Unfortunately, we could not make it to the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 5 April. However, we have received feedback from the meeting about the Hart Local Plan item.
Respondents to the Hart Local Plan Regulation 19 Consultation
We understand there were around 300 respondents to the consultation. However, there are about 1,500 individual representations. The council has its work cut out to analyse the representation and provide a response to each one.
The key themes emerging from the consultation include a number of contradictory elements:
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Housing numbers too high
- Housing numbers too low (from developers)
- Housing numbers not robust
- Quality of life issues
- Reliance on strategic sites
- Revisit reg 18 for sites
- Should have more sites to spread the load
- New gaps / more gaps
- No gaps at all (from developers)
- Employment sites/ brownfield sites
- Regeneration of town centres, particularly Fleet
- No minimum internal size (floor space) specified
In addition, there is a need to focus on sustainability and decide if the approach of adding a new settlement is sound. Apparently, Basingstoke and Deane objected to the new town on the grounds of the extra traffic it would generate. [Obviously we believe it is not sound, but that is for the Inspector to decide].
Timetable to submission of the Hart Local Plan
There was discussion of the work required before the Hart Local will be ready for submission. This includes:
Feedback from the Independent Planning Consultant (Keith Holland, a former Inspector) is expected by late April.
In addition a topic paper has to be produced to explain how the housing number was arrived at and other options if different numbers were used (i.e. plan ‘b’ and plan ‘c’).
Then a further series of tasks are required:
- Update project plan
- Format each representation, enter onto database including HDC response
- Update consultation statement
- Identify issues arising from consultation
- Make minor modifications to plan
- Provide statements of common ground (highways, neighbouring councils etc.)
- Review and update topic papers (including the new one on housing numbers)
- Infrastructure plan review
- Soundness check list
- Review reg 18 and how consultation was responded to
There might be another meeting of the Local Plan Steering Group (LPSG) before submission.
The project team consists of one full-time leader and three part-time team members. However, the leader has been off sick recently. They want to get the plan submitted as soon as possible to help fight off two anticipated appeals. [We don’t know which ones exactly, but we would hazard a guess at Elvetham Chase (Pale Lane) and West of Hook].
They hope to achieve submission by mid-to-late May. [Our view is that this sounds ambitious given the level of work and the apparently sparse resources allocated].
Questions from the floor
Apparently, a number of questions were asked relating to:
- Which housing numbers to use. Should these be based on the old SHMA or the newer Government methodology. It appears as though this hasn’t been decided yet. [We would prefer if the new Government methodology was used, as it gives a lower number. However, the inflated numbers the council have used in the Local Plan are slightly higher than the SHMA, once they are adjusted for the building between 2011 and 2016. So, either scenario does not require a new town].
- Membership of the LPSG. Apparently, Conservative members won’t be invited to the LPSG unless their particular expertise is required.
- Resourcing for the Local Plan. Apparently this is a very sensitive subject that resulted in some argument. [We take it that the officers feel under pressure to deliver quickly and are struggling for resource].
Let’s see what happens.