Impact of a new town on Fleet and Church Crookham

Fleet and Church Crookham

Impact of new town on Fleet and Church Crookham

I have a great deal of sympathy for residents of Fleet and Church Crookham who have suffered a great deal of development in recent years with insufficient investment in infrastructure.  However, a new town in Winchfield, Hook and Hartley Wintney parishes is not the panacea for Fleet residents that that many of the Hart Councillors would have you believe.
There will be negative impacts in 4 main ways:

  • Starvation of infrastructure funding
  • Extra traffic and congestion
  • Lack of affordable homes
  • Destruction of amenity space

Infrastructure Funding

Hart Council currently has a £78m infrastructure funding deficit, much of it in Fleet, Church Crookham and Hook. This does not include healthcare where there is a forecast £47m funding deficit in five years time.  A new town will need about £300m of infrastructure spending to make it work, but a realistic assessment of developer contributions is £40-50m.  This leaves a further gap of ~£250m.  There are already complaints about long waiting lists at doctors and lack of other amenities.  It is clear that a new town will be under-funded with consequent impact on other parts of Hart District, where there will be no spare money to address the deficit that already exists in all areas of Hart including Fleet and Church Crookham.

 

Congestion

Where Hart Residents Work

Where Hart Residents Work, SHMA Figure 13

Let’s have a look at where Hart residents work, using the evidence of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

A bit less than half of them work in Hart – 45%. So of the 12,500 new people in a new town, 45% of those of working age will work in Hart. The biggest employment centres are in Fleet and Hook. So a significant proportion of the new town workers will go to work in Fleet. They are not all going to work in a new supermarket in the new town.

A significant proportion will also work in Rushmoor (Farnborough and Aldershot), Surrey Heath (Camberley) and Waverley (Farnham) – some 18% in total.

The most obvious travel to work route for many of these people will be along Pale Lane, through Elvetham Heath/Fleet or along Chatter Alley, through Dogmersfield, Crookham Village and Church Crookham.  But these roads are narrow and a difficult to upgrade due to bridge constraints, so maybe a new road out of the new town on to Hitches Lane will be required.

A big portion – 6.2%, will use the train to go up to London from a station that is already full, on a line that is operating at or above design capacity.

Another group will go to Hook directly, or through Hook and/or Hartley Wintney to get to Reading or Bracknell adding to existing peak time congestion on the A30.

Pretending a new town will have no impact on congestion in Fleet and the Crookhams is plainly wrong.

Surely much better and more sustainable to direct housing development to the east of Fleet at Ancells Farm, Bramshott Farm and Pyestock (some of them brownfield sites) with a cycle route to Fleet station and a cycle route to the Cody Tech centre or the Farnborough airport complex.

Affordable Housing

 

Vacant Office Admiral House, Harlington Way, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Admiral House, Harlington Way, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

As of 26/11/15, the cheapest 1-bed and 2-bed new homes available within 1 mile of Fleet are available at prices of £215,000 and £235,000 (Rightmove). Median household incomes for Hart are £40,200 per Figure 4.8 of the SHMA. This means that the cheapest new homes are between 5.3 and 5.8 times median incomes and out of reach for the average household, so something should be done.

The SHMA calls for 60-70% of new build to be 1 and 2-bed properties across the Housing Market Area.  The developers are going to want to do what they always do, that is to build 3-5 bedroom detached houses in the new town which will be no doubt attractive to those moving from London, but will do nothing to meet the needs of ordinary people living in Hart.

Surely, it would be better to build smaller, starter properties on brownfield sites such as Ancells Farm, Fleet Road, Harlington Way in Fleet and Bartley Wood in Hook to give younger people a more affordable first step on the housing ladder.  This iwll do far more to meet the actual need outlined in the SHMA, and be more sustainable for our environment.

Destruction of amenity space

The Heart of Hart, the area around Winchfield, is used as an amenity area for walking, cycling, watching wildlife and other recreation. Concreting it over and joining together Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant Hartley Winchook conurbation will lead to lack of amenity for everyone.  Hart Council is yet to report on the consultation it ran earlier this year on how we value our amenity space.

If you are concerned about the impact of a new town, we have created 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

Posted in Brownfield Sites, Hampshire, Hart District Council, Hart Housing Options Consultation, Hart Local Plan, Hart SHMA, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

104 Comments

  1. Pingback: The case for a brownfield solution to Hart District's housing needs

  2. I think no matter where you live or would prefer housing to be built, we would all agree we can’t continue to build on 17.5 football pitch every year and say we are being sustainable for future generations. A new approach to housing is needed where land is valued and focuses on improving existing communities. My view is a new town or “urban extensions” will not achieve this and history proves only puts more stress on existing infrastructure. If we carefully look to understand our existing towns and villages capacity can be found, a view shared by many experts in the architectural and planning world.
    http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/simon-jenkins-we-should-be-pulling-out-all-the-stops-to-create-a-green-london-a3132286.html

  3. I can’t beleive the “so called” Steve Forster continues to destroy his reputation as a clear thinker and a aensible debater. Oh well, hopefully people will see sufficient ifs and buts and maybes to seriously question HDC’s approach. Please realise this is a one time decision. Be sure that whatever you vote takes into account that a vote for a new community is an irreversible decision. Just be sure, not vote for best option of a bad bunch!

    • My point exactly Steve Forster the other side thinks HDC’s position is also full of dubious statistics and proposals, flawed and ill thought through. Yet we poor “normal” folk are supposed to wade through all this and make an irreversible decision. Its too important to get wrong so DON’T vote for a new community MUST be the safest decision.

    • You keep smearing my data and statistics. They largely come from documents published by HDC.

      As I have said before, if you can point to any specific factual error I will gladly correct it.

      That you seem unable to do so says a great deal. And you demonstrate how little of the SHMA you have read and understood.

  4. A new school will be needed as people move into Hart or the poultation griws. A new settlement will drive or provide funding. Distributed housing won’t, or would only mean we have to grow existing schools – how do you propose that would be funded, and how would people get their on the gridlock ed roads your proposals would create.

    • Don’t the councillors actually read the figures in the SHMA. The big increase in population is amongst the elderly. The increase in young people is relatively modest. And there are already plans underway for big increases in school places.

      I am not convinced from looking at the published data that even more school places or schools are required. If all of the surrounding meet their own needs as they are duty bound to do there will be much less inward migration.

      Grid locked roads are going to be a factor regardless of development approach.

    • The elderly are living longer. Are you saying you think our town centres should be focused on the elderly. Previously you said it shoukd be a varied mix. You’re arguing against yourself now. Flats for the elderley alone is hardly reenergising and revitalising the centre of towns. Not all want to live in flats. Far from it. What increases are planned for school places from 2020 onwards? wouldn’t. New S Hook be better – and mean less use of roads, if it was a new school in a new settlement. It’s illogical to think otherwise. Just shows how poorly thought through your proposals are.

    • Steve, as you know I disagree with almost everything you have to say on this matter but, just on one small point, given the rising cost of housing in our area, I think flats and smaller houses are going to be the only affordable option for many in the future. Many more will never be able to buy their own property.

    • We do indeed Steve, but with two bedroomed retirement flats in both Fleet and Hartley Wintney being marketed at a little shy of half a million, let’s be realistic about what is affordable…

    • So building flats on expensive brownfield land is the only solution? It isn’t. It’s part if it but there’s a mix required. And a new settlement at Winchfield complements reasonable brownfield development providing the best mix of housing – along with facilities.

    • So your question was irrelevant then. And the price of the land is up to the landowners. A number if whom around Winchfield want to sell. The price of the property is up to the developers.

    • The council is duty bound to balance benefits and costs, including environmental costs. So it is valid to ask what value the council places on our countryside.

      I know that WAG has offered to cooperate with HDC to get a proper ecological and environmental study done to put a value on our environment and ecology. Hart have turned this down.

    • My question is extremely poignant Steve. You are leaving the value of Hart’s assets up to the developers rather than making the best choices for the district’s residents. That’s a poor choice.

    • Winchfield action group has an agenda and is a pressure group. Might that not be accused of bias?

      “The Winchfield Action Group is dedicated to preserving rural Winchfield as an unspoilt Domesday Village.” Worthy, but shouldn’t preclude development if the farmers fields around it.

    • Not everyone who supports WAG lives in Winchfield, me included, but I have spoken to people from Hook to Hawley, Rotherwick to Long Sutton who think a new town is a terrible idea. And it is…

    • The people proposed to do the study are Reading University and Environmental Systems.

      The proposal is to develop more than 400 Ha, more than half of the area of Winchfield Parish. These sites include SSSIs, SINCs, flood zones and many areas with TPOs.

      This is the green lung in the Heart of Hart not a few farmer’s fields. Your statement shows that you have very little understanding of what is actually proposed.

    • Thanks David. I’m familiar with the sites and the potential to protect important areas while delivering the housing much of which is farmers fields – who want to sell it.

      Your own comments regarding brownfield, and land directly abutting Fleet, conveniently ignore the reality of considering the impact on the thousands of local Fleet, Hook CC and other residents who would be much worse off than if the land around Winchfield was developed.

    • Steve, there are four current building sites in Hartley Wintney delivering mixed housing. There are at least two in Odiham and in Hook and I am sure in Fleet. There are building sites everywhere but building up to 5K houses on what are currently green fields is madness. Please reconsider

    • The SHMA requires more than 2,000 units for the elderly to be built. That is the “need”. You may not like it, but it is your duty to deliver it.

      In the opinion of many, these sorts of developments are best delivered in town centres close to amenities. They don’t all have to be in Fleet. Indeed there is a development in HW right now. They can also be in mixed use developments – have you read the HAPPI report I sent you months ago?

      You really need some education on modern architecture and the actual needs of the people instead of trying to persist with the manifest failed solutions of 20 years ago.

      We simply cannot continue building 4bed detached houses in the countryside. It is simply not sustainable

    • Loathe as I am to drag this into another day Steve, I implore you and your colleagues to listen to Hart residents. The way you respond to to residents’ opinions and, let’s face it, the cold hard facts that are presented to you are rude. While you may be stating your own views here you are a councilor. Would you respond to a business client in such a way?

  5. David Turver – Interesting article. I think you are right that the proposed Winchfield development is not a panacea for Fleet. But, what i would suggest is that if the council is trying to minimise the impact for the most people, sites such as Winchfield would be preferable. The local population is centred in the urban areas (such as Fleet) and for the most part, the greenfield areas are not frequently visited by most of Hart’s population in comparison to their local urban areas. So, while their will be a major impact around Winchfield, it will lower the strain on the likes of Fleet and reduce the environmental impact of the majority.

  6. I have asked for a forecast out to 2031. Hart has refused. Quite why is beyond me. I haven’t chosen the date, I have merely repeated what HDC and HCC have told me. The forecast increased population amongst young people up to 2031 is not very large. And almost certainly not large enough to persuade HCC to fund a new 900 place school.

    Don’t you think HDC should be doing some proper planning of school places?

  7. We’re not talking about 2018 for school places. We’re talking 2032. Convenient that you chose a date so close, ignoring the long term, yet were looking at a plan that has to cover a much longer period.

    The brownfield find would be great but we don’t know what it will cover or how. Your advocating we build a plan without knowing how it would be funded. Compulsory purchase can’t readily be used beer current legislation, and could be financially unusable – it would have to be purchased at market rates which means it might end up being loss making. And it still doesn’t come with infrastructure. Your on a wing and a prayer, without sufficient detail and without considering the consequences. And many of your financial facts are incomplete or not thought through. How would you fund CPO. How could it be justified. What would it cost nd yield.

  8. As we have discussed before I acknowledge infrastructure is a problem regardless of development approach.

    My belief is that infrastructure requirements will be lower for brownfield compared to green fields in virgin countryside.

    As for funding, the Government is making available a £1bn brownfield development fund. I would also advocate HDC following Ranil’s advice and buying up some of these sites and using profits to fund infrastructure.

    There is no evidence we need more schools. There is a surplus of places forecast up to 2018, and now a reduced population forecast from the Government. HDC should also introduce a CIL framework.

    I have asked the council to produce estimates of costs and contributions for each development approach and they have refused. Quite how you can make such a decision without understanding the economics is beyond me.

    But it does tell me that all these alleged benefits of a new town are simply hot air.

  9. Yet you’re advocating we do more of the same? I joined the council to stop bad decisions taken historically, and prevent more serious mistakes for the future. If Winchfield goes in the local plan, it woudl be able to be linked to necessary road & ther improvements – yet youre advocating developing brownfield. You show me the money – and the plan….where will funding come for more schools, where will they be, where will commuters travel from and how, where will they go shopping, how will water, power and sewage cope with the 2,000 exra flats your proposing for brownfield and how would upgrades be funded. Far more expensive than greenfield, and pretty much impossible without years of disruption, let alone being impossible – the streets and roads in town cant be widened. Youre trying to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. How would you fund the cleanup of pyestock. How would you deal with larger properties. What youth facilities would you fund,how much and where. What about facilities for the elderly. Your proposal has so many holes in it it just doesnt hold water.

  10. OK Steve. Time to show me the money. How much will it cost for new roads, improvements and widening of existing roads, new roundabouts, widened and strengthened bridges under the railway and over the water courses, new or improved railway station, new M3 Junction, move or bury the power lines, new sewage works, installation of mains gas and sewage, schools, community facilities, shops, sports fields, health care facilities etc?

    What can you reasonably expect as developer contributions?

    How will you close the existing infrastructure funding gap of £78m?

    The council’s position seems to be – trust us, we have made a total pigs ear of managing the development of Fleet and CC, but we are now sure we can get it right in Winchfield where we never visit.

  11. How simple can it get – take the land available (it doesn’t matter where for this purpose), look at how much housing it can sustain, remove 40% for assisted housing so not profit for a developer, how much have you got left? Is it enough for a railway station? A senior school? a new motorway junction? No, well then stop what you are doing because the sums don’t add up. Not sure, then do not consult until you are. You have the figures, then make them public and maybe we will all have something concrete to discuss. Still can’t believe on the basis of what you have said publicly that Hart DC do not know if this is financially feasible and yet we, the public have got to consult on it. So what happens later when you discover it doesn’t add up – do the council just say oops sorry everyone, wasted all your money we can’t proceed with this.

  12. Thanks for David clarifying you’re against Pale Lane etc, and spoke up against the others -I must have missed it. But if you’re against greenfield development why are you advocating a distributed approach – that would focus on greenfield on the edges of towns and villages. In you post you said “Surely much better and more sustainable to direct housing development to the east of Fleet at Ancells Farm, Bramshott Farm” so please make up your mind. And its good to see many of the empty shops in the Fleet now occupied or under offer, and many being refurbished. With the Hart centre’s new owners, this shoudl continue. Also interesting that youre now saying that Admiral House, Flagship House, Hart Offices and the Harlington should be turned into MIXED USE, to include new leisure facilities and maybe even a theatre, and housing. What happens to all the people and companies that work there while development is ongoing? Many of the offices are occupied, so where exactly will you put the flats? Its just not thought through. Just trying to find more sites to justify your own figures and to whip up interest, without actually having a proper plan. Lets leave the consultation to run its own course, and see what the repsonse is. I hope the many tens of thousands of residents who live in Fleet, Church Crookham, and form the real Heart of Hart, complete the consultation and realise that the best option to protect the real heart of our community, which is where they live, is to ensure we don’t expand onto the fields around the towns – but that building a new settlement based around Winchfield station is a better option.

    • Steve – Why are Fleet and Church Crookham’ the ‘real Heart of Hart’? What about the rest of Hart? You come across as a complete NIMBY and I would say your communication and posts that include insults and slurs are not of a standard expected of a councillor.

    • The few existing occupants could be temporarily moved to one of the plethora of other empty offices whilst building work is ongoing. I explained my position on Bramshott above.

      I have never said anything other than mixed use around Hart Offices.

      If you go through my consultation response in detail you will see that I am proposing taking out all of the green field sites ( except where allocated in a NP) and replacing them with the brownfield sites excluded from the consultation by HDC.

    • 2-3 years without civic offices? Without a theatre, or community rooms? No library? Where would they move to, since you’re advocating turning all the offices in to flats?

    • James Renwick – The people and communities of Fleet and Church Crookham, Hook, Yateley, Odiham, Hartley Wintney are the REAL heart of Hart. Am I a NIMBY when it comes to wanting to protect Fleet & CC – yes, if protecting the area from excessive town centre and too dense brownfield development is the case, yes if protecting it from garden infilling, yes if protecting it from urban extensions directly on the edge of Fleet, yes if protecting Fleets schools, surgeries, community facilities, and roads from being overcrowded – when theres a far better option which is designing a new settlement around an underused station, in the middle of fields that many of the owners want to sell for development, and which would be built with all the facilities it would need.

    • Steve. You certainly aren’t protecting Hartley Wintney. There is no gap between the proposed development and Hartley Wintney. Calling it a new town is very misleading.

    • Theres a significant gap between HW and proposed Winchfield – infinitely more than the zero gap between Fleet and Pale Lane, Grove Farm, Watery Lane, Bramshot farm, and other sites around Fleet that David has put forward as preferable, and which is one of the key alternatives for the next 15 years or more especially after brownfield is exhausted. Or the extensions to Hartley Wintney and other infill along the A30 that would result if Winchfield wasn-t chosen. Or the zero gaps on yet more developments on tthe edge of Hook. I suspect you’ll see far more development on the edge of HW like RIfle Range Farm and the west of HW if you don’t think Winchfield should be developed. You’ll probably end up with greenfield development on the edges of all the current towns and villages, without infrastructure. Worst possible result. Only Winchfield residents will be happy they’ve dumped their development elsewhere – and they’ll still get some anyhow, just not properly designed and without proper infrastructure. Where will all the schoolchildren the brownfield at the suggested density drives meant to go to school. In fact where are they meant to live if its 60-70% 1&2 bedroom flats. Where will residents in urban extensions commute from. Or drive to shop. HW residents already have to drive to Fleet, Reading, Basingstoke or Camberley to get to a good shopping centre, despite teh nice shops there. It woudl just get worse if a distributed plan is selected.

    • Steve. No there isn’t a gap you are forgetting about Phoenix green and the dilley lane development. Also for hook and Hayley Wintney you will be pushing additional traffic into the a30, or are you planning to build bypasses? Building more houses will be painful, but the only fair and sustainable why is to share and use brownfield sites. Also Fleet centre really needs improvement I doubt anyone would choose to shop there rather than Basingstoke or reading because of the choice of shops. Regarding schools, is the funding in place for new schools in winchfield?

    • A new school in Winchfield would be a pre-requisite if a new settlement of the size discussed was approved. For certain – secondary as well as primary. The A30 could be upgraded to full dual carriageway outside the villages (it should never have been partially downgraded to 1 lane). Phoenix Green and Dilly Lane (maybe Murrell Green too) would potentially be extended if a Winchfield new settlement wasn’t built, coalescing onto HW. Would you prefer that? Why do you not think that might happen?

    • Extending dilley lane is preferable to a single Hartley Wintney winchfield town with duelling of the a30. You understand that Hartley Wintney and hook high streets will be car parks if more traffic is pushed onto the a30?

    • Dilly Lane is already being extended. The new town proposal includes Murrell Green. The earlier proposed site for a secondary school was between the M3 and an institution housing sex offenders and violent patients.

      Dual carriageway between Hook and HW is neither use nor ornament. It would take away housing space on some of the proposed sites and lead to even worse pinch points both places.

    • They’ll be further xtemded.if Winchfield didn’t go ahead. And generate even worse road problems. Nd issues on infrastructure. You’re ignoring all thus – only focusing on 5-10 years nd ignoring the long term – conveniently, as it suits you. The local plan has to look at the period to 2032 and officers and others are looking at the whole period realistically. You’re not. Shortsighted. What happens to all the people in the 1&2 bedroom flats as their families start and grow. And existing families. Where will they be in 10-15 years. Thus has to be thought through. Winchfield as a settlement provides a well thought through solution. You seem to be promoting a shower term solution that would cause far greater problems, in 5-10 years.

    • Really David. The young can move into the big houses. What about affordable housing. What about their children who take over their houses – and their children. And sisters and brothers. How do they buy the expensive houses – they need starter homes which need to be built. What about people who move put of London to surrounding towns. What about people moving fro elsewhere to the SE.

    • We need a mix of housing. As time passes we need 2-3 bedroom flats, and houses. A decent mix. Your proposals assume indicate 70% 1-2 bed flats. Typically at high price due to tye cost of buying brownfield land, unless built at ridiculous density. It just doesn’t add up.

    • I’ll stop for now. I’ve made my poi t and I’m sure many think this has gone on long enough. I urge people to read and debate, look at all the info, and consider what is the least worst option. Consider if we just want development in and on the edge of towns consider if overloading our schools and doctors is OK. Consider if a few farmers fields at Winchfield are more important than our communities, our quality of life nd the nice towns and villages across Hart which could be ruined if we don’t build a new settlement at Winchfield as our long term solution. Make up your own minds but above all please respond to tye consultation.

    • We’ve already built or permitted more larger houses than Hart needed according to the SHMA.

      All we are doing is meeting the needs of people from outside the district and pushes up inward migration which is then used as justification for building even more.

      This is a developer led cycle perpetuated by councils – not just HDC – that should end now that all authorities are obliged to meet their own needs.

  13. There is not a hope in hell that developer contributions will meet the infrastructure costs of a new town. And we already have a massive funding deficit.

  14. Steve, you just admitted the other day that you have no idea if there is enough revenue from this new townto build iinfrastructure. The council have asked the population to vote on something where there are no facts. The numbers are due to change in some way which could alter everything and you are selling this proposal on the basis of infrastructure and facilities of which you cannot be definite that there will be the profit to do. Its a very confused message.

    • You’re appear to me to be advocating building on Brownfied without any proper thought to the feasibility or cost of land availability, or worrying about the legality of a challenge to the local plan (and the subsequent opportunity this would potentially present to many developers to apply for planning permission pretty much where they want – or conveniently hoping they’d want the cheap option of urban extensions). You’re not considering the cost of land cleanup, and whether the market wants the huge number of flats – you quote the 60% 1-2 bedroom homes, but conveniently ignore the 2-5 bedroom houses that are currently in demand, and that people in flats will probably want in 10-15 years – yet the local plan needs to look at the period to 2032. Look at the issues in Leeds from the fact that they built at huse density and focused on 1&2 beds – and then were left with a glut of unsold property, and huge demand for larger houses. No. Im not a financial expert, nor am I a builder – and the full details will only become available once a developer goes through the dteail and decides that something may be viable. Having a new settlement in the local plan would enforce the developer to include roads, infratsructure etc. in those figures.

    • No one, is advocating willy nilly brownfield development without thought. Of course it should be properly planned.

      The SHMA says we need to build 60-70% 1&2 bed dwellings. We also need to build a lot of specialist accommodation for the elderly. As they move out of their larger houses they free up that stock for families.

      Of course there will be demand for 5 bed houses in Winchfield but that will serve the desires of those moving from London not the needs of the people you were elected to represent. Are you advocating a plan that isn’t consistent with the SHMA?

  15. I might add that 2,201 people have signed the WHH petition. More than 4 times the number that responded to the last consultation.

    I know that I am not alone.

    The private messages of support I get outnumber the critics by 10:1 at least.

  16. No, I am not changing my mind about regenerating Admiral House, Flagship House, Hart Offices and the Harlington into MIXED USE, to include new leisure facilities and maybe even a theatre, and housing.

    HDC’s own figures show a massive surplus of office space.

    There’s also acres of empty retail space in the High Street, and the trend is for even more online shopping. Why not refurbish and fill up the existing vacant plots before building more?

    I’ve gone through the travel to work patterns in the post above. Not all the residents of a new town will be able to work in the new supermarket.

    There’s loads of public footpaths in Winchfield. You should get out more and come and see the lovely countryside, SSSI’s and SINCs.

    Can you point to a single “lie” I have made? I have worked hard to present facts as I know them, and I reference public documents to back them up. It is a bit low for a cabinet member to start accusing a member of the public of lying. Point to a single piece of information that is untrue or inaccurate, and I will gladly correct it.

    I am not the one who tried to censor and stifle questions at council because they were uncomfortable for the concrete campaigners. I have offered to meet with the joint CEO and council leader and been turned down. The “consultation” on the WHH petition, consisted of a couple of emails from the leader. I am all for open debate – that is exactly what I am engaged in and I have never turned down a meeting with a councillor. That is what this page and the website is all about.

    I am strongly opposed to all further green field development in all of Hart. I believe our expressed “needs” are to high, and even if we are not successful in arguing the SHMA down, I believe all of the remaining need can be met from brownfield sites.

    I have not proposed anything above 3-4-storeys in height, not taller than existing Admiral House.

    I did oppose Watery Lane and Grove Farm, and spoke at the Owens Farm appeal and indeed I opposed Urnfield. I do not support Pale Lane development. I am less opposed to Bramshott (I understand, but have not confirmed that part of that site is a disused sewage works), but think Pyestock is a much better bet. But we don’t need Pyestock in the current plan period.

    Your post is just tirade of inaccurate nonsense, smear and innuendo, bordering on personal abuse. When we first met, you said you wanted to deal in facts. I am quite happy to deal in facts and have a sensible discussion.

    I too encourage all the people to read all the information and make up their own mind. There are different approaches that Hart refuses to consider.

  17. We should consider refurbishing local offices to make them more attractive, like the new ones on TAG Farnborough. You’re own communications suggested turning the Fleet Civic centre and the two adjacent offices into housing – are you now changing your mind on this. What about the library and Harlington, and Victoria Road, and Church Road – so called we heart Hart supporters have said that all of these would be suitable brownfield for turning into flats. the same with the locations on Fleet Road near Kings Road – what about retail, what about the people employed there. We need to protect these jobs, and attract new businesses to the area in places like Ancells farm. Building on the edge of Fleet means that all of them will need to access Fleet – for shopping, transport, doctor, school etc. A new village would be self sustained, with its own shops, doctor, school, community facilities – so they wouldn’t need to come into Fleet unless they worked here or wanted to visit. Your plan is fundamentally flawed, and biased to protecting Winchfield. You talk about birds and wildlife and scenery. Most people from Fleet have never been to Winchfield, and the farmers aren’t the friendliest lot around – they’ve gated off their fields, and much of the so called lovely scenery is agricultural farming – done pretty intensively. You are typically just trying to mislead people in my opinion. Lies, damn lies and statistics – you select what you pitch, and always argue – yet Hart District has worked hard to be impartial on its consultation, with great input from people including councillors who proactively support Winchfield – as well as the majority who don’t. Instead of trying to stifle debate and shouting down en masse anyone who disagrees with you, why not have a sensible and open debate. I encourage people to read ALL the info, all the facts, and then make up their own minds, like I have. Some of the so called we heart Hart campaign info is accurate, most isn’t. Most of the Fleet & Church Crookham society info is accurate – so read it all, and make up your own mind once properly informed. I’m happy if you want to disagree with me, but not if its based on mis- and dis-information spread by a group with what appears to me to be a hidden agenda, looking like it will do anything to save Winchfield and a few local farmers fields – at all costs. And turning Fleet into a high rise gridlocked town, like Bracknell or Basingstoke – but without any main roads or bypasses. I don’t think any of the so called we heart Hart supporters came out to fight against and protect Watery Lane, Grove Farm, or other developments on the edge of Fleet. Which I did as did many other councillors and residents in Fleet & CC. I suspect you won’t protest against Pale Lane, Bramshot Farm, or any others – yet these are the vital green fields on the edges of Fleet. In fact so called we heart Hart advocate building on many of these. And a vote against a new settlement is likely to mean they are all developed. Are they biased, wrong, misguided? I personally think so.http://fccs.org.uk/hart-local-plan-consultation/

    • I think most of us have supplied our opinions, what will be interesting if these opinions are listened? In either case I really cannot agree that the sites proposed really make sense, most of which in the past were already rejected on grounds of flooding, nearness to a SSI

  18. There is absolutely no risk of destroying employment. There’s a massive surplus of brownfield land and vacant offices.

    Yes, it does suggest higher density towns, keeping the countryside for amenity value for all the residents of Hart. We get better bang for each infrastructure buck that way.

    Developing more than half of Winchfield will not result in “more” green space, quite the opposite. I have not said that ” all traffic” will route through Fleet and CC – but a significant proportion of it will. And I have not suggested the new town residents will use Fleet healthcare facilities. But, the infrastructure spending on the new town will inevitably not be enough, and will starve the existing settlements of much needed investment – currently £78m deficit, not counting healthcare.

    http://wehearthart.co.uk/2015/07/massive-surplus-of-brownfield-employment-land-but-rushmoor-wants-hart-to-concrete-over-green-fields/

  19. The real Heart of Hart is not the farmers fields around a niche community in Winchfield for a small number of people typically with large houses. It is the towns and villages where people live, Fleet being the largest – and too big already. It is disingenuous (and just worng) to promote more flats being built on town centre brownfield, and the destruction of local employment, let alone building on the edges of Fleet & CC as being a better option that a well designed new town. What your so called we heart Hart campaign does is suggest that the towns should be more built up, with dense housing, no new green spaces, and that all the traffic will have to route through them and use Fleets station, doctors, schools, community facilities etc. It would be better if land around Bramshot Farm was a SANG – or green belt, so as to separate it from Farnborough and Aldershot. Your so called we heart Hart campaign should be more correctly called ‘we want to the heart of Hart’

    • Steve please remember you were elected to Hart DC under a democtratic system that encourages people to speak openly and debate the issues in a mature and respectful manner. Your response above is delivered with little respect using terminology such as “your so called”. It would be a more constructive debate if you could be fact based and respectful or you may well be accused of being a NIMBY (after all most of the brownfield sites being discussed are in close proximity to your large house near Fleet town centre). I look forward to a more mature and well informed debate on the subject – thanks.

    • Thanks Greg for your comments. I advocate that so called we heart Hart is an incorrect title, as Winchfield is not the true heart of Hart, unless you mean purely geographically. The real heart of Hart is our towns and communities. I will however follow your point and replace ‘so called’ with something more respectful. But I have made the point that its based upon the desires of people biased to saving Winchfield, who are still happy to advocate building on greenfield elsewhere – as David Turvey suggests directly by suggesting Bramshot farm amongst others. Finally people can see that the agenda is not to protect our communities, but to try to dump housing on Fleet, Hook, Church Crookham, Hartley Wintney, even Odiham – anywhere but a few farmers fields in Winchfield. Catchy title though, but wrong. It is a group alongside WAG (both actively supported by a small number of other councillors – who no-one has criticised. Just because I speak out against what I consider to be biased incorrect details does not mean I should quietly keep quiet. I was elected to represent the views of residents in Hart, and in particular in Fleet West. Fleet & CC residents by a large majority have said to me they do not want any more housing directly on the edges of Fleet – Like Bramshot Farm, Pale Lane, Watery Lane, Grove Farm. They prefer it farther away. As to whether this should be distributed or in Winchfield is split, but once people understand that the only option that brings new primary & secondary schools, doctors, transport links, shops, and roads is building a new settlement, they focus. I’m against development of major housing extensions on the edges of Fleet & CC.
      Fleet has had enough urban extensions, and it’s infrastructure (roads, transport, schools, doctors surgeries, youth facilities, facilities for older people, parks and recreation, library, etc) are at or close to capacity.
      I’m also averse to garden infilling or excess development where it is detrimental to the area – particularly in the central Fleet conservation area.
      We do however have demand for new houses. Brownfield is my preferred first choice for this (old office buildings, industrial sites not needed for building). BUT it must still be well designed, have the right mix of types of property for singles, couples, and families – of all ages. It must come with appropriate contributions to infrastructure so the town improves, rather than being over developed.
      After brownfield then I’m against any new development that adds extra houses on the edges of Fleet and. CC.
      I think a new town is probably the best option, for long term housing in Hart – provided it is restricted so the size is purely the minimum we can justify to meet government building requirements – and it needs to have train and road links, as well as schools, surgeries and all the other elements that would make it a good place to live., and being set sustaining. I’d much prefer this to urban extensions or excessive development around existing towns or villages in Hart. These are my personal opinions, but reflect the majority of people I speak with in Fleet & CC.

    • Thanks Barrie – so why are your promoting ripping out the heart of Fleet, the heart of Hook, the heart of the green fields on the edges of Fleet & Church Crookham. Why do you want to spread housing across the district, anywhere but Winchfield. Why do you want to destroy the heart of the communities. David of We ♥︎ Hart even mentions building mixed use flats where we have employment, and knocking down the library and Harlington – then ‘maybe even a theatre’ would be put up. This is a vital part of Hart’s community.

    • Steve. You yourself have advocated redeveloping the Harlington. And the idea I have put forward is pretty similar to that put forward by Fleet Future and they got majority support for that plan but HDC have ignored it.

      As to Bramshott I said I was less opposed, not in favour. My decision on that is dependent upon understanding how much of that site, if any is a disused sewage works.

      I am not opposed to all development in Winchfield. It is my understanding that HDC turned down an application that Winchfield PC was in favour of and of course some development will be proposed in their NP.

      If towns are to thrive they must change. There are plenty examples on the continent and in London of mixed – employment, housing and social – that show it can be done.

      I don’t think regenerating derelict and vacant buildings can be reasonably described as ripping the heart out of the town centre.

    • you speak in such derrogatory terms of the land that keeps Fleet ‘rural’. This area is alive with horse riders, dog walkers, runners and most considerablely in the last few years, cyclists. It is an asset to Fleet. Not sure we would be ‘best place to live’ without it.

    • Can I just ask Steve, why have the council turned down every planning application in Winchfield in the past two years on the basis that it would detract from the rural nature of the area? Yet you want rid of the rural nature of the area. Still more confusing messages.

    • In my case, Steve, it’s because I appreciate the semi-rural nature of Hart and don’t want that to change. Yes, I live in Winchfield, but certainly not in a house as big as many in Fleet. The green spaces of Hart are an amenity for all Hart residents, not just for those who live in Winchfield, and are one of the factors that make it such an agreeable place to live in. If the proposed development goes ahead, the special character of Hart will be lost for ever. If I was a councillor, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience when there is an alternative.

    • Fleet is semi rural but is a town. If there are urban extensions it becomes like Basingstoke but without the main roads. If the brownfield is all developed it becomes gridlock ed. A decent plan for Winchfield would be an asset. I’m in favour of a new Harlington as long as the new one is built without closing the current one. And it’s better. And it includes a library. You seem to want it shut and turned into houses. You’re less opposed to Bramshaw that Winchfield. How convenient. You’re not talking bout regeneration but about building dense flats on every bit of brownfield. What about the need for houses. And infrastructure. Brownfield doesn’t fund that. Join the fight to make Fleet better, don’t try to dump houses in and around Fleet.

      Barrie I am a councillor but I’m speaking personally. I wouldn’t want to let down the residents of Hart and in particular of Fleet, by promoting the approach you favour. I think that would be a terrible thing to do. Anything that would lead to development adjoining Fleet & CC would be bad, as would the wrong type if brownfield. A new settlement at Winchfield should be as small as reasonable which us what the current options show. It wouldn’t start for 10 years or so. It’ll be needed by then. It’s the least worst option.

    • We have been through this ad nauseam. The densities I have based my calculations on are those in the SHLAA 25 dph. Or on Stonegate numbers or half the density proposed by Gareth Price because you said his estimates were too high.

      If you are so confident of your position why not put up a brownfield option for consultation?

    • I wanted to. Lets see how the consultation goes, and I hope Fleet & CC residents, and others, manage to select the option they are comfortable with that protects what they hold most dear, the towns they live in, the areas around them, and the land they frequent – which I strongly believe is to select the preference being a new town based around Winchfield and the farmers fields thee much of which isn’t usable to anyone other than the farmers who own it.

    • Proportionate development. No one in Winchfield is against some development but letting cement mixers loose over a huge pivotal green lung not only degrades the ENTIRE area and a major appeal of why the region is so liked but also reeks of a complete lack of respect of the environment. All of this is based on flawed calculations, it is shocking.

      You can really see the nimby mentality in many hart councillors, few are looking at the long term negative impact this will have on many communities. To say it impacts just Winchfield is utter rubbish.

      The councils latest survey is so loaded towards Winchfield. I’ve seen less bias in a Zimbabwe election.

      Have fun drumming up some creative numbers for the infrastructure costs, it will not add up.

    • Well then don’t quote something that isn’t relevant…..This however is. I’m done.

      “The English landscape at its finest—such as I saw this morning—possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality that will mark out the English landscape to any objective observer as the most deeply satisfying in the world, and this quality is probably best summed up by the term ‘greatness.’ … And yet what precisely is this greatness? … I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

    • Nice quote. Hardly applies to what is mostly heavily farmed fields and private land that most of us can’t see unless were walking or cycling on the road alongside, or the train, or the few footpaths.

    • Nice quote. Hardly applies to what is mostly heavily farmed fields and private land that most of us can’t see unless were walking or cycling on the road alongside, or the train, or the few footpaths.

    • I’ve spoken to many around Fleet & CC Hook, And farther across Hart who disagree with you. If you have to resort to that type of personal insult, it underscores the reality of how weak your points are.

    • Steve you started the insults much earlier in this post and you are on the wrong facebook group to sway anyones opinion with your barratts love affair. Stick to sorting out 30mph limits. I know plenty of people in Hook, Odiham, Hartley Wintney, Dogmersfield and other surrounding villages. All are against this idiotic ‘plan’ and can see the damage it will create.

    • So screw the wildlife, co2 absorbing benefits, food production and a place of openness for many a vistor. Nice vision. Nothing wrong with walking or cycling and enjoying the surroundings. Plenty of cyclists love the area. I am sure they dont say the same about the badly planned rat run that hart allowed to be built on EH. What a joy that is to take your kids around for a bit of peace and quiet. Oh wait, peace and quiet is something you want us to travel further away to. Whats next? Join fleet with bracknell? Bet you salivate at the idea of all that concrete, all those speed limits.

    • Making roads safer is just one of the numerous things I do for the community. My main focus is my cabinet role, and above all representing the people of Fleet West, Hart, and making our district better. I’m glad you feel strongly about it, and I enjoy the debate. I think it appropriate to inform people and encourage them to make up their own minds, rather than just swallow what I consider to be a biased view that poses high risk of ruining the area, and causing extensive poor development to be on the edges of all our towns and villages, let alone in the centres.
      You disagree and it’s fair to have a debate. I think you should want residents to gather the info themselves and understand fully the issues – and above all to get the maximum number of responses to something that WILL impact them so that their views cam help I fluency the outcome. I think a number of people who read this FB page may come to realise that the isdues are not as presented by the campaign itself, and that the approach the we heart Hart campaign suggest may be far detrimental. I think it is. I also feel there us a decent balance if opinions amongst the councillors, with some supporting your campaign although the majority are against it. Rather than personal insults, I’d recommend you encourage debate

      Accusing me of a Barratt love affair is somewhat wide of the mark when I openly criticised their initial plan as unsympathetic and poor, and advocated strong opposition to it. I stand by that, and a good local plan could force good development which should be encouraged.

      My very point is that which Simon makes – urban extensions are often built without good planning and infrastructure, whereas a well designed new settlement would not have the same issues.

    • You are very good at avoiding questions, i will give you that but my respect for the hart councils values and integrity vanished at the publication of the barratts brochure and if i recall correctly the member or associate who was found to be trying to facilitate a deal between developer and land owner 2.5 or so years ago. The majority of councillors support this as it is the easy option and they simply don’t live in the area.

    • It was not published by HDC. I personally don’t know anyone who thinks it was a good plan or supported it. All councillors live in Hart. it’s far from an easy decision. It’s the least worst one though. I’m trying to lobby MPs to reduce the requirement for take up of adjoining district shortfall. Hart and Rushmoor should build what they need. We shouldn’t have to accept any overflow. We’re all agreed on that – I hope. And on brownfield first. We’re just disagreed on the amount of brownfield, the tyre and the practicality. So that’s some common ground at least. And we want to do the right thing for Hart too.

    • It was circulated to all councillors prior to the Nov 2014 meeting. And certainly was available for download from the Hart website. In the modern world that counts as publishing.

      At that fateful meeting I recall certain councillors waving it around like it was a holy book.

      By contrast, the full text of several questions I submitted to the council over the summer were censored and not allowed to be on the public record because they dared to express an alternative approach to delivering the Local Plan. And the council did not want to publish opinions that were different to their own.

  20. Couldn’t agree more with this post especially with regards to access to and from the possible new town. Two of the roads run past Dogmersfield School and Oakwood in Hartley Wintney where parking and traffic is already a huge issue. I for one don’t want to see any child’s life put at risk by the substantial increase of traffic in these two areas. Is there a steering group for this local plan and do any of the members actually live within the the areas that are under threat from this development or are they all some distance away ?

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