There was a bad tempered meeting of Hart Council yesterday, where they debated a motion designed to give guidance to the planners as they seek to produce the draft Local Plan.
Concrete Community Campaign Hart’s (CCH) attempt to mandate a new settlement in Hart was defeated by 19 votes to 13.
The original motion was passed with an amendment to include provisions for providing essential infrastructure and a new secondary school:
That the Council resolves that through its Local Plan it will seek to meet Hart’s full, objectively assessed need for new homes, subject to the inclusion of an appropriate contingency to allow for any delays or the non-delivery of sites, and that it will also seek to accommodate any demonstrated unmet need for new homes from its Housing Market Area partners and additionally provide for essential infrastructure including a site for a secondary school.
There was a second amendment proposed by Community Campaign Hart to mandate the planners to include a new settlement in the Hart Local Plan. This proposed amendment was vigorously debated and defeated. This means that the planners will not be forced to include a new settlement in their proposals. However, it does not yet mean that a new settlement is entirely ruled out. This shows that support for a new settlement for Hart is losing support, compared to the vote two years ago where almost all councillors voted for Winchfield to be the only new settlement option to be tested. It was gratifying to see a number of Tories and long-standing Liberal Democrats changing their position from two years ago.
Claimed 1,500 housing reduction untrue
In other news, it was confirmed that Hart’s claimed reduction of 1,500 homes is not quite what it seems. The 1,500 ‘reduction’ is the removal of the potential threat from Rushmoor, not a reduction on Hart’s allocation of 7,534 houses. It is understood that the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) has reduced Rushmoor’s housing allocation but kept Hart’s at about the same level as before. The council would not confirm precise numbers, but it is understood the contingency referred to above is around 120-150 homes, or 15% of the residual 850-1,000 requirement, after assuming Hartland Village (Pyestock) will go ahead.
There were some interesting questions from members of the public, including from representatives of Hook Action Against Over Development and Fleet and Church Crookham Society.
Hook Action were clearly pushing for a new settlement in their questions, which is a strange position to take. We believe that the proposed Winchfield New Town has failed testing. This would leave Murrell Green as a potential candidate for a new settlement which would see 1,850 new houses in Hook Parish.