Two wolves and a lamb vote on what to have for lunch

1st preferences for new town by location Hart Housing Options consultation Q4

Hart Council have published the results of the recent Refined Housing Options consultation.  The summary of the results can be found here, and a geographic analysis of the results of questions 4 and 5 can be found here.

There was strong first preference support for a new town at Winchfield, as can be seen in the table below:

 

Responses to Hart Housing Options Consultation Q4

However, there was strong second preference support for the dispersal and urban extension options. The geo-analysis of the responses to Approach 3 are shown in the image at the top of the page, where it is clear there was very strong support for a new town in Winchfield from Hook and Fleet. This is analogous to two wolves and a lamb getting together to vote on what to have for lunch, as there are clearly fewer people in Winchfield to vote against the new town proposal. However, there was clearly very strong opposition to the new town coming from Hartley Wintney.

Responses to Hart Housing Options Consultation Q5

There was a very mixed bag of opinion on how to combine the options.

As we have said before, these results are largely irrelevant now that the Pyestock (aka Hartland Village) brownfield site has come forward with capacity for around 1,500 homes. Hart Council have said that brownfield development will be the preferred strategy over any green field development. Not only that, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) will be revised soon and we hope the overall numbers will be revised downwards. Although we must be vigilant, because at least three developers are arguing that our housing target should be revised upwards by a very significant amount – more on that soon.

Hart Council are playing down the results, saying:

…the outcome of the Refined Housing Options Consultation should not be seen as determining which strategy the Council should follow to deliver its need to deliver new homes. The Options are still being tested against the evidence base which will include a refreshed SHMA, unmet need in neighbour districts, a sustainability appraisal, transport assessment, water cycle study, Habitats Regulation Assessment, and Adams Hendry site assessment report that will also help inform suitability of sites. It will be this information, when assessed as a whole, that will be used to assess which is the appropriate strategy to follow.

Hart District not building enough smaller properties to meet the needs of local people

Hart District building too many large houses to meet the needs of local people

We have now received the data from Hart District Council to show how many properties have been built or permitted since 2011 by the number of bedrooms. This shows that we have built only about half of the number of 1-bed properties we need and we haven’t built enough 3-bed properties. We have built nearly twice as many 4+bed properties than we need.

Hart District Housing completions by number of bedrooms compared to target

Hart District Housing completions by number of bedrooms compared to target

Outstanding permissions show that we will continue to over-build 4+bed properties and under-build 3-bed properties, although we will build about the right proportion of 1 and 2-bed properties.

This shows that of the remaining homes we need to build to meet our overall target of 7,534 homes, we need to increase the proportion of smaller 1, 2 and 3-bed properties to meet the needs of local people.

Overall we think that Hart Council needs to get smarter about how it monitors planning permissions so the Hart Local Plan gets as close as possible to meeting the needs of local people set out in the SHMA, as opposed to simply building houses that will maximise developer profits. It is also clear that we need to keep up the focus on brownfield development as that is much more likely to deliver more of smaller properties we need to help the younger generation on to the housing ladder.

The analysis to support these conclusions is shown below.

First, according to the current Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), Hart needs to build 7,534 dwellings in the plan period running from 2011-2032. The SHMA is also very clear on the sizes and types of housing that needs to be built, including the number of affordable homes for the young and specialist housing for the elderly.

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA Figure 9.8

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA Figure 9.8

Working through the arithmetic, and using HArt’s target of 40% affordable homes, we need to build in total the following number and proportion of properties by number of bedrooms:

Target Housing Need by number of bedrooms
Number of beds 1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4+bed Total
% need  as affordable 40.8% 33.2% 23.5% 2.5% 100.0%
% need as market 6.7% 28.0% 44.4% 20.8% 100.0%
Affordable Need             1,230               1,001                708                    75               3,014
Market Need         304         1,267             2,008                 941              4,520
Total Need                  1,533                  2,268                  2,717                  1,016                  7,534
% Total Need 20.4% 30.1% 36.1% 13.5% 100.0%

We can compare these proportions to the dwellings that have been built since 2011:

Gross Completions by year and number of bedrooms
Year 1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4+bed Grand Total
2010-11 35 43 14 25 117
2011-12 58 159 79 39 335
2012-13 5 42 92 96 235
2013-14 4 91 94 84 273
2014-15 22 94 121 103 340
Grand Total 124                     429                     400                     347                  1,300
% of Total 9.5% 33.0% 30.8% 26.7% 100.0%
Target % 20.4% 30.1% 36.1% 13.5%

This shows that we have built less than half of the proportion of 1-bed properties and have built nearly twice as many 4+bed properties compared to the target.

If we now look at the outstanding planning permissions, we can see there are over 3,000 dwellings permitted but not yet built as at 20 April 2016:

Gross Outstanding permissions by year of decision and number of bedrooms
Year 1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4+bed Grand Total
2003-4 4 1 5
2004-5 1 1
2006-7 1 1
2008-9 1 1
2009-10 1 1 2
2010-11 1 3 5 5 14
2011-12 4 13 22 23 62
2012-13 68 115 234 176 593
2013-14 132 207 78 58 475
2014-15 140 302 274 242 958
2015-16 273 309 221 166 969
2016-17 -1 2 4 5
Grand Total 623 949 838 676 3,086
% of Total 20.2% 30.8% 27.2% 21.9% 100.0%
Target % 20.4% 30.1% 36.1% 13.5%  

This shows the outstanding permissions will deliver about the right proportion of 1 and 2-bed properties, but not enough to make up the shortfall of those already built and will continue to under-build 3-bed properties and over-build 4+bed properties.

The data does not show the proportion of open-market versus affordable housing, nor does it show the proportion of specialist homes for the elderly. Overall we think this means that Hart needs to get smarter about how it monitors planning permissions so that we get as close as possible to meeting the needs of local people set out in the SHMA, as opposed to simply building houses that will maximise developer profits.

Thanks to Hart Council for putting in the effort to dig the raw data out of their systems, which I know has been a difficult task.

 

Evidence shows developer ‘land-banking’ in Hart District

Crony capitalist builder banking planning permissions and not building houses

New data from Hart District Council shows that crony capitalist builders are banking their planning permissions and not building at a high enough rate to meet our housing needs. Surely, it is time for local councils to be given more powers to force developers to build out their sites on a timely basis or transfer them to another builder who can.

First, let’s take a look at the net completions each year since the planning period started in 2011.

Year Net Completions
2010-11 92
2011-12 106
2012-13 197
2013-14 264
2014-15 338
Grand Total 1,195

Note, that according to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), we should be building at around 375 dwellings per annum to meet our housing needs, and in fact at a higher rate in the early years of the Local Plan period.

Now let’s take a look at the outstanding, uncompleted dwellings, by year of the decision to grant planning permission.

Year of grant Net uncompleted dwellings
2003 5
2005 1
2006 0
2008 1
2009 2
2010 14
2011 58
2012 591
2013 402
2014 793
2015 1,066
2016 148
Grand Total 3,081

This shows there are 1,074 dwellings that were granted permission on or before 2013 and have yet to be built, nearly the entire amount of new homes built since 2011. It is well known that the construction industry has long lead times, but surely more than 3 years from granting permission to completion is simply too long.

It is surely not right that developers turn up to planning appeals and seek to blame Hart Council for not building enough houses and use that to try and justify why their pet project should be granted permission, when it is clear the builders are simply storing up these planning permissions and not getting on with building the houses we need.

Sadly, this is in-line with the House of Lords Select Committee that said:

We see the gap between planning permissions and housing completions as a fundamental one in respect of securing increased housing supply. In a climate where over 240,000 homes a year are being granted planning permission, it is a fundamental failure of the development system that over 100,000 fewer homes are actually being built. This situation must be addressed.

It is also in-line with our own research that shows how developers have taken control of the planning system for their own ends.

Thanks to Hart Council for putting in the effort to dig the raw data out of their systems, which I know has been a difficult task.

 

What does the Hampshire devolution bunfight mean for Hart District?

Heart of Hampshire devolution proposals

There is a tremendous battle raging over the future of local government in Hampshire. There are competing visions for how Hampshire should be governed being put forward by both Hampshire County Council and the Heart of Hampshire local authorities, with no clear view on what solution will be adopted.

The row started after proposals were submitted to Government by Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Eastleigh and East Hampshire for a ‘Solent Combined Authority’. Apparently, discussions on this approach are being progressed with Government.

This leaves open the question of how the rest of Hampshire will be governed. The remaining Hampshire local authorities comprising Basingstoke and Deane, Winchester, Rushmoor, New Forest, and Test Valley, together with the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership are exploring the potential for a combined authority and devolution deal with Government, tentatively called ‘The Heart of Hampshire Combined Authority’. Details of these proposals can be found here and here. The benefits of this proposal are claimed to include:

  • Responsibility for a multiyear consolidated and devolved local transport budget.
  • Powers over strategic planning and housing, including responsibility for creating a spatial planning framework for the Heart of Hampshire, supporting the duty to co-operate requirements, and to chair the Heart of Hampshire Joint Investment and Assets Board.
  • The ability to franchise bus services, subject to necessary legislation and local consultation.
  • Control of a new additional £30 million a year funding allocation over 30 years, to be invested to the Heart of Hampshire Single Investment Fund, to boost growth.
  • Responsibility for developing a Strategic Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will identify the infrastructure needed to support the delivery of new homes and improve transport and broadband connectivity across the area.
  • Responsibility for the 19+ Adult Education Budget, which will be devolved from academic year 2018/19

On the one hand, these look like reasonable proposals, however, they appear to simply add a new tier of Government in that Hampshire County Council remains in place with a reduced set of responsibilities and a new elected mayor of the Heart of Hampshire is put in place alongside all of the existing local authorities. This doesn’t appear to create any savings either by reducing the number of senior management posts, consolidating the number of councillors or entering into shared service arrangements to make savings in the back office.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is fighting back and has produced its own set of options contained in a report by Deloitte.

Hampshire County Council favoured devolution option - unitary council.

HCC clearly favours an option where the remaining authorities are consolidated into a giant unitary county authority, with the existing unitary authorities of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight (IoW) remaining in place. It is said this option generates £389.6m of net savings over a 10 year period from a reduction in senior management positions, reducing the number of councillors, reducing corporate services, optimising service delivery and savings in property costs. These proposals would effectively mean the abolition of most of the existing local authorities. These proposals do not apparently include a new mayor and so would miss out on the additional central Government funding on offer for new combined authorities.

Again, these proposals have some merit, but such a large county structure may effectively disenfranchise large numbers of voters and make it more difficult effectively to hold the new council to account.

A further option of 4 unitary councils (Option G) is also considered  appears to have more accountability with centres of local Government closer to the people and this option generates net savings of £250.5m over 10 years.

HCC does not endorse the Solent and Heart of Hampshire proposals and the leaders of the Hampshire boroughs are ‘disappointed’ that HCC have pressed ahead with the Deloitte report without informing or consulting them.

It is clear there is a massive bunfight going on and it is difficult to see how these competing ideas will play out. However, HCC is calling for wide consultation across the county on how we should be governed. It might be a good idea to try and take the best of each of the competing ideas, by adopting the Option G approach in the HCC report and moving to “combined authorities” with elected mayors and financial benefits from Government. The new combined authorities may even be able to share back office functions and make even greater savings.

We will keep you updated as we learn more, particularly if we can see how it will impact the Hart Local Plan.

 

 

£27m brownfield development in Hook approved

Decorean Brownfield development in Hook, Hampshire

Fast-growing London-based construction company, Decorean has won the contract for the £27m office to residential development of Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook, Hampshire.  The details of their press release is shown below. This represents another step along the long journey to demonstrate the Hart Local Plan can meet our remaining housing needs from brownfield development alone, and don’t need to concrete over any more of our countryside.

The development, which represents one of the UK’s largest office to residential developments in a business park to date, will see the 84,000sq ft business park, change from existing commercial usage into 107 modern one and two bedroom apartments, set over three floors. The flats will include oversized windows, high ceilings and will be built to a high standard.

The construction is expected to be completed in winter 2017. To date, a quarter of the units have been exchanged. The sale price of each unit in Hook is between £200-250K, in line with Decorean’s desire to build affordable and high quality living.

The park had previously attracted a number of major occupiers including Virgin Media and BMW.

Shraga Stern, Managing Director of Decorean, said: “The apartments will be built to the company’s usual high and exacting standard, exemplifying our dedication to perfection. The location of this site is particularly exciting for us with London being less than an hour away by train, making it a desirable commuter location. We are committed to creating high quality, affordable housing and proud of this development.”

 

 

Berkeley Homes launches Hartland Village consultation website

Berkeley Homes (St Edward) launches consultation site for new development at Hartland Village, aka Pyestock and Hartland Park

Proposed location of the new Hartland Village development at the former Pyestock NGTE site, near Fleet Hampshire

Berkeley Homes has launched a consultation website about its proposed Hartland Village development of 1,500 new homes at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), near Fleet, Hampshire.  Its subsidiary St Edward Homes has now named the new development Hartland Village.

The consultation site can be found here.

They have published an email address to which local residents can register for further updates: hartlandvillage@glhearn.com

Berkeley Homes’ representatives, GL Hearn have also sent letters to local businesses asking for their comments.  A copy of such a letter can be found here.

In the letter they say:

St Edward is now in the process of developing proposals for a residential development of the site, which would make a significant contribution towards meeting the need for new homes in the area. As a brownfield (already developed) site, Hartland Village will be an ideal location for delivery of new homes in a development with a distinctive character of its own with village shops and community facilities.

St Edward is committed to thorough public consultation on all of its projects and it is anticipated that the first round of engagement with local people will take place in the next few months. Further details of these public events and initial proposals for the site will be publicised in due course.

We Heart Hart encourages everyone to participate in this initial consultation, and would suggest that the proposed development is welcomed, but also make clear that this new development should take account of the following points:

  1. The proposed site is large at 135 acres.  It is essential we make the best use of this previously developed land, and we would encourage Berkeley Homes to consider building at a higher density than that proposed.  1,500 homes on 135 acres amounts to only around 27.5 dwellings per hectare – densities of double that should be considered.
  2. The area is short of truly affordable homes for local people, so the development should include a fair provision of smaller, starter homes for those struggling to get on the housing ladder. Remember just calling homes ‘affordable’ does not make them so and due note should be given to understanding what is genuinely affordable to those households on median incomes in the district
  3. It is essential that proper infrastructure is delivered alongside this development such as schools as well as shops and community facilities. Some of this land should be set aside to meet the educational needs of the area.
  4. We should also take a properly strategic view of transport and use this opportunity to build new roads and/or modify the existing road network to improve traffic flow in and around Fleet.
  5. It will be important to deliver proper SANG provision for recreation and sports facilities.
  6. Fleet Pond and its immediate surroundings should be protected.
  7. Decontamination of the land should be done properly, so there is no risk to future residents

 

Busy time ahead for the Hart Local Plan

Keep Calm and Wait for news about the Hart Local Plan

News about the Hart Local Plan has been sparse lately, but we can expect a flurry of news over the coming weeks.

First, now that the council elections are over, we can expect the results of the recent consultation to be released over the next few weeks.  Of course, we don’t know the results, but whatever the outcome, the results will be of limited value given that Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), has emerged as an additional brownfield site with capacity of around 1,500 dwellings.

Second, the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), together with the related Employment Land Review (ELR) have been in gestation for a few months now and we should hear of the new housing numbers in the next few weeks.  We Heart Hart is hopeful the new SHMA will result in Hart being asked to build 1,000-1,500 fewer houses over the planning period.  Of course, the new SHMA should also reduce the allocation for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor and the new ELR should enable Rushmoor in particular to release more of the brownfield sites it is protecting. The net result should reduce the risk of Hart being asked to build 3,100 extra houses for those districts.

Third, the results of Hart’s brownfield study should be released in the next couple of months and will set out a more sensible view of the brownfield capacity of the district.

Finally, should also expect the revised timetable for the Hart Local Plan to be released, so we will know when we will be asked our views. Expectations are the draft Local Plan should be released in September or October.

Election update: Hook candidates declare their positions

We Love Hart Ballot Box

Hook Action Against Over Development have been in touch with some of the local candidates for Hook ward in the Hart District Council local elections 2016, and managed to get some additional information out of their local candidates and have circulated this in an email to their supporters.

This is reproduced below, with our response where appropriate. The appropriate detailed pages for each party have been updated accordingly as well as our summary page.  The detailed party pages are:

Colin Ive, Liberal Democrat – No election leaflet delivered, local party website has no information on the current elections and no candidate contact details.

Mike Morris, The Conservative Party Candidate:

I joined the council because of the 550 houses that were proposed at NE Hook and out of choice became part of the planning team that is processing that site and others around Hook. As you know none of which I welcomed and said so in front of all that attended the Basingstoke Hotel Hook residents meeting.

I do not support urban extensions as they do not bring forward sufficient new infrastructure capacity but just overload current capacity. Nor do some Brownfield sites under permitted development! However I welcome the proposed development at Hartlands (sic) Park (Pyestock) with its 1000 plus housing which will reduce the housing numbers Hart has to deliver. Nevertheless this hasn’t changed my mind regarding the need for a large settlement site at Winchfield which I support as its deemed the only sustainable and developable site in the district to deliver sufficient housing numbers for the current ( impending ) plan and the future.

As you would expect every District Councillor defends his Ward and therefore some of my Conservative colleagues particularly those serving Wards in and adjacent to Winchfield would naturally be against the proposed Winchfield development. I fully understand their position and I would do the same if it applied to Hook or Rotherwick.

I’m unaware of a party line to vote one way or another on any future development and always intended to vote for and on behalf of Hook and Rotherwick residents within best practice in terms of planning policy.

Our response:

  1. Hart Council has said Hartland Park has capacity for 1,500 homes, not 1,000.  And of course it will not reduce the number of houses Hart has to deliver, but will make a significant contribution to meeting the alleged ‘need’.
  2. All of the sites proposed for the Winchfield new town are classified as “not currently developable” in the SHLAA, so it is misleading to suggest otherwise.  No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that a new town at Winchfield is ‘sustainable’.
  3. Hook is adjacent to Winchfield, and indeed around 1,850 of the proposed 5,000 new houses in the Hartley Winchook new town are actually in Hook parish.  One might hope that Hook councillors would acknowledge this fact and look more closely at our brownfield proposal that would result in fewer new houses in Hook than any of the other proposals.  Now that Pyestock is on the table, this is now self-evident.

Verd Nabbs, The Labour Party Candidate

From printed election material:

Local councillors have surprisingly limited powers, but they can be held to account, so they represent YOUR views. In particular over the proposed Winchfield development. A new development will prevent the irresponsible expansion of existing towns and will come with essential infrastructure improvements. We need to act now, before a solution is imposed upon us!

Dai Rees, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Statement from local branch website:

On housing, a UKIP representative would weigh up the merits of any particular project and would decide accordingly. We all understand the results of over-development – schools, doctor’s surgeries, roads etc. simply cannot cope with the additional strain being placed upon them but nothing ever seems to get done to curb the problem. A UKIP councillor would introduce a measure of realism into the debate and could be relied upon to listen to residents and take account of any grievances they may have. We recognise that new dwellings do have to be built to cope with the increase in our population – caused largely by a laissez-faire attitude to immigration by subsequent governments – but accommodating additional persons must be done sensibly and UKIP councillors would concentrate on brown field sites as a priority.

A UKIP councillor would support improved infrastructure measures and would seek to ensure that there are better schooling and medical facilities, more parking places especially where doing so helps local businesses, and an improved transport network.

[Update] the UKIP candidate has now said he will oppose a new town in Hook. [/Update]

 

 

 

Greens set out their position on Winchfield, Pyestock and housing policy

Green Party Logo

The local Green Party have been in touch, setting out their position on the key planning issues impacting the Hart Local Plan and some ideas on broader housing policy.  In short, all of the candidates oppose Winchfield New Town and support redeveloping the brownfield site at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park). This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

We have updated our summary page, and table of candidates accordingly.  The detail of their response is reproduced below.

In brief I can confirm that the local [Green] party, and all its candidates in these elections are opposed to the Winchfield new town, but support the latest proposal for redevelopment of housing in Pyestock.
1. Winchfield – No. It is not required to meet Hart’s own housing targets and  by concreting over such swathes of green space, would be the destruction of Hart as we know it for generations to come. In addition, Winchfield simply does not have the infrastructure to support a New Town – it would put strain on GPs, schools, roads and quality of life – not just in Winchfield but also in Hook, Fleet, Hartley Wintney, etc.
2. Pyestock for housing – Yes. By developing brownfield sites such as Pyestock, Hart’s housing targets can be met through dispersal of home building, and lessen the burden on roads and facilities in a concentrated area. Additionally, such developments are eligible for central Government grants towards infrastructure and do not leave HDC at the mercy of council tax hikes and s106-shy developers.
Our more detailed response will include demands for any new housing to be zero- or negative-carbon and high density, and any new roads to incorporate cycle lanes. But more importantly, we don’t see this as being just about whether or not to build the Winchfield development and need to address the broader policy – how the housing need projections are worked out and allocated. If this area continues to be put under pressure to build new houses, taking in allocations from outside the area, other beautiful rural areas will be hit.
We need to emphasise the importance of rural, countryside for everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to live in villages/ rural areas. There are genuine benefits for non residents too – loads of research on mental health benefits, conservation, getting children engaged with nature, air quality etc.
And we  need to be offering alternatives, and to acknowledge the problems lots of people have in getting onto the property ladder. Is continuing to build in the over-developed South East really the answer? Should we be pushing for a more equal distribution of investment, for example, promoting business growth and sustainable development in northern England?
Consequently we are developing a vision starting with what the area should look like in 2030, and then how to get there.
We Heart Hart welcomes the stance of the Green Party on the local development issues in Hart and broadly accept many of their ideas on wider housing policy.

Government to support site remediation at Pyestock

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

Brownfield site: Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

The minutes of April’s Hart District Council meeting have been published and they show that the Government will provide some support to help remediate the Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) brownfield site, where it is proposed that 1,500 new homes will be built.  Moreover, the Defence Secretary was receptive to the idea of the Ministry of Defence providing some land that could be used for Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).

This is very good news in that it shows the Government is starting to deliver on its support for brownfield development.  The key quotes from the minutes are:

To this end I asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, to spare me some time for a brief meeting to discuss this matter [North of Hampshire devolution], in particular to enquire whether ministers would be receptive to a Heart of Hampshire bid; they would.

Whilst I had him in my office, I raised the proposed Pyestock development with the Secretary of State, in particular the issue of the funding of site remediation, as developer funds spent on remediation are not available for necessary infrastructure. I am happy to report that there will be some help available, and I will contact him again at the appropriate time.

I also raised Pyestock with the Secretary of State for Defence, the Right Honourable Michael Fallon MP on his visit to Hart today. I wanted to talk to him as the Pyestock site is surrounded by MOD land, and I want to ensure it remains as an undeveloped buffer between Fleet and Farnborough. I was able to brief him on the Pyestock site on the status of the site surroundings with emphasis on the constraints. He was receptive to the principle, and has taken away maps of the site one of which was overlaid with designations such as SSSIs and SINCs.