New Local Plan fails to address infrastructure funding gap

Hart District Council Failed to address infrastructure funding gap

Hart Local Plan Fails to address infrastructure funding gap

The new draft Local Plan fails to address the infrastructure funding gap facing Hart. At the very least, this fails the residents of Hart, but sadly, may render the plan unsound at inspection. We therefore believe significant extra work needs to be done before this version of the Local Plan is put to consultation later this month.

Why is infrastructure so important to the Local Plan?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear that infrastructure must be planned alongside new housing. Failure to adequately plan for infrastructure requirements and costs could lead to the Local Plan being found unsound at inspection. See references to paras 17 and 177 of the NPPF below.

plan to avoid infrastructure funding gap

NPPF Para 17: Avoid infrastructure funding gap NPPF Para 17: Avoid infrastructure funding gap

Recently, the leader of Community Campaign Completely Concrete Hart, James Radley went on the record in Fleet News and Mail saying he would deliver an ‘infrastructure led’ Local Plan.

We tried to ask questions at Hart Council about the £72m infrastructure funding gap, but our questions were not allowed to be even asked, let alone answered.

Hart infrastructure funding gap £72m

Hart infrastructure funding gap £72m

Now the draft Local Plan has emerged, and it is clear why they were so reluctant to answer questions.

What are the infrastructure proposals in the Local Plan?

That is very good question, to which there is only an inadequate answer. As far as we can tell, there are five fairly insipid ‘policies’ about infrastructure, and that is it:

  • Policy I1: Infrastructure – weak policy simply requiring developers to deliver adequate infrastructure as part of their developments
  • Policy I2: Green Infrastructure – feeble policy to supposedly protect green infrastructure
  • Policy I3: Transport – inadequate policy simply to provide ‘maximum flexibility in the choice of travel modes’, nothing specific to improve road network
  • Policy I4: Open space, sport and recreation – policy to support development that improves sporting facilities, but no tangible plans for anything new
  • Policy I5: Community Facilities – a very vague policy to improve childcare facilities, healthcare, police stations, youth provision, libraries, community halls, local shops, meeting places, cultural buildings, public houses, places of worship, and public toilets. But crucially, no specific projects or proposals.

However, it gets worse. In the details of the infrastructure proposals, several road and junction improvement schemes have been dropped. Examples include the junction near Fleet railway station;  the junction between the A30 and Thackams Lane at Phoenix Green and the junction between the A287 and Redfields Lane.

Deletion of road and junction improvement policies to avoid infrastructure funding gap

Moreover, the amount of land set aside for school expansion has been reduced. Here is the before and after map for Robert Mays.

Land for Robert Mays Expansion (Before)

Land for Robert Mays Expansion (Before)

Land for Robert Mays Expansion (After)

Land for Robert Mays Expansion (After)

This simply isn’t good enough.

What infrastructure proposals should we expect?

We would expect as a minimum:

  • Acknowledgement of the existing £72m infrastructure funding gap
  • Quantification of the items missing from the Hampshire County Council assessment such as healthcare, extra-care housing for the elderly and green infrastructure
  • A set of prioritised, costed projects that are required to alleviate the worst of our infrastructure problems. This should include road improvements, particularly near Fleet station and the bridge over the railway near the end of Elvetham Heath Road. It should also include significant improvements to the cultural facilities, particularly in Fleet.
  • Proposals for raising the necessary funds for delivering the required projects
  • Some external validation that the infrastructure plans in the draft Local Plan are ‘sound’ and will pass inspection

Perhaps if the councillors spent less time planning for a new town we don’t need, they would then be able to focus on the real needs of the district.

Posted in Hart District Council, Hart Local Plan Reg 19 consultation, Infrastructure Costs, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , .


  1. Well I hope he can live with himself at peace when he has time to reflect in the future. I certainly would not want this as my legacy to the district.

  2. The Lib Dems have a history of saying one thing and doing another in order to get elected. In this case, they joined forces with CCH who want a new settlement in order to deflect development away from their wards. James Radley, Leader of CCH and the real Leader of the Council, wants his legacy to be that it was he that drive through a new settlement in Hart, therefore in his mind protecting Fleet and Church Crookham from future development.

    • The new settlement CCH want starts right on the side of Pale Lane. It will have huge negative impact on Elvetham Heath and Fleet. It won’t protect it at all.

      Cllrs Woods and Kinnell were elected standing agaist a new settlement. They’ve both decided a new settlement is a good thing after defecting to Completely Concrete Hart.

      CCH failed to protect Crookham from development they opposed, including Watery Lane, Zebon copse, and Crookham Park.

      They’re happy for greenfield building to the west of EH/Fleet and are trying to spin it saying a new settlement will protect EH and Fleet from urban expansion. It won’t – it will guarantee thousands of new homes are built starting along Pale Lane, separated from EH by an area abour the distance of the M3 motorway from the main part of EH.

    • Steve Forster May I just comment on your comment of standing against a new settlement in the May 2015 election? The draft reg 18 local plan was published by the conservatives in April 2017, before you were ousted, and recommended a new settlement at Murrel Green. Therefore unless there has been a formal change in policy since then a new settlement was Conservative policy. As recently as the 2nd Jan 2018 some Conservative members, but not all, of the O&S committee voted in favor of progressing to Reg 19 with the search for a new settlement included. If I am wrong do you have a copy of your 2015 manifesto that states no new settlement was your policy at the time, if so please publish it and I will apologise if I am wrong?

    • Tony Gower-JonesI sorry, you’re absolutely right on the point that some Conservatives supported a new settlement initially as it was required by the previous housing numbers.

      Conservatives campaigned for a change to reduce government numbers and were successful in that. Harts number are proposed to be reduced dramatically. We therefore can build less and locally in Fleet most feel we do not need to build a new settlement.

      Yes that’s a change of opinion (certainly by me) but is driven by the work everyone did to secure lower housing numbers. It reflects the desire to only build the fight numbers and type of houses, in the right locations, which was in the manifesto.

      Building a new settlement should be avoided and including it in the way proposed on the LP could cause huge problems, and may not be necessary.

      All Conservatives think we should progress to Reg 19 ASAP.

    • Therefore when Councillors Wood and Kinnell were elected and also when they crossed the floor to CCH,to your policy was still to support a new settlement not against it. Your policy changed when to new draft methodology was issued for consultation (mid 2017) which was after the conservatives had been ousted. I think it is important that the facts are clear and right

    • Tony Gower-Jones yes that I why I said sorry, you’re right. I was wrong. They haven’t changed their position despite the possibility of having lower numbers and not requiring a new settlement.

  3. Yes Sue Smith I remember the Lib Dems leaflet which said they were opposed to the new town! But it appears they will say anything when they are trying to win a ward.

  4. They support whoever has the majority. Nothing they say or do bears any resemblance to the leaflets they post through our door. In the services we had a name for this type. Cling ons.

    • That is not a surprise. We may not win tonight but the fight will go on. Hoping that the Conservatives will not let us down and will vote against the new settlement. Hoping also many who oppose new settlement will be at meeting tonight

  5. Katie Davies can you tell us why CCH are pushing through LP that does not address infrastructure issues? Why are they so desperate to build on Winchfield that they are willing to make things worse for residents of Hart?

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