Winchfield new town – EIA requested by developers

Developers request EIA Assessment of Winchfield New Town

Developers request screening opinion EIA Assessment of Winchfield New Town

Barton Willmore have submitted an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinion on Winchfield New Town (aka Garden Community). The application can be found here and searching for application number 17/02592/EIA.

As far as we can tell, the proposed site directly abuts the proposed Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) development. The proposal is for:

  • 2,000 new dwellings
  • A new secondary school
  • Up to 2 new primary schools
  • Children’s nursery
  • Two local/neighbourhood centres
  • 4 Ha of employment land
  • Provision of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace

Reasons to oppose Winchfield New Town

As might be expected, we oppose this new development on  number of grounds:

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

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

  1. The site is not in the draft Local Plan, and to change the Local Plan so significantly would require another round of consultation and more delay, putting at risk other sensitive sites such as Pale Lane and West Hook.
  2. Development of this scale is simply not required. The new Government approach to calculating housing needs would result in 6,132 new houses for Hart compared to the unnecessary and ridiculous 10,185 in the draft Local Plan.
  3. The site is totally unsuitable for such large scale development due to flood risk as we documented here (4 Jan) , here (7 Jan)here (9 March on Station Road) and here (28 March due to #StormKatie). The area of Taplins Farm Lane near the railway bridge flooded three times in 2016 alone.
  4. Lack of road infrastructure
  5. Historic Environment
  6. Bio-diversity
  7. Landscape
  8. Water Quality

We suggest that you add your comments by logging on to Hart’s public access system on this link, and searching for 17/02592/EIA.

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


  1. Sorry, just to go back to my question about understanding our councillors’ position on reducing the housing total and their views on the need for development at Winchfield and Pyestock… The conservative group have responded. Could I ask for comments from CCH And the Lib Dems please?

    • I’ll give them a bit longer. I know some of them are on facebook. If they don’t get a chance to respond this way, or don’t feel FB is an appropriate forum, I’ll approach them directly and report back.

    • David – As I said, I’ll give the Lib Dems and CCH a day or two and then approach them directly to ask for clarification on their approach. i.e. let them say what they believe in their own words. I have no idea whether this approach will work, but I’m going to try and see if we can all find some common ground in this fractious debate.

    • James Radley has responded to my question. His response is:

      “I am probably the best placed to explain the CCH position on housing numbers. It is true that as a rule we do not engage in social media debates, mainly due to a lack of time. As well as trying to fit in my day job I also expect to spend over 6 hours in total in the council offices today and similarly tomorrow. Social media debates are very time consuming in order to stay on top of all the posts and then the debate tends to descend to the lowest common denominator. I for one would certainly rather put the time and effort in where it matters and unless one is going to invest all that precious time in the social media arena, better not to engage at all.

      Unfortunately WHH are wrong in their assessment of housing numbers. They are citing a baseline figure in a government consultation paper which is not part of the planning policy framework in effect at this point in time and is a figure which even if it was policy is taken as a starting point on top of which other factors will add to the housing numbers needed.

      We lost the fight against Grove Farm because we don’t have a local plan in place. We don’t have a local plan because the Conservatives have allowed it to drift for years in a sea of procrastination driven by their internal in fighting.

      The main reason for taking control was to get the local plan out and to do so by a total focus and not letting the intentional disruptions from WHH to deflect us from that. It is quite clear that if we don’t get a local plan out that is based on realistic and future proof housing numbers, then Fleet & Church Crookham will continue to be blighted by bolt on developments such as Grove Farm, Pale Lane and whatever is next.

      WHH know this and are trying to undermine the new settlement option in the full knowledge that they are condemning us to yet more incremental developments which do not produce any retrospective infrastructure.

      I hope that my brief explanation helps”

    • This is the question I asked CCH and the Lib Dems to respond to: “I write to you ask a question about your party’s policy towards supporting (or not) a reduced housing total for Hart District. Specifically in regard of this statement by David Turver on the We Heart Hart (WHH) Facebook page: ” If Hart followed the latest Government approach to calculating housing need, even Hartland Park wouldn’t be needed. The remaining housing need could be met from Sun Park and any number of other small brownfield sites.””.

      I also explained some background to why I was asking (about this thread with a link to it and me trying to find something we can all get behind), my position/views (which I’ve obviously stated here in the past) and that I am not aligned to, or even necessarily in agreement with any of the hart pressure groups. I also said both both parties that I would copy and paste their responses into this thread.

      By the way, I have yet to hear from the Lib Dems.

    • Thanks Chris Blake. I will do a post about this in a few days. I learned something interesting from the Face IT page the other day, which led me to believe they don’t understand how the household projections are calculated.

      Basically, the past five years rate of household growth (number of new houses) is projected forwards, adjusting for birth rate and death rate. This means that if we build now at twice the rate required, then this rate will be forever projected forwards, leading to Hart becoming a conurbation.

      I am working on a post about that first: trying to work out how to explain and illustrate it in the simplest terms.

  2. It’s incredible to me that suddenly the Tories are out firing their arrows at the new administration. Let me be clear in saying I support not one party over another as it seems that there is always some political and financial ulterior motive at play that we, the general public don’t know about. Considering that the Conservatives have run Hart for a great length of time I think it’s fair to say that some finger pointing should be turned directly to you, missing deadlines to submit plans has been one of the major problems previously, the foundations of this mess have been put in place by you! When I came in to one of the open days where Tory councillors attempted to defend the recent decisions over local development I came away more confused and angered than when I arrived. They openly and quite proudly announced that although their target had been set at around 6,000 homes for Hart with 20% of those needing to be affordable housing, they had in fact CHOSEN to build 10,000 + to allow the developers to make more profit on private homes, THEN affordable housing would be considered and using the extra profits as a bargaining tool they would ask developers to provide minimal infrastructure, a few more primary schools here and there, allowing the council to wash their hands. Forced?! Steve Forster, it has already been decided.
    It’s always been profit over people or countryside. As I read from the latest release by the new council, they are busy focusing heavily on rebuilding the local economy which is also top priority as the population here increases to encourage people to stay here to work and spend rather than jumping in the queues of traffic to leave for greener pastures i.e Surrey Heath who’s quota we’re taking on because they don’t have room apparently and who’s MP is Mr. M. Gove I might add.
    May I suggest getting off Facebook and actually working together with your fellow councillors to make a plan that works for everyone, work on building better roads, schools, healthcare and facilities and get the job that was started by your party done, instead of using David’s post as some political points scoring game. We could instead discuss the recent media hype shared by a few national newspapers on turning the nations eye to Hart, advertising it as ‘the best place in the U.K. to live!’ about the same time as plans for Winchfield were submitted? And seeing as the main reason Hart have been given targets for development to provide affordable housing, how did you include that in your previous plans?

    • Interesting rant, Sarah.

      Harts LibDem led CCH council has effectively abandoned having any focus on regeneration with no cabinet member having it as a focus. As for actual work- they haven’t achieved anything except delays and cost increases. In fact many of their cabinet members don’t even turn up for council and group meetings, and sit through entire meetings without commenting or debating, so their focus is somewhat unknown.

      Conservatives worked with other parties as we didn’t have an overall majority – and Hart actually had a multi party cabinet because of that. Conservatives also formed a cross party group that took the LP forward, based on the housing numbers that were appropriate. The LibDems are refusing to engage and cobsider the new lower housing numbers: We lobbied government for change and that’s now here so we’re telling the LibDem CCH administration they should use them, but they seem intent on forcing through Winchfield and higher numbers.

      As for me ‘getting off facebook’. No way, Sarah. It enables me to communicate effectively, learn what residents want, and informs my activities. Conservatives are trying to work with the LibDem CCH cabinet but they’re often doing things in secret behind closed doors. One particular cabinet member even failed to turn up to Overview & Scrutiny to avoid being questioned. We’re addressing that.

    • Thank you for your response Steve. Whilst my comments may seem like a ‘rant’ I’m sure many other residents are just as frustrated as I am with this whole charade. As I said, I’m disappointed by the majority of local MPs across all parties. Tories have to accept responsibility for the rocky foundations all of this is based on, no? You can argue with me over new numbers, but the fact remains that that targets set by central government have always been considerably lower than the 10,000+ homes submitted originally by your party.

    • Sarah Bryant sorry but since the original housing numbers locally were submitted and agreed jointly, to include an uplift for affordable homes, by all 3 Hart political parties, your statement is actually incorrect.

  3. Ok, good to see that you can make a very positive statement at Winchfield. Not so great that you can’t be so positive about Hartllands. So I interpret your comment that if nothing changes, you want to protect west Hart at the expense of east Hart. But, if the government accept the lower target, you will also protect east Hart? Please correct me if I’m wrong. By the way, I realise this isn’t the language that you’d use to describe your position, but many of us in east Hart feel we are being sacrificed by the conservatives to protect west Hart, which implies that the conservatives don’t care about the impact of east Hart, or at leat they care more about west Hart. I’d like to believe this isn’t the case. So, I’d appreciate it you could explain to me why anybody, who cares about over development in east Hart, would vote Conservative if I’ve understood you position? Just so that you know, I have voted for your party before, and might again in the future, but at the moment, what I perceive as your anti-east Hart stance would make that very difficult, but I’m open to persuasion.

    • We’re against any more homes than we have to have. Those we do have to build should be on brownfield. If we can avoid housing on Pyestock that would begreat. It’s the only large Brownfield site around and if it isn’t used for housing it’ll be used as a warehouse distribution centre, with huge volumes or lorry movements 24/7, as planning permission for that was granted some years ago. We’d rather see neither but that’s not realistic.

      Many Conservatives don’t favour building there at all, for good reason (we are determined to protect Fleet Pond) but LibDems and CCH want to force far more houses into the local plan which means Pyestock would be built.

      Conservatives feel it’s unnecessary if the new housing numbers can go through so we’re pushing for them to be adopted.

    • We are in no way favouring east or west of Hart, just trying to do the right thing for all residents. For all development, brownfield is preferred option of Hart as a whole. Thus the reason Pyestock was a preferred site. If the local plan stands as is, Murrell Green, selected as the new settlement, would come forward.

      However, the Government housing consultation has Hart’s numbers being reduced by nearly 50%. We are pushing the current Lib Dem/CCH administrator to follow these new numbers but they are making decisions behind closed doors so we don’t know what they are doing.

  4. At the time of the Local Plan consultation, roughly 5,500 units had already been built or granted permission. If we assume Hart will still have to build some houses for Surrey Heath, then Hart’s new target of 6,132 might rise to 6,500. That puts the remaining target at around 1,000. From memory, Sun Park is around 450. Sadly, Grove Farm has also been granted permission. That leaves around 120 to go.

    There’s an application due to be submitted soon for around 120 units at the Rawlings depot in Hook. Plus a number of office conversions in the pipeline.

    Job done.

    And with the lower target, no new secondary school required either.

  5. Hook Conservatives/Steve Forster – that’s great to hear about the 50% reduction. In terms of the other part of what David said, where do you stand on this reduction meaning there would be no need for the Pyestock or Winchfield developments?

    • That is to be determined based on final numbers but Pyestock is brownfield so is a preferred location if relevant infrastructure can be provided and housing numbers require it.

      I personally do not support Winchfield as being necessary or part of Hart’s LP strategy based upon what I currently understand and I believe all other Conservatives are of the same opinion which is why it was removed from the draft LP.

  6. Steve Forster is correct. ALL Conservative councillors support the new Government figure for housing need here in Hart which is nearly 50% less than the figure in the current Local Plan. No one knows what the Lib Dem/CCH admin are doing as they are doing everything behind closed doors.

  7. If Hart followed the latest Government approach to calculating housing need, even Hartland Park wouldn’t be needed. The remaining housing need could be met from Sun Park and any number of other small brownfield sites.

    • That sounds like something everybody across Hart could get behind. I think it would also be a real winner for any councillors that supported this. Do you know if any of our councillors currently support this?

    • David Turver all of Hart’s Conservative councillors have called for the LibDem led CCH administration to use the new lower numbers now in the Local Plan. If they do not do this Hart residents are being forced to take more houses than necessary.

    • Sarah Bryant yes, they are. Announced by government in the past couple of weeks as a consultation, likely to be adopted by April (potentially with changes based on the consultation feedback etc).

    • Sarah Bryant Well yes and no. The ONS figures have always been the starting point. But the SHMA makes a series of, in my view, dodgy adjustments to inflate the numbers. Then Hart have further adjusted the numbers up further.

      The new Government figures vindicate what I’ve been saying for some time: the SHMA is a SHAM.

  8. I don’t imagine so – I said a few days ago that I would prefer not to see large developments in Fleet or Winchfield, or anywhere in Hart for that matter. But regardless of the motivations, much of the pressure from via this group does end up advocating development in east hart which seriously impacts the people of Fleet and Church Crookham etc. So as I said we end up divided in our entrenched positions, which is just how the developers want us to be…

    • Well if they do all 3 then we’ll have one town including fleet, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Winchfield. CCH will be happy so long Crookham Village is ok though – which it won’t be of course.

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