As you may know, Hart District Council has embarked on a new consultation about the Hart Local Plan. One of the approaches put forward is for a “new settlement at Winchfield”. However, this is misleading because a number of the sites that form part of the proposal are in the Hook and Hartley Wintney parishes. This new town proposal is really a plan to create a single conurbation of Hartley Winchook that will damage the distinct identity if each of the existing settlements.
Moreover, there are also sites in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment that further encroach on the parishes of Hartley Wintney and Hook.
Let’s take a look at Hartley Wintney parish first:
As can be seen, many of the proposed new town sites adjoin the Hartley Wintney parish boundary and site SHL 124 actually adjoins what will become phase 2 of the St Mary’s Park Dilly Lane development. Moreover, the pink rectangle that is bisected by the Hart Parish boundary where it adjoins Fleet and Elvetham Heath is the site of a proposed urban extension to the Elvetham Heath community.
Now, let’s take a look at Hook:
As you can see, sites 126, 136 and 169 already make up part of the proposed new town and they are in the Hook Parish and 1,458 houses are proposed. More than half of SHL167 is also in Hook Parish, delivering a further 400 houses to Hook, giving a total of around 1,850 dwellings. These are very close to sites 1&2 where Hart Council has already resolved to grant planning permission and to sites SHL 3 & 4, which so far have been rejected, but the capacity is between 1,000 and 2,800 houses. It is surely only a matter of time before voracious developers start to lobby for sites 3 and 4 to be included in the package to make the whole thing “more sustainable”, as if concreting over our green fields is in any way sustainable.
The only way to combat this urbanisation of our countryside is to vote for Approach 1, dispersal in the current consultation about the Hart Local Plan, and make comments saying you want Hart Council to find again the brownfield sites they said were “readily quantifiable”.
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.
2 Minute version: