CCH force delay to the Hart Local Plan as housing numbers rise

CCH force delay to Hart Local Plan- this is no time to keep calm

This is no time to keep calm

We Heart Hart has learned that last night’s meeting of the Hart Local Plan Steering Group was a”disaster”.  Concrete Community Campaign Hart (CCH) councillors forced a further delay on to the timetable by insisting that Winchfield New Town is included as an option.

Affordable Housing blow

In a further blow, it appears as though Hart’s housing allocation has been further inflated by up to 2,000 additional houses due to new Government guidelines that may force Hart to build even more ‘Affordable Homes’. This new requirement would be in addition to the 40% of homes that must be ‘Affordable’ in the SHMA target.

Apparently, there are no plans to publish the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) until they are ready to publish the Regulation 18 consultation on the new draft Local Plan. We don’t know the timescale for that yet.

This shows that Hart’s statement in October that Hart had to build 1,500 fewer houses was a total sham.

Impact of Delay to the Hart Local Plan

There were three potential options on the table at LPSG for detailed consideration. However, CCH insisted on a fourth option that included the Winchfield New Town. We don’t know the specifics of the other options, but we suspect they included Grove Farm/Netherhouse Copse.

WeHeartHart had been led to believe that the Winchfield New Town option failed testing due to concerns about groundwater flooding and lack of infrastructure. The level of testing that was carried out is now in doubt. It is difficult to see how a further delay and more testing is going to change the viability of the new town.

CCH’s stance is strange because the delay to the Local Plan will weaken Hart’s defences against the speculative applications being submitted by developers. The proposed developments at Grove Farm/Netherhouse Copse and Bramshill House are due to be determined at tonight’s Planning Committee meeting. Of course, an application to develop the Pale Lane site into Elvetham Chase has recently been submitted and this will need to be determined in the New Year. If there is no draft Local Plan, then it will be difficult to defend against it.

Conclusion

It is imperative that we get the Hart Local Plan in place quickly so we can manage the inevitable housing growth that we face. CCH should stop their ideological pursuit of the unviable Winchfield New Town and start to work constructively to solve the problems of the whole district.

We would wish to see many new homes that are truly affordable for Hart residents. However, there is strong evidence of developer land-banking in Hart and of not building enough smaller properties. Simply increasing the housing target won’t lead to a meaningful increase in housing supply. Even the smallest properties at recent developments (for instance Rifle Range Farm/Hartley Row Park at Hartley Wintney) were out of reach of most Hart residents. We think the new additional target for affordable homes should be vigorously challenged.

Posted in Hart District Council, Hart Local Plan, Hart SHMA, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

40 Comments

  1. Pingback: Community Campaign Hart incompetence could cost taxpayers millions | We Heart Hart

    • Many of us now considering the same thing Lesley – but have been warned to tread carefully in case we jeopardise our objection to the Elv Chase application! Def watch this space

  2. Katie Davies of course. I did post it there yesterday.

    If you are furious now, you better take a mogadon before reading tomorrow and Saturday’s posts.

    The council have gone totally dysfunctional.

    • Having read the latest article on CCH I have now taken half a mogadon and a half bottle of gin. Based on what is in the article and the promise of more to come i saved the other half of both mogadon and gin

    • What a shame Hart DC dont have the skills to make a point and then have a proposed solution. If the council was run by professionals the plan would have been delivered years ago – all we get are petty, amatuers trying to play politics when they dont have that skill either

  3. nothing about this process feels transparent. Its all cloak and daggers now. I know the minutes of the steering group are published but there must be far more information than that which we are not privvy to I’m sure.

    • True, but the FOI act is implemented by civil servants, not the politicians, so there is less of a cloak and dagger aspect to it. My suggestion would be (if it’s not in the public domain), ask for the reports the councillors were supplied for their debate at the last meeting and also (as a separate request), a detailed explanation for the formula used to calculate the housing need for Hart and (again separately) the documentary evidence that shows the need to increase from the previous value to the new value.

  4. I don’t think you can request early publication by FOI, and demanding might be counterproductive. But there must be a documentation trail for the process that they are following so I don’t see on what basis they could refuse if the request is specific and reasonable in terms of transparent government

  5. I agree Chris Blake. But they have said they aren’t publishing the SHMA for some time. Perhaps we should demand it’s early publication so it can be challenged.

  6. It seems inconceivable that they could magic up an extra 2000 homes. There must be a calculation (or negotiation) behind this. In either case, they are bound by FOI rules, so they’ve got to say what their approach is. Once this is in the public domain, it is more open to challenge.

  7. David Turver – do you know how the target is calculated? I’m just interested because there are 200 district councils (according to wikipedia) with unitary authorities too, which presumably don’t have districts. Multiply 200*10000 homes give 2m+, which I thought was above the national “target”. Obviously this multiplication approach is much too simplistic, so I was wondering how the calculation actual works. What I’m interested in understanding is whether Hart is being asked to take a below or above average share of the national target.

  8. The really worrying thing though is the potential increase in overall housing target. That would take our allocation up from ~7,500 to around 9,600. This needs to be robustly challenged, because the change in the population forecasts should have REDUCED our housing target to ~6,000-6,500.

  9. Sue, it’s a reference to the decision just after the farce of a consultation to ask East Hants to effectively take over the Hart planning function and produce the Local Plan for us.

  10. Not sure what the statement ‘Conservative Councillors are so ashamed of their performance that they have asked East Hampshire Council to prepare a plan for them’ as above means though?

  11. Yet we have flyers through the door with statements such as this from County Cllr David Simpson ‘ it appears to be an open secret that Winchfield failed the test for sustainable development’

  12. If it’s true they’ve done no testing of Winchfield at all, then that is just shambolic. In November 2014, the council mandated that should be the only option to be tested.

  13. Anne, can I just get this clear – so in the months (nearly years) since the council announced Winchfield was their preferred option they have done absolutely nothing in the way of sounding out the viability of their preferred option?

  14. It was in black and white in the consultation – the urban extensions would be required in addtion to Winchfield to fill the development requirements in the (probably) 10yrs it would take to lay a brick. Blimey Anne at this rate this plan is destined to be a record breaker for all the wrong reasons.

  15. you are right Sue. It can take years before a large development begins building. CCH can’t seem to grasp the fact that we have to build houses in the meantime.

  16. I fail to see how adding Winchfield back into the pot can possibly aid CCH – even if Winchfield were ever to go ahead surely all the other sites would be required anyway and we really will be concrete all over. If Winchfield has defintely failed testing then why can we not have a pubic statement to that effect and so stop the continued speculation. No matter how many times CCH demand Winchfield, if its not viable then it can’t happen. This loop will become endless…

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