Breaking News: Berkeley Homes enters into joint venture agreement to develop Pyestock

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

In a very exciting development, We Heart Hart understands that Hart Council announced tonight that St Edward (part of Berkeley Homes) has signed a joint venture agreement with M&G (part of the Prudential Group) today to redevelop Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) and build around 1,500 new homes on the site.

This is testament to the hard work from Daryl Phillips and the council team in trying to get the land released for housing.

We believe this effectively kills off the flawed plan for a new town at Winchfield and should also mean that we don’t need any urban extensions and can meet our housing needs on brownfield sites alone for decades to come. We now think that the brownfield capacity in the district is around 4,000 homes, well above our residual requirement of around 2,500.

This is exceptionally good news.

More to follow when we hear more…..

[Update 1]

The agreement commits to build subject to planning permission. We understand that contamination is a major concern. For commercial use, the cost of decontaminating the land was expected to be £8m. For residential use the cost is likely to be much more.

There is also a traffic limit imposed through the previous commercial permission which is a source of concern. There are also some worries that Rushmoor will seek to object to the development and some residents may also object because the traffic levels will be perceived to be higher.

However, if everyone works positively, and are realistic about viability, then this project should happen.

[Update 2]

We Heart Hart understands that the new development will require significant SANG, by our calculations around 28-30 Ha.

[Update 3]

Hart Council publishes press release regarding Hartland Park redevelopment.

Hart Council Press Release regarding Hartland Park (Pyestock)

[Update 4]

BBC news report here and Eagle Radio report here

New town plan savaged by Winchfield Parish Council

Winchfield Parish Councillor

Winchfield Parish Council’s (WPC) submission to the Hart Local Plan consultation has been covered in Fleet News and Mail and Get Hampshire.

They cover much of the ground that was covered in our post about WPC’s representations to the consultation, quoting our view that their submission “is an eloquent and devastating attack on the whole idea of a new town”

For more information, see the full submission and covering letter in the downloads below:

 

Cover letter:

Winchfield Parish Council Cover Letter

Full response:

Winchfield Parish Council Local Plan Consultation response

#StormKatie floods Winchfield for fourth time in 3 months

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Storm Katie has wreaked havoc across southern England today, and several roads and fields in Winchfield, Hampshire have flooded again, for the fourth time in three months. Floods also occurred on the 4th of January, 7th January and 9th March 2016.

The map of the floods we found is shown below, together with a carousel of images:

Floods in Winchfield and Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Floods in Winchfield and Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

 

Given this level and frequency of flooding, we really to have to call into question the suitability of Winchfield as a location for a new town in the Local Plan.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field Station Road Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field Station Road Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016

CPRE Hampshire says Winchfield is a ‘poor option’ in response to consultation

CPRE Hampshire Logo

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s (CPRE) Hampshire branch have responded to Hart Council’s Local Plan consultation and condemned the whole idea of a new town at Winchfield. Their full response can be found here.

In it, they say that they do not accept that a new town is a valid approach and describe it as a ‘poor option’. They also challenge the housing need figures, pointing out that the (allegedly) Objectively Assessed Housing Need is 58.6% above the latest Government household projections.

This response, coupled with Winchfield Parish Council’s very strong response, really does call into question the whole idea of a new town in Winchfield.

 

 

 

Winchfield Parish Council demolishes the new town idea in their response to the Local Plan Consultation

Hart in Heart of Hart, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Winchfield Parish Council (WPC) have submitted their response and covering letter (see downloads below) to Hart Council’s Local Plan consultation and effectively demolished all of the arguments supporting Hart’s new town idea.  The response was pulled together with the help of professional planners at John Boyd Planning Associates.

There are four main planks to WPC’s argument:

  1. Lack of evidence to justify the need for a new settlement
  2. Winchfield is not a suitable location for a new settlement
  3. A new settlement is not a viable approach
  4. There should be more of a focus on alternatives such as brownfield development and dispersal

The lack of evidence is demonstrated by the fact that Hart has not yet consulted upon the issues recommended by Peter Village QC namely, employment, retail, transport, and infrastructure. Moreover, it is premature and illogical to be conducting the consultation now when the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is being revised and we don’t know what the Objectively Assessed Need is going to be. They also note the work done by Alan Wenban-Smith that seriously challenged the numbers in the existing SHMA.

The challenge to the suitability of Winchfield as a location is demonstrated by the significant barriers to delivery outlined by Hart themselves such as education, transport and foul water drainage. They also point out that the main argument used in favour of a settlement at Winchfield, the presence of a railway station, is undermined by the suggestion that the station would have to be relocated to support the new town. There are also significant doubts about the capacity of the available sites to accommodate a new settlement of sufficient size to be viable, especially when one considers the environmental constraints such as SSSIs and SINCs as well as the space that will have to be found for SANGs, shops, car-parks, schools and recreational facilities. Not only that, but the disparate nature of the sites will make it very difficult to plan a coherent and compact nuclear settlement.

WPC also challenge the viability of a new settlement by pointing out the massive costs of infrastructure with no evidence being presented to indicate how these costs would be met.  The NPPF (para 47 & 173) calls for housing and infrastructure to be planned together, so if it cannot be demonstrated that the right infrastructure can be funded and built, then the whole new town idea could be rejected by an inspector and the Local Plan found unsound.

WPC’s submission welcomes Hart’s belated focus on brownfield development, but criticises them for ignoring an important study by Stonegate Homes, the further opportunities presented by the changes to permitted development rights and the results of Hart’s own findings of new “Zones of Brownfield Opportunity”.  They also point out that Hart’s ‘Economic Development Strategy’ (2015) identifies that the District Council must direct its resources to urban regeneration, and that focusing growth in and adjacent to Hart’s main settlements would
boost investment in infrastructure and regeneration in the locations where it is needed most and help close the £78m funding gap.

Finally, they say that it would be inappropriate to try and meet the housing needs of our ageing population through a new town option.

All in all, this is an eloquent and devastating attack on the whole idea of a new town and is very much in-line with what We Heart Hart has been saying for months.  We can only hope that the councillors will take heed of such an important report from professional planning consultants and get the Local Plan back on track to being found sound at inspection.

 

Cover letter:

Winchfield Parish Council Cover Letter

Full response:

Winchfield Parish Council Local Plan Consultation response

response  covering letter

CPRE shows that brownfield sites deliver faster than green field sites

CPRE study shows brownfield sites complete faster than green field sites

New research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has shown that brownfield sites are delivered around 6 months faster than green field sites.

The new detailed research report, carried out by construction consultants, Glenigan, covered 15 local authorities across England between March 2012 and December 2015. The data reveals that the time between planning permission being granted and construction work starting is generally the same for brownfield and greenfield sites, but that work on brownfield sites is completed more than six months quicker.

This new research illustrates that prioritising investment in brownfield sites is a highly effective way of building the homes we need. The research undermines claims that brownfield is either too slow or inconvenient to develop in comparison to greenfield.

In Hart’s case, it is also clear that brownfield sites have a much better chance of meeting the actual housing needs of the people of Hart, as it is much more likely that they will deliver the ~3,800 much needed, smaller 1 and 2-bed properties for the young as well as specialist units for the elderly that make up around one third of our housing need.

The case for a brownfield solution to our housing need gets stronger by the day.

As a result of this research, CPRE calls for changes to Government policy:

  • Amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make the intentions of Ministers clear and prioritise the use of suitable brownfield sites in urban areas over greenfield – including empowering councils not to allocate greenfield sites in local plans and to refuse planning permission on greenfield sites where these would compete with suitable brownfield sites
  • Commit to seeing development started on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020, rather than just aiming for planning permission on 90% of suitable sites by 2020
  • Make suitable brownfield sites the first priority for any public funding, and prevent public funding for greenfield sites where these would make competing demands
  • The Government should reform the New Homes Bonus to invest billions in regenerating brownfield sites
  • Make clear that planning and fiscal policies promoting brownfield development are focused on existing towns and cities, and damage to brownfield of high environmental or heritage value should be avoided

 

Winchfield Floods again

We have been sent a short movie showing flooding again on Station Road between Bagwell Lane and the Hurst on 9 March 2016.  This is in addition to the floods we documented on 4 Jan and 7 January 2016.

Surely, it cannot be sensible to plan for a new town in a place that has flooded three times in less than three months.

Please respond to the Hart Local Plan consultation by 18 March 2016

Hurry up, time is running out to respond to the Hart Council consultation about the Local Plan.

The consultation has now closed

The deadline for submissions to Hart Council’s Local Plan consultation is tomorrow, Friday 18th March.  So, please do respond.

Here is a quick reminder of the key arguments to help you make up your mind on how to respond:

First, there is a brownfield solution to meet our remaining housing needs that will not require either a new town or new urban extensions. The proposed densities in the brownfield option are not at all demanding, with an average density on the SHLAA sites of around 25 dwellings per hectare.  The proposed densities on the vacant office blocks are no different to some developments that Hart has already permitted on Fleet Road, such as the new McCarthy and Stone development.  Our proposals do not include Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), which could deliver even more houses on brownfield sites into the future if Hart Council is successful in reallocating that site for housing.

Remember that Hart Council themselves said back in September that brownfield capacity was 1,800 units and now they have miraculously lost 75% of them.  Since then, more sites have been identified and Hart has started to work with Government to build a brownfield register.

Second, we need to take a strategic view of the future and recognise that continuing to concrete over green fields equivalent to 25 football pitches each year is not at all sustainable and our children and grandchildren would not thank us for doing that.

The advantages of a brownfield solution are:

  • It preserves the very countryside that makes Hart such a great place to live,
  • Produces a greener solution, making better use of existing infrastructure and more efficient housing,
  • Delivers more of the smaller, more affordable housing of the types that we need to meet the needs of our young people aspiring to gain a foothold on the housing ladder,
  • Delivers more specialist accommodation for the elderly in the right places for them as well as freeing up larger properties for growing families,
  • Delivers infrastructure funding to existing communities where there is currently a £78m funding deficit
  • Lower risk of delivery because it is spread across a large number of sites with multiple developers

Of course, the new town proposal that is in the consultation has been undergoing testing for over a year now, and has identified a number of significant barriers including education, transport and foul water drainage.  The evidence to date shows the new town is simply not viable because the costs of the infrastructure required for a new town are astronomical and would never be met by developer contributions. One of the main arguments used in favour of a settlement at Winchfield, the presence of a railway station, is undermined by the suggestion that the station would have to be relocated to support the new town. If Hart were to choose the new town option, it runs the risk of not passing inspection because infrastructure delivery could not be guaranteed.

Finally, whilst we hope that the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment, (SHMA) when it is eventually delivered in June will result in a lower housing target for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath. But until then, the threat of Hart having to build 3,000 for those districts is very real.  Support for a new town will create capacity to build these extra houses which will mean we will end up with the worst of all worlds, a new town, urban extensions and dispersal across the district.

So, we urge all residents of Hart to reject a new town, reject urban extensions and get behind a brownfield solution and give Hart Council further encouragement to step up their efforts in this regard by responding to the consultation and putting support for a brownfield solution in the comments.

If you responded to the previous consultation and gave your email address, you should have been contacted by the council asking you whether you want to re-submit your response to the new consultation.  If you have received that e-mail, we recommend you re-submit your prior submission.  This can be done here.

If either you did not respond to the last consultation, want to modify your submission or you did not give your email address before, then you will need to submit a brand new response here. Please make sure all of your friends and family respond too.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and updated our 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

Response to Face IT article in Fleet News and Mail

 

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

FACE IT have been quoted in this week’s Fleet News & Mail, claiming that the “urban extension option may sound like a ‘brownfield’ solution but would actually mean an extra 2,173 homes being built on green fields in Fleet and Hook”.

It does appear that all of the efforts they have put into their campaign around the Hart Council’s Housing Option Consultation has exhausted them to such an extent that they now misunderstand the difference between types of development because nobody is arguing that urban extensions are somehow brownfield development in disguise.

They make spurious claims about school places, after making up their own estimate of how many extra school places might be required without doing a proper population projection.  Note that Hampshire County Council have not put in place any plans beyond 2018, are forecasting a surplus of secondary school places at that time and a reduction in the birth rate as well as admitting that Hart schools are educating many children from outside the district.

They also make some claims about the scale of development that has occurred in Fleet, Church Crookham and Hook and about how many houses would end up being built around Fleet and Hook under each of the options Hart has put forward. It is not clear where they get their numbers from, because they don’t tally with the figures we put together.

However, nobody would dispute that Hook in particular has seen a big rise in housing in both absolute and relative terms. But what we find difficult to understand is why Hook’s Neighbourhood Planning team and Parish Council are advocating the new town option as their first choice which would deliver more than 1,800 houses in Hook Parish and effectively coalesce Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant conurbation that might be named Hartley Winchook. This is more houses than the urban extension they oppose (730 houses), more than the dispersal option put forward by Hart Council (204 houses) and more than the brownfield solution put forward by We Heart Hart (only 57 new dwellings to be permitted).

FACE IT rightly say that the combination of Fleet, Church Crookham, Elvetham Heath and Ewshot (greater Fleet) has seen a lot of new housing in absolute terms over recent years. However, this is only part of the story as all parts of the district have seen significant development. When you look at the amount of new housing in proportion to size, the percentage increase for greater Fleet over the planning period of 2011-2031 is forecast to be around 17% for the dispersal and urban extension options and 14% with the new town option. This is below the average for the whole district at 21%, 18% and 18% respectively for each option and well below the percentage increases for places like Hartley Wintney which is forecast to see 34%, 39% and 21% increases for each of the options put forward by Hart.

The brownfield option that We Heart Hart has put forward has the potential to meet all of the remaining housing need and results in a more balanced distribution across the district in proportion to the size of existing settlements.  Our solution would result in a 23% increase for the greater Fleet area, 22% for Hartley Wintney and 27% for the smaller parishes that include Winchfield.

The proposed densities in the brownfield option are not at all demanding, with an average density on the SHLAA sites of around 25 dwellings per hectare.  The proposed densities on the vacant office blocks are no different to some developments that Hart has already permitted on Fleet Road, such as the new McCarthy and Stone development.  Our proposals do not include Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), which could deliver even more houses on brownfield sites into the future if Hart Council is successful in reallocating that site for housing.

We do agree with FACE IT, that we need to take a strategic view of the future, but we disagree on what that strategic vision might be.  In our view, continuing to concrete over green fields equivalent to 25 football pitches each year is not at all sustainable and our children and grandchildren would not thank us for doing that.

The advantages of a brownfield solution are:

  • It preserves the very countryside that makes Hart such a great place to live,
  • Produces a greener solution, making better use of existing infrastructure and more efficient housing,
  • Delivers more of the smaller, more affordable housing of the types that we need to meet the needs of our young people aspiring to gain a foothold on the housing ladder,
  • Delivers more specialist accommodation for the elderly in the right places for them as well as freeing up larger properties for growing families,
  • Delivers infrastructure funding to existing communities where there is currently a £78m funding deficit
  • Lower risk of delivery because it is spread across a large number of sites with multiple developers

Of course, the new town proposal that is in the consultation has been undergoing testing for over a year now, and has identified a number of significant barriers including education, transport and foul water drainage.  The costs of the infrastructure required for a new town are astronomical and would never be met by developer contributions. If Hart were to choose the new town option, it runs the risk of not passing inspection because infrastructure delivery could not be guaranteed.

We hope that the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment, (SHMA) when it is eventually delivered in June will result in a lower housing target for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath. But until then, the threat of Hart having to build 3,000 for those districts is very real.  Support for a new town will create capacity to build these extra houses which will mean we will end up with the worst of all worlds, a new town, urban extensions and dispersal across the district.

So, we urge all residents of Hart to reject a new town, reject urban extensions and get behind a brownfield solution and give Hart Council further encouragement to step up their efforts in this regard by responding to the consultation and putting support for a brownfield solution in the comments.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and updated our 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

Overview and Scrutiny Committee reports on consultation errors

Hart District Council (HDC) Overview and Scrutiny Committee to examine consultation errors

Hart Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee has produced its report in to the withdrawn Housing Options consultation.  Their report can be found here.

They make a number of recommendations:

  • Cabinet should consider whether the Council should adopt a code of practice to guide how future consultation exercises are undertaken. As an interim, the Joint Chief Executives should draw up and communicate to all officers’ clear guidance about how to conduct a consultation.
  • Staffing Committee should review the current Council structure to ensure that we have sufficient senior management support particularly at a time when the Council is undertaking significant projects and other areas of work.
  • The Joint Chief Executives should take a view on whether any training, capability or disciplinary action should be taken in respect of the findings of this report.
  • A document naming convention should be established for all documents saved by officers. The Council should expedite the introduction of SharePoint for document version management.
  • The processes for publishing on the Council website should be reviewed with the introduction of a two person check for any changes prior to publication When developing the timeline for future consultation exercises part of the process should include the user testing of documents and ensure wording has been reviewed as plain English.

These recommendations, especially when coupled with the decision to ask East Hampshire council to host and manage the plan making process, look sensible.

The key passage in what went wrong and why is:

During an informal conversation a senior planning policy officer mentioned the call to the Joint Chief Executive, Daryl Phillips [DP]. DP stated that he did not see it as a major issue, that there was no need to do anything at the time but that it could be reported as a factor to take into consideration when interpreting the findings from the consultation.

A senior planning policy officer subsequently decided that the response form provided online should be amended to include Dogmersfield and Crookham Village. Other officers, in accordance with the senior planning officer’s instructions, updated a word version of the document and this was published on 6 th January. The form that was updated and published was an earlier draft version of the document and apart from that new wording including Dogmersfield and Crookham Village, contained a number of other differences to the previous published form.

It will be interesting to see the Staffing Committee’s view on the Council structure and whether they recommend a strengthening of the senior management team.

We are slightly disappointed that their report has not addressed some of the wider issues we raised in our submission to the process.

It is now more important than ever that we get a good Local Plan published by the end of the year, or there is a significant risk the Government will step in and do the Local Plan for us.

We urge everyone to respond to the new consultation, and and ask Hart to create a brownfield solution to meet the housing needs of the young and elderly in Hart. We have created a dedicated consultation page, updated our two guides to responding to the consultation and they 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