own infrastructure requirements list published in October 2014 did not call for a new school:

Hart District Draft Regulation 123 List October 2014

Hart District Draft Regulation 123 Infrastructure List October 2014

So, it is far from clear at all that we need a new secondary school.  Even if we did need more places, it is not clear that we would need enough to justify the provision of a new 900-place school.

If you would like to make your voice heard, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

How is Hart District infrastructure funded?

Construction Workers

How will we fund the infrastructure we need in Hart District, Hampshire

Infrastructure is a hot topic in the debate about Hart District’s Local Plan, and much misinformation has been distributed by a number of groups.  This post aims to set out who is responsible for funding the different types of infrastructure and which types of development attract contributions from developers.

Who is responsible for infrastructure

Hart District Council published a very helpful Infrastructure Delivery Schedule last October (which seems to have disappeared from their website, but we have saved a copy here) which helps answer the first of those questions.  The detailed table is shown below, but it shows that most of the responsibility for health, transport and education is the responsibility of external bodies.  Hart District Council is responsible for Leisure centres, Community and Cultural Facilities and Green Infrastructure.

What types of development attract developer contributions

The main point to note is that all housing developments, whether brownfield or green field attract developer funding of some sort (be that CIL or S106) with a number of exceptions.

The first exception is office conversions using permitted development rights which attract fewer S106 contributions.  We understand that developer contributions are still required for SANG and SAMM. But such conversions do attract Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions.  Hart has yet to implement a CIL policy, so we are exposed on this type of  development until it does.

However, office conversions will soon will soon have to provide “starter homes” at a 20% discount to market rate under plans being drawn up by the government.

However, proper redevelopment of vacant office sites do attract S106 contributions and we should be doing all we can to encourage developers to take on these sites to deliver proper schemes to make the best use of available land.

The second exception is so called “affordable” homes which also attract no developer contributions.  This is true whether these homes are built on brownfield or greenfield sites.  Hart’s policy is that 40% of new build should be “affordable”.  That means that a new town of 5,000 houses or an urban extension of 1,000 dwellings would only attract developer contributions on 3,000 or 600 of the dwellings respectively.

However, all “affordable” homes attract a higher “new homes bonus” from the Government upon completion, although that level of contribution is under threat from an ongoing consultation from the Government.

[Update]It is worth noting that currently all new homes delivered receive a new homes bonus from Government for a period of six years (potentially reducing to four years).[/Update]

If anyone thinks any of the above is wrong or inaccurate, please do get in touch and show me your sources and I will gladly make a correction.

Table of infrastructure providers and responsible bodies

INFRASTRUCTURE TYPE

MAIN PROVIDERS or RESPONSIBLE BODY

(1)  Built Leisure
Leisure Centres, Sports Centres,Gymnasiums Hart District Council (HDC); private sector providers
(2)  Community and Cultural Facilities
Multi-use Facilities, CommunityCentres, Village Halls HDC; Parish Councils
(3) Education
Pre-school Hampshire County Council (HCC); private sector providers
Primary school HCC; private sector providers
Secondary school HCC; private sector providers
Post-16 Individual Colleges
Further/Higher Education Individual Colleges & Universities
(4)  Emergency Services
Ambulance South East Coast Ambulance Service; South East Central Ambulance Service
Fire Hampshire Fire Brigade
Police Hampshire  Constabulary
(5)  Flood Defences
Planning for flood defences Hampshire County Council (HCC) has new statutory responsibility as Lead Local Flood Authority and Sustainable Drainage Authority; HDC; Environment Agency (EA); DEFRA
(6)  Green Infrastructure
Suitable Alternative NaturalGreenspace (SANG) HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Parks, Gardens, AmenityGreenspace HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Sports Pitches HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Countryside Access HCC
(7)  Public Health
Primary Care (Doctors, Dentistsetc) Primary Care Trust (PCT) (up to April 2013; replacement bodies thereafter); Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG); Individual Practices
Secondary Care (Hospitals) Frimley Park Hospital; Basingstoke and NorthHampshire Hospital
(8)  Transport
Strategic Highways Highways Agency
Local Highways HCC
Rail Services Network Rail; South West Trains; First GreatWestern
Bus Services Stagecoach; HCC
(9) Utilities
Water South East Water
Sewerage Thames Water
Broadband Private sector providers
Electricity National Grid; Southern Electric
Gas National Grid; Scotia Gas Networks (Southern Gas)
Waste HCC; HDC

 

 

 

More brownfield sites come available in Hart District

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

Brownfield site: vacant offices near Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

Bravehart has been on a tour again, taking photos of newly vacant commercial premises in Hart.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that we can meet our housing needs by regenerating these vacant sites.

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire. We Heart Hart. We Love Hart

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

 

Vacant offices at Murrell Green, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant offices at Murrell Green, Hart District, Hampshire

 

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Winkworth Business Park, Hart District, Hampshire.

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Winkworth Business Park, Hart District, Hampshire.

If you would like to make your voice heard, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Secret Winchfield New Town plan emerges

Winchfield Consortium Preferred Development Option

Winchfield Consortium Preferred Development Option

A secret Winchfield new town plan has emerged from Hart District Council.  The document was produced in February 2015 by the Winchfield Consortium who appear to be promoting land around Murrell Green (as Pearson Strategic) alongside the land promoted by Barratts in Winchfield to create the Hartley Winchook settlement.  The document, which is available for download below, contains a number of interesting points that appear to undermine the case for a new settlement at those sites:

First, the total capacity of the proposed ‘settlement’ is 4,883 units (which is somewhat below the minimum size of 5,000 units for new eco-towns) spread across four loosely connected development zones.  One would have to be quite generous to term this type of development a new ‘settlement’ as there is no defined centre, or heart.

Second, the infrastructure contribution looks to be very limited, with the document talking of the “majority of the infrastructure will be delivered through S106 agreement”, with the infrastructure being defined as a spine road, a primary school, the secondary school and the local centres. This appears to mean that the Winchfield Consortium/Barratts/Pearson Strategic will contribute only 50.1% of the cost of these specific elements.  It is notable that there is no mention of healthcare or sports facilities, no upgrades to the connecting road network and no upgrades to the railway station. And of course, these contributions will do nothing to address the infrastructure deficit in out existing settlements.

Third, it is clear that the Murrell Green sites, which are largely in Hook parish, are required to make the proposal work, and these sites are in the first phase of development (see pages 26-27), contrary to the expectations of the Hook community groups.

Fourth, this is now the third document (others here and here) we have seen that shows a proposed secondary school adjacent to the Mildmay Oaks hospital.

Compare Flood Risk to development sites

Comparison of development sites to flood risk areas

Finally, comparing Hart’s strategic site assessments to this document shows that much of the proposed development is in an area susceptible to varying degrees of groundwater flooding.  We have seen only this week the dangers of building close to flood zones.

Development site on a Flood Plain near Whalley, Lancashire

Development site on a Flood Plain near Whalley, Lancashire

The Winchfield Concept document can be found on the download below:

Winchfield Consortium Concept Paper

If these plans concern you, we have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

link

Letter to the Telegraph – conurbation from London to the south coast

Winchfield SHLAA Sites in Hart District Hampshire

Winchfield SHLAA Sites in Hart District Hampshire

It seems the Telegraph has picked up on the amount of houses we need to build in Hart, and has published a letter from a Mr Andrew Robinson of Hart District.  The letter and other similar letters from other parts of the country can be found here.

Mr Robinson’s letter reproduced below:

SIR – I see that Hart, in Hampshire, where I happen to live, has come top once again in an annual survey of the best place to live in Britain.

However, its reign will soon end, as the local council is about to plonk 7,500 houses – or more if we are forced to accept a proportion of neighbouring areas’ allocation – in the district over the next 15 years.

The council is simply carrying out the Government’s orders, which go against David Cameron’s pledges on localism and sustainable development.

We in Hart have had over 35 years of urbanisation without infrastructure, mostly imposed via sham public inquiries. Housing and population have grown by around 11 per cent every 10 years, with an additional increase of up to 37 per cent predicted by 2030, by which time Hart’s roads will be almost permanently gridlocked.

This is a small district and these housing impositions should be tailing off by now. Instead we have a Government committed to infinite expansion in a finite land mass. We are going to end up with a Conservative conurbation stretching from London to the south coast.

 

Well said Mr. Robinson.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

Season’s Greetings – remember a new town is for life, not just for Christmas

Winter in Winchfield The Hurst 2010

Winter in Winchfield The Hurst 2010

Season’s greetings to everyone, and a big thank you to all those who have supported the We Hart Campaign during 2015.  Can we ask everyone to respond to the consultation, and ask themselves whilst doing it, would you like to redevelop some of the derelict eyesores in the district or would you like to concrete over the green lung at the heart of Hart in Winchfield? Remember, a new town is for life, not just for Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Creative use of brownfield sites could yield up to 6,500 homes

Leeuwenveld, Amsterdam Netherlands - LEVS architects

Leeuwenveld, Amsterdam Netherlands – LEVS architects

Local architecture graduate, Gareth Price, has published an updated version of his work showing what could be done with brownfield sites in the district. His work shows that there could be capacity for 6,500 homes on brownfield land across the district.  These would include, for some sites, basement car-parks, ground floor commercial and upper floor residential, following a successful trend from the Continent.  This is in-line with what we have been suggesting for months and could create capacity for sufficient housing for decades to come.

The style of development he as put forward would mean that S106/CIL contributions would be required from developers.  It is likely that some of these homes could be affordable units that would generate a larger “new homes bonus” for the district from the Government.  Of course, this money could be used to improve infrastructure in existing settlements where we are facing a £78m funding deficit.  Schemes such as this are much more likely to meet our actual housing need of 60-70% 1 or 2-bed homes and over 2,000 specialist units for the elderly rather than building £750K detached houses in the country for Londoners who want to move here.  We understand the densities proposed are similar to some schemes already granted permission by Hart Council.

Whilst we welcome this work to demonstrate what could be done with a little creativity and ingenuity, we do not necessarily support the density put forward on each site by Gareth.  For instance, we do not believe that such high densities would be appropriate for the former Police College at Bramshill, even though we support the principle of some redevelopment of that site to prevent the Grade I listed building going to rack and ruin.

One has to ask why Hart Council has not taken up our 5-point plan that included inviting teams of architects to paint a vision of the art of the possible with our brownfield sites, as Gareth has shown it can be done. This certainly supports the case for a brownfield solution to our housing needs.

His full report can be downloaded from the link below:

A sustainable approach to brownfield development in Hart District

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

link

Which parishes have seen most development Hart District?

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

There has been much controversy about how much development there has been in Hart District over the past few years, so inspired by a post on the Winchfield Action Group site, we thought we’d take a closer look at the data.

We have compiled a list by parish and ward of the number of dwellings in each area in 2001 and 2011, according to the census and the results are shown in the table below:

ParishWard2001 Census (Dwellings)2011 Census (Dwellings)% Increase
Total34170373369.3
Blackwater & Hawley177218675.4
Bramshill9863-35.7
Church Crookham330933280.6
Crondall6887387.2
Crookham Village156316304.3
Dogmersfield1241283.2
Eversley5996508.5
Ewshot2292352.6
FleetCentral2235256514.8
FleetCourtmoor188819282.1
FleetNorth (inc Elvetham Heath)13602947116.7
FleetPondtail182018984.3
FleetWest185719786.5
Fleet Total91601131623.5
Greywell1041040
Hartley Wintney212622224.5
Heckfield137135-1.5
Hook2718311114.5
Mattingley2322382.6
Odiham & Long Sutton271228806.2
Rotherwick2052123.4
South Warnborough21326223
Winchfield2392587.9
Yateley79427959.2

It should be noted that the data only runs up to 2011 and so misses out most or all of certain developments such as QEB in Church Crookham, Dilly Lane and Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney, Edenbrook and the planned new developments at Hawley Park Farm, new development to the North East of Hook and at Watery Lane.

It does show that the area with the largest increase is what was known as Fleet North, which has now been split after incorporating Elvetham Heath.

It is not really for us to point fingers at different areas of the district.  We will let readers make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions from the data.

If anyone finds an error in any of the data, then please do get in touch and we will make any corrections that are needed.

[Update]

I was asked to provide updated data of the permissions and completions since 2011.  There is no easy way to get this data.  This is a copy of what I received:

The majority of the information (with details of location and parish) on housing completions and permissions for the next few years can be found in the following two published documents :

Appendix 2&3
http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/Hart%205%20yr%20supply%20statement%20at%201st%20October%202015.pdf

And http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/Final%20Dwelling%20Completion%20Figures%202014-15_for%20website.xlsx

It’s regrettable  that you only used figures from the superseded five year land supply (2001-2011) calculation in the Interim Housing Delivery Strategy which was superseded by the Five Year Land Supply Position Statement:
Five Year Housing Land Supply Position Statement, 1st October 2015
2014-15, and the Completions list from Hampshire County Council (1st April 2015) both of which were linked on the  council website “Current planning policy and guidance” referring to the local plan consultation, and also discussed at a council meeting.

I’m glad got said you’d incorporate the latest numbers, and look forward to seeing this. I believe you’ll find disproportionate housing allocation to the North and East of the region whilst minimal development in the centre, West or south.

I can confirm that I used neither of the Housing Land Supply documents to produce the table above.  As the original post says, the source for the above is the census.

The link to the pdf just gives a long list of sites in a form that it is impossible to analyse in any meaningful way, least of all by parish.  The spreadsheet contains a list of starts, completions and losses for 2014-2015, a summary of which by Parish is shown below.

Dwellings started completed and lost in Hart District 2014-15

[/Update]

The case for a brownfield solution to Hart’s housing needs

Which would you rather preserve - derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

Which would you rather preserve – derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

As you know, Hart Council has begun a new consultation asking us where we would prefer to build the remaining 2,500 houses we are being asked to build as part of the Local Plan. This has generated some lively debate with some councillors and community groups favouring a new town. Whilst We Hart has a lot of sympathy with the residents of Fleet and Church Crookham, who have suffered from some poor planning decisions over the past years, we aim to show why it would be wrong to consider a new town or urban extension now and make a bad situation even worse.

We have to deliver over 370 houses per year up to 2032.  If these were to be built on green field sites it would mean we would be concreting over the equivalent of 25 football pitches each and every year for 20 years.  This is simply not sustainable, and it is clear something needs to change.

Eminent architects such as Richard Rogers, academics such as Professor Dieter Helm and journalists such as Simon Jenkins have called for our green spaces to be protected and for more building on brownfield land.  The Government is also actively encouraging brownfield development.

The benefits are clear, in that less infrastructure investment is required to support this type of development, urban living makes better use of scarce resources, so is kinder to the environment and town and city dwellers use their cars less and so don’t cause as much congestion.

So, having established the general case for brownfield over green field development, what about the specifics of the proposals before us in Hart?

First, it can be done. We have gone through Hart Council’s data and shown that there are sufficient sites to meet our remaining needs on brownfield site alone, and if we can bring Pyestock into play and Hart are successful in their quest to find even more sites, we will have a surplus of brownfield sites.

Supporters of a new town point to the supposed infrastructure benefits, but we believe this argument is flawed.  There is no doubt that there is a need for more infrastructure investment in our existing towns and villages, as is shown by the current £78m funding deficit.  Even Hart Council acknowledge that new schools would cost £80-100m, but then when you add up the costs of new and improved roads, roundabouts, bridges, sewage works, and railway station, it is clear that a new town will require over £300m of infrastructure spending before you even get to providing new sports and community facilities. But a reasonable expectation of developer contributions is only around £50m.  So, it is clear that a new town, or indeed an urban extension, could not get the infrastructure it needs and more importantly, would not do anything to address the problems in our existing communities .

By contrast, properly designed brownfield redevelopments (not office conversions) would generate developer contributions for local communities and if Hart Council followed Ranil Jayawardena’s advice, they could use compulsory purchase powers to buy up some of these sites and use the profits from development to fund even more local infrastructure.

When you look at travel to work patterns of Hart residents, it is clear that many people work in Fleet, Surrey Heath, Rushmoor and Waverley.  So, residents of a new town will need to travel through Fleet, Church Crookham and Hartley Wintney adding to congestion.  Other workers will travel through Hook to get to work in places like Basingstoke.  Dispersal throughout the district will ease the congestion problem, and brownfield development to the east of Fleet will place workers closer to their jobs and offer greener transport alternatives.

Our housing needs assessment calls for 60-70% of new build properties to be 1 or 2-bedroomed and also calls for over 2,000 units of specialist accommodation for the elderly to be built up to 2031.  A new town or urban extension is likely to continue to build predominantly larger properties at prices of over £500,000 which will no doubt be attractive to those who want to move from London, but will be out of reach of middle income households in Hart and so do nothing for local people.  Well planned development of smaller properties on brownfield sites will do more to help our young people to get on the housing ladder and help older people when they want to down-size to free up their larger properties for growing families.

Of course planning for a new town or urban extension would also open us up to building 3,000 houses for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath.  Whereas a vision and strategy to protect our green lungs in the heart of Hart would offer us some protection.

We also have to challenge the viability of the new town and urban extension plans.  The new town would coalesce our villages into a massive urban sprawl that would effectively become Hartley Winchook.  The proposed urban extensions would add further unwelcome development outside existing settlement boundaries. The professionals who have looked at the new town proposal have said “it would be challenging to plan a compact nuclear settlement on this site”, and of course there are other significant constraints such as lack of mains gas or sewage, flood risk and environmental damage.  All of the new town and urban extension sites have been classed as “not currently developable” by Hart Council.

It is time to make a break from the past mistakes and change to a more sustainable strategy, with a planning horizon of 50 years ahead and realise that more and more housing estates in the countryside are simply not sustainable.  We need to go for dispersal of our housing needs on brownfield sites across the district to build more affordable homes for our young people, create better specialist accommodation for the elderly and generate much needed infrastructure funding for local communities.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

Daily Telegraph picks up on Winchfield new town controversy

Dogmersfield in Hart District, Hampshire

Dogmersfield in Hart District, Hampshire

We are delighted to note that the Daily Telegraph has picked up on the controversy surrounding Hart District Council’s plans for a new town in Winchfield. The image from the hard-copy version can be found here.  Key quotes:

A row over plans to build a new town on a green and pleasant corner of Hampshire has threatened the status of Hart as Britain’s most pleasant place to live…

Opponents say the plans for as many as 5,000 homes – including hundreds of affordable units – and two new schools on a green field site near the village of Winchfield, threaten the very qualities that until now have made the area so desirable.

Local groups have described the plan, contained in Hart council’s Corporate Plan for 2016-18, as “hopeless”….

“We are confident that a proper public consultation… would result in a different housing strategy which would concentrate on brownfield development for the benefit of us all.”

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes