Busy time ahead for the Hart Local Plan

Keep Calm and Wait for news about the Hart Local Plan

News about the Hart Local Plan has been sparse lately, but we can expect a flurry of news over the coming weeks.

First, now that the council elections are over, we can expect the results of the recent consultation to be released over the next few weeks.  Of course, we don’t know the results, but whatever the outcome, the results will be of limited value given that Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), has emerged as an additional brownfield site with capacity of around 1,500 dwellings.

Second, the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), together with the related Employment Land Review (ELR) have been in gestation for a few months now and we should hear of the new housing numbers in the next few weeks.  We Heart Hart is hopeful the new SHMA will result in Hart being asked to build 1,000-1,500 fewer houses over the planning period.  Of course, the new SHMA should also reduce the allocation for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor and the new ELR should enable Rushmoor in particular to release more of the brownfield sites it is protecting. The net result should reduce the risk of Hart being asked to build 3,100 extra houses for those districts.

Third, the results of Hart’s brownfield study should be released in the next couple of months and will set out a more sensible view of the brownfield capacity of the district.

Finally, should also expect the revised timetable for the Hart Local Plan to be released, so we will know when we will be asked our views. Expectations are the draft Local Plan should be released in September or October.

Election update: Hook candidates declare their positions

We Love Hart Ballot Box

Hook Action Against Over Development have been in touch with some of the local candidates for Hook ward in the Hart District Council local elections 2016, and managed to get some additional information out of their local candidates and have circulated this in an email to their supporters.

This is reproduced below, with our response where appropriate. The appropriate detailed pages for each party have been updated accordingly as well as our summary page.  The detailed party pages are:

Colin Ive, Liberal Democrat – No election leaflet delivered, local party website has no information on the current elections and no candidate contact details.

Mike Morris, The Conservative Party Candidate:

I joined the council because of the 550 houses that were proposed at NE Hook and out of choice became part of the planning team that is processing that site and others around Hook. As you know none of which I welcomed and said so in front of all that attended the Basingstoke Hotel Hook residents meeting.

I do not support urban extensions as they do not bring forward sufficient new infrastructure capacity but just overload current capacity. Nor do some Brownfield sites under permitted development! However I welcome the proposed development at Hartlands (sic) Park (Pyestock) with its 1000 plus housing which will reduce the housing numbers Hart has to deliver. Nevertheless this hasn’t changed my mind regarding the need for a large settlement site at Winchfield which I support as its deemed the only sustainable and developable site in the district to deliver sufficient housing numbers for the current ( impending ) plan and the future.

As you would expect every District Councillor defends his Ward and therefore some of my Conservative colleagues particularly those serving Wards in and adjacent to Winchfield would naturally be against the proposed Winchfield development. I fully understand their position and I would do the same if it applied to Hook or Rotherwick.

I’m unaware of a party line to vote one way or another on any future development and always intended to vote for and on behalf of Hook and Rotherwick residents within best practice in terms of planning policy.

Our response:

  1. Hart Council has said Hartland Park has capacity for 1,500 homes, not 1,000.  And of course it will not reduce the number of houses Hart has to deliver, but will make a significant contribution to meeting the alleged ‘need’.
  2. All of the sites proposed for the Winchfield new town are classified as “not currently developable” in the SHLAA, so it is misleading to suggest otherwise.  No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that a new town at Winchfield is ‘sustainable’.
  3. Hook is adjacent to Winchfield, and indeed around 1,850 of the proposed 5,000 new houses in the Hartley Winchook new town are actually in Hook parish.  One might hope that Hook councillors would acknowledge this fact and look more closely at our brownfield proposal that would result in fewer new houses in Hook than any of the other proposals.  Now that Pyestock is on the table, this is now self-evident.

Verd Nabbs, The Labour Party Candidate

From printed election material:

Local councillors have surprisingly limited powers, but they can be held to account, so they represent YOUR views. In particular over the proposed Winchfield development. A new development will prevent the irresponsible expansion of existing towns and will come with essential infrastructure improvements. We need to act now, before a solution is imposed upon us!

Dai Rees, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Statement from local branch website:

On housing, a UKIP representative would weigh up the merits of any particular project and would decide accordingly. We all understand the results of over-development – schools, doctor’s surgeries, roads etc. simply cannot cope with the additional strain being placed upon them but nothing ever seems to get done to curb the problem. A UKIP councillor would introduce a measure of realism into the debate and could be relied upon to listen to residents and take account of any grievances they may have. We recognise that new dwellings do have to be built to cope with the increase in our population – caused largely by a laissez-faire attitude to immigration by subsequent governments – but accommodating additional persons must be done sensibly and UKIP councillors would concentrate on brown field sites as a priority.

A UKIP councillor would support improved infrastructure measures and would seek to ensure that there are better schooling and medical facilities, more parking places especially where doing so helps local businesses, and an improved transport network.

[Update] the UKIP candidate has now said he will oppose a new town in Hook. [/Update]

 

 

 

Greens set out their position on Winchfield, Pyestock and housing policy

Green Party Logo

The local Green Party have been in touch, setting out their position on the key planning issues impacting the Hart Local Plan and some ideas on broader housing policy.  In short, all of the candidates oppose Winchfield New Town and support redeveloping the brownfield site at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park). This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

We have updated our summary page, and table of candidates accordingly.  The detail of their response is reproduced below.

In brief I can confirm that the local [Green] party, and all its candidates in these elections are opposed to the Winchfield new town, but support the latest proposal for redevelopment of housing in Pyestock.
1. Winchfield – No. It is not required to meet Hart’s own housing targets and  by concreting over such swathes of green space, would be the destruction of Hart as we know it for generations to come. In addition, Winchfield simply does not have the infrastructure to support a New Town – it would put strain on GPs, schools, roads and quality of life – not just in Winchfield but also in Hook, Fleet, Hartley Wintney, etc.
2. Pyestock for housing – Yes. By developing brownfield sites such as Pyestock, Hart’s housing targets can be met through dispersal of home building, and lessen the burden on roads and facilities in a concentrated area. Additionally, such developments are eligible for central Government grants towards infrastructure and do not leave HDC at the mercy of council tax hikes and s106-shy developers.
Our more detailed response will include demands for any new housing to be zero- or negative-carbon and high density, and any new roads to incorporate cycle lanes. But more importantly, we don’t see this as being just about whether or not to build the Winchfield development and need to address the broader policy – how the housing need projections are worked out and allocated. If this area continues to be put under pressure to build new houses, taking in allocations from outside the area, other beautiful rural areas will be hit.
We need to emphasise the importance of rural, countryside for everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to live in villages/ rural areas. There are genuine benefits for non residents too – loads of research on mental health benefits, conservation, getting children engaged with nature, air quality etc.
And we  need to be offering alternatives, and to acknowledge the problems lots of people have in getting onto the property ladder. Is continuing to build in the over-developed South East really the answer? Should we be pushing for a more equal distribution of investment, for example, promoting business growth and sustainable development in northern England?
Consequently we are developing a vision starting with what the area should look like in 2030, and then how to get there.
We Heart Hart welcomes the stance of the Green Party on the local development issues in Hart and broadly accept many of their ideas on wider housing policy.

Government to support site remediation at Pyestock

Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

Brownfield site: Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

The minutes of April’s Hart District Council meeting have been published and they show that the Government will provide some support to help remediate the Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) brownfield site, where it is proposed that 1,500 new homes will be built.  Moreover, the Defence Secretary was receptive to the idea of the Ministry of Defence providing some land that could be used for Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).

This is very good news in that it shows the Government is starting to deliver on its support for brownfield development.  The key quotes from the minutes are:

To this end I asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, to spare me some time for a brief meeting to discuss this matter [North of Hampshire devolution], in particular to enquire whether ministers would be receptive to a Heart of Hampshire bid; they would.

Whilst I had him in my office, I raised the proposed Pyestock development with the Secretary of State, in particular the issue of the funding of site remediation, as developer funds spent on remediation are not available for necessary infrastructure. I am happy to report that there will be some help available, and I will contact him again at the appropriate time.

I also raised Pyestock with the Secretary of State for Defence, the Right Honourable Michael Fallon MP on his visit to Hart today. I wanted to talk to him as the Pyestock site is surrounded by MOD land, and I want to ensure it remains as an undeveloped buffer between Fleet and Farnborough. I was able to brief him on the Pyestock site on the status of the site surroundings with emphasis on the constraints. He was receptive to the principle, and has taken away maps of the site one of which was overlaid with designations such as SSSIs and SINCs.

Ranil supports redevelopment of Pyestock (Hartland Park)

Ranil Jayawardena Stephen Parker and Michael Fallon at Pyestock (Hartland Park)

Our local MP, Ranil Jayawardena has published an article on his website showing his support for the redevelopment of the brownfield Hartland Park (formerly the Pyestock, National Gas Turbine Establishment (NGTE) site, near Fleet in Hart District, Hampshire. Readers will remember, that it is proposed to build 1,500 new homes on this site.

He is pictured with the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon and leader of Hart District Council, Stephen Parker.

Ranil Jayawardena, M.P., said: “Pyestock is exactly the sort of brownfield regeneration that should be supported. I am pleased that Hart are working together with HM Government to deliver homes on brownfield sites wherever possible, rather than building on green fields.”

Secretary of State, Michael Fallon, M.P., said: “It’s good to see sites like Pyestock being put forward for development. HM Government is ensuring that brownfield regeneration is central to local areas building new homes. A new ‘brownfield register’ is included in the Housing and Planning Bill, which will ensure that development is prioritised on brownfield sites rather than at the expense of the countryside.

We Heart Hart warmly welcomes Ranil’s support for this project. We understand that a site for Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG), needs to be found before the redevelopment can go ahead.  Let us hope that Michael Fallon can help find some redundant MoD land to help with this, so it can be included in the Hart Local Plan.

 

Prices of new homes out of reach of Hart residents

Bewley Homes 3-bed semi detached Hartley Row Park Hartley Wintney Hampshire

Bewley Homes has released the prices of the new houses it is building at Hartley Row Park, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, also known as Rifle Range Farm.

The lowest price for a 3-bed semi-detached home is set at £465,000. The lowest anticipated price of the 2-bed homes due to be released later in 2016 is £370,000.

This compares to the median incomes in Hart set out in Figure 4.8 of the SHMA, which is £40,200.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath Median Incomes Figure 4.8 of SHMA

This means that the cheapest 3-bed house is 11.5 times median income, and the cheapest 2-bed home will be 9.2 times median incomes.  The cheapest new properties will be totally out of reach of middle-income families in the district.

We have argued for some time that these types of new developments such as Hartley Row Park, Edenbrook (in Fleet), the proposed new town at Winchfield and the newly proposed urban extension at Pale Lane deliver the wrong type of housing to meet the needs of local people.

We need more smaller, more affordable properties and more specialist accommodation for the elderly. Development of brownfield sites for the remainder of our Local Plan period are much more likely to deliver more cheaper properties that will give our young people more chance of getting on the housing ladder.

Wates Developments seeks Environmental Assessment of Pale Lane site

SHL 52 SHLAA Site - Pale Lane, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District Hampshire

Wates Developments has submitted an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report on the Pale Lane site (known as SHLAA site SHL 52 and strategic site STR009) that straddles Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney parishes.

Wates have made a presentation to Elvetham Heath Parish Council, and plan to make further presentations to interested groups.  A copy of the slides used can be found on the download below.

The site lies to the west of the existing Elvetham Heath development, and is bounded to the north by the M3 motorway and to the south by the main railway line to London.

Wates Homes Pale Lane Development Proposal, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District, Hampshire.

As part of their submission, Wates have given an indicative layout of the final scheme (reproduced above), that will, if eventually approved, contain around 700 new houses, a local community centre, a new primary school and be called Elvetham Chase.

We don’t oppose an Environmental Assessment being carried out, but we would be very disappointed if this development went ahead because:

  1. Hart currently has a 6.7 year land supply, based on the existing inflated Strategic Housing Market Assessment
  2. The Housing Market Assessment is currently being reviewed, and the expectations are our housing allocation will be reduced
  3. Hart District Council is participating in a Government pilot scheme to create a register of brownfield sites,
  4. Hart has initiated a study to identify the brownfield capacity of the district and
  5. Our figures suggest there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites (including Pyestock aka Hartland Park) compared to only 2,500 further houses need to be permitted to meet our current housing target up to 2032.

So, we see no need to concrete over any more of our greenfields for decades to come.

We also note that Adams Hendry’s assessment determined that there were significant transport issues with the site and suggested that Pale Lane might have to be closed to vehicular traffic saying:

Primary vehicular site access would almost certainly be provided onto the A323, with a potential secondary access to the south on Pale Lane. However, the Pale Lane access is severely constrained by being a single track lane with a narrow single-track tunnel under the railway and single track bridge over the River Hart. If it were to provide an effective access point for development at the site, all of this infrastructure would need to be upgraded, not least to ensure effective and safe pedestrian and cycle access between the site and the Hitches Lane Country Park to the south of the railway. However widening the tunnel under the railway and the bridge over the river are likely to be very costly. Therefore, it would be sensible to test closing Pale Lane to all vehicular traffic as an alternative that would ensure safe pedestrian and cycle access could be achieved.

 

Wates presentation to Elvetham Heath PC about Pale Lane

link

 

Lib Dems clarify their position on Pyestock

Hart Liberal Democrats Focus Stop Press about Pyestock

The local Liberal Democrats have clarified their position on the proposed redevelopment of the Hartland Park (Pyestock) brownfield site in time for the Hart Local Elections 2016. Their new leaflet, reproduced above, welcomes the proposal to build 1,500 homes on the site.

However, correspondence with a senior local Liberal Democrat reveals that, like the local Conservatives, the Lib Dems are split on the issue of Winchfield new town:

Like the Cons, Lib Dems are split. Alan and I are opposed in principle to Winchfield.

Lib Dem policy starts with everyone deserves a place to live. Then that brownfield should always take precedence over Greenfield development. If there is insufficient brownfield then it comes down to which Greenfield? That in turn comes down to what developers put forward i.e. Hart cannot say they want to build on a field if a developer does not propose it.

Winchfield has always been wrong, in my opinion, as a simple look at a road map will tell anyone. The infrastructure is not there and developers will not put it in.

We have updated our summary page, updating the position of Alan Woolford, standing in the Hart District Local Elections in the Hartley Wintney ward, but we don’t know the position of the other Lib Dem candidates yet.

CPRE launches campaign to prevent more needless loss of countryside

CPRE Hampshire Logo

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) have launched a campaign to prevent further needless loss of our countryside. They have set up an easy way for people to write to their MP highlighting the 650,000 homes that have been permitted but not built (around three years worth of demand), urging the Government to alter the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to bring a stronger focus on brownfield development and abandon proposals to relax Green Belt planning laws.

The finally ask that housing targets are based on more realistic assessments.

All of this very much echoes what we have been campaigning for.

Their campaign can be found here, and we urge all We Heart Hart supporters to take 1 minute to support the CPRE and use their page to write to our local MP.

Tories set out their positions on Pyestock and Winchfield new town

North East Hampshire Conservative Party Logo. We Heart Hart. We Love Hart.

A number of the local Conservative Party candidates for the Hart District Council local election have been in touch and set out their current positions on the proposed Winchfield new town and the redevelopment of the 135-acre brownfield Hartland Park (aka Pyestock) site into 1,500 homes.

We contacted the local North East Conservative Party office and have had responses from some of the candidates and we contacted directly those candidates who are already sitting councillors.  We have not yet had responses from all candidates.

As a reminder the questions we asked were:

  1. Do you support the new town proposed at Winchfield?
  2. Do you support the recently announced redevelopment of Pyestock for housing?

First we have Jane Dickens, standing for the ward of Blackwater and Hawley who is keeping her views to herself on both issues.  We find this to be a strange position, given that planning is one of the biggest issues that Hart councillors have to get to grips with, and of course the Local Plan has to be submitted to the Inspector within the next 12 months.

Then we have Helen Butler, standing in Crookham East ward who said in answer to each question:

  1. It’s important when building new houses to consider all the facilities and amenities that those new families will need – for example, education, health, leisure and transport.  A new town at Winchfield will put huge pressure on the existing services, and it’s not clear whether the facilities that will be built as part of a new town would actually meet the needs of the people moving in.  I don’t think it is the right way forward.

  1. Building housing at Pyestock ticks many of the boxes.  As a brownfield site, it makes a lot of sense to put that piece of land to good use, rather than leaving it derelict.  A lot of work will need to be done to make the ground ready, but its location is much more suitable than Winchfield.  I hope the history of the site can be reflected in the new road names.

Chris Simmons, standing in Crookham West and Ewshot doesn’t support either the Winchfield new town proposal or the redevelopment of Pyestock.  He didn’t say where he would want to see new housing to be built.

[Update] We have now had feedback from Jonathan Wright, standing in Fleet East, whose brief answers to the questions above are ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’, so it appears as though he supports both the Winchfield new town and the redevelopment of Pyestock. [/Update]

Steve Forster (never one to use 1 word when 10 will do 😉 ), standing in Fleet West said in answer to each question:

1) I support building on brownfield as a first preference. As regards any development after brownfield is used, or where it is not available, then greenfield may have to be used. I would prefer that Hart builds the minimum number of houses to meet government requirements, and I lobby government and our local MP so that the number Hart is required to build by central government will be as low as possible, yet still meets the needs of local residents. I am against accommodating any overspill from adjoining districts, as they should be required to meet all of their own housing needs. I feel Hampshire already has enough new housing planned in the South of the County, and near Basingstoke, so that high numbers of new homes on Hart can be avoided.

I do not support urban extensions as a preference, as these contribute without sufficient infrastructure, therefore I do support in the longer term the selection of a new settlement at Winchfield but only if this is instead of urban extensions to Fleet, Church Crookham, Hook, Hartley Wintney, and Odiham. These urban extensions would still use greenfield, without the benefit that would be secured if a new settlement at Winchfield were part of the Local Plan for the longer term needs.  In particular I am against developing Pale Lane andGrove Farm on the edges of Fleet, and yet more extensions to Church Crookham.  Winchfield is potentially a suitable site for a well designed new settlement centred on the railway station, but would only be suitable if sufficient infrastructure (roads, surgery, schools. recreation, community facilities, retail, transport etc) were provided before build,and if strategic green gaps were retained between any new settlement and existing conurbations. It would need to have bus links as well to neighbouring areas.

Ideally I would like to see no building on greenfield but that is unlikely to be a practical approach for the future. I would stress that any new brownfield housing, which is my personal preference, needs to be well designed, provide a mix of types of housing, and much the existing housing in terms of density and style, so as not to be overbearing, and not to overburden existing infrastructure. I do not support extensive office conversions, preferring well designed buildings and areas (i.e. demolish and rebuild, providing better design, layout, features, and infrastructure contribution).

2) Yes. I advocated this for some years and formally raised it at both Fleet Town Council and Hart District Council as something to be promoted actively, and I am really glad that it looks as though it will become a viable option, having been driven by the Conservative led team at HDC. Its good that the developers feel that it is viable, despite the decontamination costs of the land that will be required. Pyestock is brownfield, and we should always look to build on brownfield where this is possible, without losing existing major current employment sites. I think it far preferable to distribution and will cause less damage to the environment and surrounding towns. I feel it essential that the design is well thought through, so as to improve traffic in the neighbouring areas (i.e. possibly providing a through route from Crookham to M3 Jn4a avoiding Fleet town and not using Kennels Lane due to its dangerous bends), as well as having a long term regular bus link to Farnborough and Fleet station and town centres, Frimley Park Hospital, and having its own school, recreation and retail facilities. It should also provide a good mix of affordable & social housing, retirement homes, and homes for families, and should be as ‘green’ as possible.

Of course Anne Crampton, standing in Hartley Wintney ward, has maintained her opposition to Winchfield new town throughout and does support the redevelopment of Hartland Park.

[UpdateMike Morris, standing in Hook Parish

I joined the council because of the 550 houses that were proposed at NE Hook and out of choice became part of the planning team that is processing that site and others around Hook. As you know none of which I welcomed and said so in front of all that attended the Basingstoke Hotel Hook residents meeting.

I do not support urban extensions as they do not bring forward sufficient new infrastructure capacity but just overload current capacity. Nor do some Brownfield sites under permitted development! However I welcome the proposed development at Hartlands (sic) Park (Pyestock) with its 1000 plus housing which will reduce the housing numbers Hart has to deliver. Nevertheless this hasn’t changed my mind regarding the need for a large settlement site at Winchfield which I support as its deemed the only sustainable and developable site in the district to deliver sufficient housing numbers for the current ( impending ) plan and the future.

As you would expect every District Councillor defends his Ward and therefore some of my Conservative colleagues particularly those serving Wards in and adjacent to Winchfield would naturally be against the proposed Winchfield development. I fully understand their position and I would do the same if it applied to Hook or Rotherwick.

I’m unaware of a party line to vote one way or another on any future development and always intended to vote for and on behalf of Hook and Rotherwick residents within best practice in terms of planning policy.

Our response:

  1. Hart Council has said Hartland Park has capacity for 1,500 homes, not 1,000.  And of course it will not reduce the number of houses Hart has to deliver, but will make a significant contribution to meeting the alleged ‘need’.
  2. All of the sites proposed for the Winchfield new town are classified as “not currently developable” in the SHLAA, so it is misleading to suggest otherwise.  No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that a new town at Winchfield is ‘sustainable’.
  3. Hook is adjacent to Winchfield, and indeed around 1,850 of the proposed 5,000 new houses in the Hartley Winchook new town are actually in Hook parish.  One might hope that Hook councillors would acknowledge this fact and look more closely at our brownfield proposal that would result in fewer new houses in Hook than any of the other proposals.  Now that Pyestock is on the table, this is now self-evident.

[/Update]

John Kennet, standing for Odiham, was concerned about being seen to be pre-determining the outcome of any planning decisions, but did say:

As you know councillors have to be wary of being deemed to have pre-determined an issue.  My answers to your questions are that on the basis of information currently before us I am not convinced that a new town is necessary at Winchfield. In fact it has been rendered even less necessary by the very welcome bringing forward of the 135 acre brownfield site at Pyestock, or Hartland as we should now call it. I have always thought it sensible to focus on brownfield sites first.

We have still not heard the up to date views of Max Bobetsky, John Burton or Peter Hall.

We have updated our table of all candidates and our summary page setting out the views of all candidates here.