Hart Council have called an emergency Cabinet Meeting for 14 March 2019 to remove Winchfield new town from the Local Plan.
The meeting has one main agenda item which is to consider the report of the Inspector into the Local Plan examination. The main recommendation is as follows:
The main paper for discussion can be found here.
Interestingly, the Council implicitly admit that the prior work into the new town was not carried out impartially. This is a quote from section 4.4.1 of the paper before Cabinet:
The Inspector is of the view that a significant level of further supporting work would be required for Policy SS3 to be found sound in its current form, which would need to include appropriate and proportionate area/site assessments, infrastructure considerations, viability testing, evidence in support of deliverability and further Sustainable Appraisal (SA) work, which would need to be done in an impartial manner with sufficient evidence to support its findings and comparisons with alternative options. Any further SA work would also need to include additional standalone consultation. This would all lead to a significant delay in the examination, whilst it was paused, to allow such work to be undertaken. Further hearing sessions would be needed. In the interim, there is a risk that Inspectors considering major planning appeals such as Pale Lane and Owen’s Farm might attach much less weight to the Plan notwithstanding the Inspector’s letter, because of the uncertainty the additional work would give rise to.
This is quite a stunning admission and backs up our demand for heads to roll over the way the previous assessment was carried out. It is simply unacceptable for the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) to have been biased by officers or councillors.
Meanwhile, there’s ructions in a bunker in deepest Church Crookham.
CCH can’t quite bring themselves to admit that the Inspector has asked for the new town to be removed from the Local Plan:
Hart’s Local Plan
Following the Local Plan enquiry in the autumn of last year, the planning inspector has written to Hart to suggest that he will find our plan sound and acknowledges that we have sufficient housing supply – such that we no longer need to fear planning by appeal.
This is fantastic news for the people of Hart who have faced years of unconstrained planning blight because the previous administration failed to knuckle down and face up to the arduous task of getting a sound plan drafted, supported by sufficient evidence and compliant with national planning policies. Hart has not had a new Local Plan since 1996, which accounts for why we have struggled to defend many planning appeals in recent years.
It is disingenuous therefore for some politically motivated commentators to be painting this as if it is some kind of failing. It is a major strategic and meaningful win for the people of Hart. The inspector, despite some of the misinformation doing the rounds, has also identified that a new settlement is an appropriate option for Hart to consider pursuing. A new settlement would in future years deliver housing with the necessary infrastructure which has been so sadly lacking from most of the new bolt on urban extensions of recent years. No new secondary school and no increased capacity on our local roads being prime examples.
At long last Hart are on the cusp of adopting a sound local plan which will protect our environment and quality of life for years to come – don’t let any one try to detract from this critically important achievement.
http://www.cchart.org.uk/ (scroll down below the free parking u-turn)