Rushmoor calls for new town, urban extensions and dispersal in Hart

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Earlier this week Rushmoor cabinet considered its response to Hart’s Local Plan consultation and has come up with some controversial proposals.

First, their response says:

Rushmoor Borough Council supports the strategy of prioritising development on brownfield land, and on land outside the zone of influence for the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Rushmoor expects that in addition to this, the first full consultation version of the Hart Local Plan will be based on a strategy to meet housing needs that requires a combination of the options set out in in the consultation paper. This will include dispersed development, strategic urban extensions and a new settlement at Winchfield in order to help deliver the housing need identified in the SHMA.

And in a veiled criticism of Hart’s strategy of holding the consultation now, when the evidence base is under review it says:

At this stage in the plan preparation process, Rushmoor Borough Council considers that the most appropriate strategy and timescale for meeting housing need across the HMA can only be identified once the update to the evidence base is in place. Moreover, until the implications of the conclusions in the updated evidence base are understood, it is not possible to comment on the detail of the housing options in isolation from other strategic cross boundary issues.

However, Rushmoor reserves the right to change its response, once the new evidence base is published:

It may be that once this evidence base is updated, some of Rushmoor’s comments may change or fall away, particularly when Hart publishes a complete version of its Local Plan for consultation, based on the most up to date evidence.

It seems to us that it would be poor strategy to commit to a new town now, when the evidence base is being reviewed. It may be that the threat to build 3,000 extra houses for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath falls away and Hart’s own alleged “need” also falls, in which case we will be able to build all of our remaining need on brownfield sites and have many sites left over for future planning periods. If we had a vision to keep our essential countryside, and not build a new town, then we would not need to meet Rushmoor’s need.

If you would like to ask Hart to abandon the new town alternative and create a brownfield solution to our housing needs, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Rushmoor responds to criticism by revising evidence base and delaying its Local Plan

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire

While all of our eyes have been on the Hart Consultation about the Local Plan, Rushmoor has also been busy on its own Local Plan.  The most important point is that Rushmoor is revising the SHMA and the Employment Land Review which will:

be beneficial in assisting with a response to a number of comments received through the consultation, which challenged elements of the evidence base, and in particular, raised objection to the fact that the potential shortfall in housing supply in Rushmoor should be accommodated in Hart.

We might add that it was largely We Heart Hart supporters who made these comments – so thank you very much for your contributions.  It does show that reasoned analysis of the evidence base can lead to real change, at least in Rushmoor.

In addition, as well as making reference to the Government’s lower population and household forecasts, Rushmoor say that “all of the three major forecasting houses that produce employment forecasts at local authority level have updated forecasts since those used in the SHMA and the ELR”.  We Heart Hart have strongly challenged the previous jobs forecasts, so we can only hope that these forecasting houses have come up with something more reasonable.

Rushmoor is also revising its land bank database (SHLAA), and this should be available in early 2016.

Interestingly, Rushmoor has also delayed its Local Plan by up to a year in total to cater for these revisions to the evidence base.  Rushmoor’s next consultation, built upon the new evidence base will be in October 2016.

We find it difficult to see how Hart is going to manage to produce a full draft Local Plan by the Summer of this year, when the updated evidence base is not going to be available until the Spring, and it is going to take Rushmoor at least 6 months to process that information and produce the next draft of its Plan.

Rushmoor has also provided a response to Hart’s Housing Options consultation that we will cover in another post.

7 reasons to oppose a new town in Hart

Which would you rather preserve - derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

Which would you rather preserve – derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

As the consultation on the Hart District Local Plan draws to a close, it is worth reiterating the main reasons why you should oppose a new town and urban extensions in Hart.

  1. They would open us up to 3,000 extra houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor, and we would get the worst of all worlds, a new town, urban extensions and green field dispersal.
  2. The rate of building would then be used against us in the next planning period, so the problems we create today would be compounded into the future.
  3. It would be bad strategy to commit to a new town now, when we know that the housing needs assessment is being revised, and in all likelihood it will be revise down
  4. The proposed new town location is simply not suitable, in that there isn’t enough land to create the nirvana of a self contained new settlement promised by some HDC councillors, and would lead to a giant Hartley Winchook conurbation.
  5. The infrastructure costs are astronomical, and the developer contributions will not meet these costs, thus pushing up council taxes in the future
  6. There is an alternative brownfield solution that will meet the actual needs of Hart residents through providing specialist accommodation for the elderly and affordable starter homes for the young people struggling to get on the housing ladder.
  7. Brownfield development is a more sustainable, greener alternative that will be kinder to the environment and provide infrastructure funding for our existing communities.

If you would like to ask Hart to abandon the new town alternative and create a brownfield solution to our housing needs, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

 

Fleet resident describes Winchfield new town as “monstrous”

Development proposals around M3 J4a and Bramshott Farm

Development proposals around M3 J4a and Bramshott Farm

A resident of Fleet has written to We Heart Hart and described the proposals for a new town at Winchfield as “monstrous” and proposed a number of brownfield sites around the district as alternatives to meet our housing needs. He also points out that “our MP, Mr Ranil Jayawardena, is against coalescence in the Winchfield area as it will introduce hideous and wanton destruction of a large chunk of rural Hampshire by HDC civic vandals and philistines”.

His full report that has been sent to Hart District Council can be downloaded on the link below.

The alternative brownfield sites he proposes for development include Bramshott Farm, Minley and Guillemont Park, shown in the image above.

He goes on to propose a number of other sites including land near Runabout and Iveley Road (see below),

Development proposals Norris Bridge Gyratory

Development proposals Norris Bridge Gyratory

Additional brownfield land near Pyestock (see below),

Development proposals around Kennels Lane

Development proposals around Kennels Lane near Pyestock

and the worked out gravel pits near Bramshill and Blackbushe airport (see below).

Development proposals on brownfield gravel pit sites at Bramshill

Development proposals on brownfield gravel pit sites near Blackbushe

We welcome these ideas from a Fleet resident, as it shows that opposition to a new town comes from many people, not just those living in or near Winchfield. If you would like to make your voice heard and object to the new town idea, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

Full report from the Fleet resident:

Fleet resident brownfield site ideas

Link

Fleet Town Council seeks to mislead the public

Fleet Town Council Leaflet

Fleet Town Council Leaflet

Fleet Town Council have distributed a leaflet that, in our view, seeks to mislead the public.  The leaflet suggests that a new settlement in Hart would be a “long term sustainable solution to the housing and infrastructure needs” of the district as an “official recommendation”.

We think this is misleading and wrong on many levels:

  • Concreting over the equivalent of 25 football pitches a year is not in any way sustainable, and this approach would lead to another new town being required every 10-15 years and destroy the green spaces that make Hart such a great place to live.
  • The type of housing in a new town estate is exactly the wrong type of housing to meet the needs of our growing elderly population and the needs of our young people struggling to get on the housing ladder
  • A new town will require over £300m of infrastructure funding, with only £50m of developer contributions, and of course will do nothing to address the £78m infrastructure funding deficit across the district.

Surely, it would be much better to follow Ranil’s advice and redevelop our ageing and vacant office blocks in a brownfield solution that will meet the needs of Hart residents as opposed to those wishing to move here from London and deliver infrastructure funding for our existing communities.  Of course, Fleet Town Council offer no evidence at all to support their assertions.

We are of course flattered that they have chosen to make their leaflet in the style of the leaflet we distributed at the end of last year.

Housing Options consultation leaflet

If you would like to make your voice heard and object to the new town idea, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Floods in Winchfield, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Crookham Village cast doubt on new town plan

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Bravehart donned his waders and took to his canoe yesterday to take pictures of the widespread floods across the country roads in Winchfield and the roads in and out of the proposed new town in Hartley Wintney, Hook and Crookham Village.

As you can see from the carousel below the floods were severe and widespread, and that is without all the surrounding green fields being concreted over.  Imagine what it would be like if the capacity of the soil to absorb water was reduced by building 5,000 houses.

Bravehart found floods in the following areas:

Winchfield, Hook, Crookham Village Floods 3 January 2016

Winchfield, Hook, Crookham Village Floods 3 January 2016

  • Church Lane, Hartley Wintney near St Mary’s Church
  • Taplins Farm Lane, near the farm and near the bridge over the M3
  • Taplins Farm Lane, just below the Internet car showroom, along the road through the railway tunnel up to near Hurst Farm
  • The Hurst and Pale Lane in Winchfield
  • Extensive flooding along Station Road from the Hurst to Bagwell Lane and again through the railway tunnel
  • The bottom of Bagwell Lane, Winchfield and at many places along the lane towards Odiham Common
  • Totters Lane under the M3, near the bridge over the railway and near the A30 in Hook parish
  • On the A30 between Murrell Green and Phoenix Green
  • On the B3016 Odiham Road near the junction with the A30 and under the M3
  • On Pilcot Road near the junction with Hitches Lane in Crookham Village

Yesterday’s events demonstrate the evidence in the site assessment that the area is very susceptible to groundwater flooding.

Winchfield Flood Risk

Winchfield Flood Risk

We find it difficult to believe that anyone can conclude that these sites and these roads are a suitable location for a new town of 5,000 houses.

[Update]

This story covered in Get Hampshire January 4 2016: Floods will worsen if green fields are concreted over for new Winchfield town, campaigners warn

And covered in Fleet News and Mail January 6 2016: Flooding proves new town idea will not float says campaigner

[/Update]

If you would like to make your voice heard and object to the new town idea, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes
Flood Church Lane Hartley Wintney 3 January 2016

Flood Church Lane Hartley Wintney 3 January 2016

 

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Potbridge Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Potbridge Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Totters Lane Hook 3 January 2016.

Flood Totters Lane Hook 3 January 2016.

 

Flood Bagwell Lane Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood Bagwell Lane Winchfield 3 January 2016.

 

Railway bridge at Station Road WInchfield. Floods at Winchfield, Hook and Crookham Village 3 January 2016

Railway bridge at Station Road Winchfield. Village 3 January 2016

 

 

Flood Hitches Lane/Pilcot Road Crookham Village 3 January 2016

Flood Hitches Lane/Pilcot Road Crookham Village 3 January 2016

 

Flood B3016 Odiham Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood B3016 Odiham Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Winchfield new town plan proposes 772 new houses on former landfill site

SHL 167 former landfill site Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

SHL 167 former landfill site Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

One of the sites proposed for the Winchfield new town is a former landfill site.  There are 772 new houses proposed for site SHL 167, also known as Beggars Corner.  However, a solar farm was recently turned down at this site and the environmental report shows that much of the site was once landfill, with unknown contents.

SHL167 SHLAA Map - Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

SHL167 SHLAA Map – Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Interestingly, Hart Council’s decision to refuse the solar farm application (ref: 15/01614/FUL) had nothing to do with the landfill issues, but was because the proposed site was:

“within the zone of theoretical visibility and the Odiham Conservation Area. The proposed development would seriously detract from the amenity and consequent recreational value of the nearby public right of ways”.

We find it difficult to believe that a former landfill site is a suitable location for the 772 new houses proposed in the same location.  And it is also hard to see how a planning application won’t face the same difficulties as the solar farm application, further undermining the questionable viability of the proposed Hartley Winchook new town.

If you would like to make your voice heard, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Hart District’s £78m infrastructure funding deficit

£78m infrastructure funding deficit in Hart District

£78m infrastructure funding deficit in Hart District, Hampshire

Much is being made of the supposed infrastructure benefits of a new town in Hart District.  We believe these benefits are a mirage and have written elsewhere about the astronomical £300m costs and the pitiful expected developer contributions. This post is about the massive infrastructure funding deficit facing our existing communities and how developer contributions won’t make a bit of difference to this and how a new town will make things worse.

Back in October 2014 Hart Council produced an infrastructure delivery schedule that set out the current deficit, split by type and area.  This shows a deficit of £78m not including healthcare facilities.  The breakdown is shown by type and area in the images below:

Hart District Estimated Infrastructure costs by type March 2013.

Hart District Estimated Infrastructure costs by type March 2013.

 

Estimated Infrastructure costs by area March 2013

Hart District Estimated Infrastructure costs by area March 2013

Key quotes from the document include:

“It is therefore reasonable to conclude that it is unlikely that there will be sufficient future funds, from both capital programmes and developer contributions, within the plan period, to deliver all of the projects listed in the HCC Transport Statement”

“Although developer contributions will continue to play an important role in helping to bridge the funding gap, it is also clear that the funds raised through developer contributions will only contribute a modest proportion of the total identified funding gap”

“Developer contributions are, however, by no means the only source of funding for infrastructure providers. Local Authorities, for example, could fund the costs of meeting future unmet community infrastructure needs, in addition to developer contributions, through a variety of means including Infrastructure Provider Capital Programmes, Council Tax, Prudential Borrowing, New Homes Bonus, Grants (Government and private), Capital Receipts, Council Reserves and Local Economic Partnership (LEP) funding”

“The South West Main Line (SWML) outer trains, which serve Hart, has significant forecasted future peak crowding, with a capacity shortfall of over 6,100 passengers in the high-peak hour, even if every main line train is at maximum length”

As can be seen, Fleet, Church Crookham and Hook have the largest deficits and there is no way that developer contributions are going to make a dent in these, let alone cover the extra infrastructure costs of a new town.  Nobody has yet explained how these deficits will be fixed by building a new town.  On the contrary, a new town is likely to starve these areas of much needed investment.

If you would like to make your voice heard, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Does Hart District need a new secondary school?

Time for Hart District Council to go back to school

Time for Hart District Council to go back to school

As part of the debate about the alleged ‘need’ for a new town at Winchfield, a number of councillors have stated that one of the benefits would be a new secondary school, even though the proposed location was between the M3 and the Mildmay Oaks hospital. But what is the evidence we actually need a new secondary school?

Well, it is patchy at best.  Hampshire County Council have only planned school places up to 2018.  This shows a  9% surplus of  secondary school places:

Secondary School Capacity in Hart District

Secondary School Capacity in Hart District

The same document also forecasts a fall in the birth rate across Hampshire (individual forecasts for Hart District are not available). This will reduce future pressure on secondary school places:

Hampshire Live Birth Forecast

Hampshire Live Birth Forecast

[Update]

Moreover, some 1,533 pupils out of the total 13,436 pupils being educated in Hart District schools come from outside the district. Whereas only 264 pupils (of which 103 are in special schools) from Hart are being educated outside of the district. These figures include 13.6% of Robert Mays and 5% of Calthorpe Park pupils coming from outside the district. Source is an FOI request made to Hampshire County Council.

[/Update]

In communication with Hampshire County Council, I have been told the following about the circumstances that would need to prevail to justify the expense of building an entirely new school:

Again there will be a number of factors to consider before deciding to build a new school to meet increased demand, these including:

  • being able to demonstrate that the existing school system (net capacity) is unable to reasonably cope with the increased number of children.
  • That the increased demand is sufficient to warrant a sustainable size school (1FE/210 places as a minimum is desirable) in primary and at secondary a school of 900 (180 per year group).
  • That where new housing is proposed a suitable size site is secured during the planning process

Moreover, Hart’s own infrastructure requirements list published in October 2014 did not call for a new school:

Hart District Draft Regulation 123 List October 2014

Hart District Draft Regulation 123 Infrastructure List October 2014

So, it is far from clear at all that we need a new secondary school.  Even if we did need more places, it is not clear that we would need enough to justify the provision of a new 900-place school.

If you would like to make your voice heard, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

How is Hart District infrastructure funded?

Construction Workers

How will we fund the infrastructure we need in Hart District, Hampshire

Infrastructure is a hot topic in the debate about Hart District’s Local Plan, and much misinformation has been distributed by a number of groups.  This post aims to set out who is responsible for funding the different types of infrastructure and which types of development attract contributions from developers.

Who is responsible for infrastructure

Hart District Council published a very helpful Infrastructure Delivery Schedule last October (which seems to have disappeared from their website, but we have saved a copy here) which helps answer the first of those questions.  The detailed table is shown below, but it shows that most of the responsibility for health, transport and education is the responsibility of external bodies.  Hart District Council is responsible for Leisure centres, Community and Cultural Facilities and Green Infrastructure.

What types of development attract developer contributions

The main point to note is that all housing developments, whether brownfield or green field attract developer funding of some sort (be that CIL or S106) with a number of exceptions.

The first exception is office conversions using permitted development rights which attract fewer S106 contributions.  We understand that developer contributions are still required for SANG and SAMM. But such conversions do attract Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions.  Hart has yet to implement a CIL policy, so we are exposed on this type of  development until it does.

However, office conversions will soon will soon have to provide “starter homes” at a 20% discount to market rate under plans being drawn up by the government.

However, proper redevelopment of vacant office sites do attract S106 contributions and we should be doing all we can to encourage developers to take on these sites to deliver proper schemes to make the best use of available land.

The second exception is so called “affordable” homes which also attract no developer contributions.  This is true whether these homes are built on brownfield or greenfield sites.  Hart’s policy is that 40% of new build should be “affordable”.  That means that a new town of 5,000 houses or an urban extension of 1,000 dwellings would only attract developer contributions on 3,000 or 600 of the dwellings respectively.

However, all “affordable” homes attract a higher “new homes bonus” from the Government upon completion, although that level of contribution is under threat from an ongoing consultation from the Government.

[Update]It is worth noting that currently all new homes delivered receive a new homes bonus from Government for a period of six years (potentially reducing to four years).[/Update]

If anyone thinks any of the above is wrong or inaccurate, please do get in touch and show me your sources and I will gladly make a correction.

Table of infrastructure providers and responsible bodies

INFRASTRUCTURE TYPE

MAIN PROVIDERS or RESPONSIBLE BODY

(1)  Built Leisure
Leisure Centres, Sports Centres,Gymnasiums Hart District Council (HDC); private sector providers
(2)  Community and Cultural Facilities
Multi-use Facilities, CommunityCentres, Village Halls HDC; Parish Councils
(3) Education
Pre-school Hampshire County Council (HCC); private sector providers
Primary school HCC; private sector providers
Secondary school HCC; private sector providers
Post-16 Individual Colleges
Further/Higher Education Individual Colleges & Universities
(4)  Emergency Services
Ambulance South East Coast Ambulance Service; South East Central Ambulance Service
Fire Hampshire Fire Brigade
Police Hampshire  Constabulary
(5)  Flood Defences
Planning for flood defences Hampshire County Council (HCC) has new statutory responsibility as Lead Local Flood Authority and Sustainable Drainage Authority; HDC; Environment Agency (EA); DEFRA
(6)  Green Infrastructure
Suitable Alternative NaturalGreenspace (SANG) HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Parks, Gardens, AmenityGreenspace HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Sports Pitches HDC; Parish Councils; private landowners
Countryside Access HCC
(7)  Public Health
Primary Care (Doctors, Dentistsetc) Primary Care Trust (PCT) (up to April 2013; replacement bodies thereafter); Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG); Individual Practices
Secondary Care (Hospitals) Frimley Park Hospital; Basingstoke and NorthHampshire Hospital
(8)  Transport
Strategic Highways Highways Agency
Local Highways HCC
Rail Services Network Rail; South West Trains; First GreatWestern
Bus Services Stagecoach; HCC
(9) Utilities
Water South East Water
Sewerage Thames Water
Broadband Private sector providers
Electricity National Grid; Southern Electric
Gas National Grid; Scotia Gas Networks (Southern Gas)
Waste HCC; HDC