CPRE concerned about new Government housing targets

CPRE concerned about new Government housing targets.

CPRE concerned about new Government housing targets.

In an article appearing in today’s Fleet News and Mail, the CPRE is concerned about new Government housing targets.

The Fleet N&M has picked up on our article that shows Hart’s housing target will fall to 6,132 new dwellings under new Government proposals. This compares to the Hart’s current Local Plan total of some 10,185. The total outlined in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) of 8,022.

CPRE is concerned about the impact of the new guidelines in southern and east Hampshire and in Basingstoke and Deane. Whilst we share some of this concern, we are delighted about the result for Hart, RUshmoor and Surrey Heath.

We have asked some questions of council that will be tabled at tomorrow’s meeting, so we will find out how Hart plans to respond to these new proposals.

The full Fleet N&M article can be found here.


Odiham Parish Council to discuss Rye Common Proposals

Rye Common, Odiham, Hart District, Hampshire

The Basingstoke Gazette has run a story about the proposed Rye Common new village development. Odiham Parish Council is going to discuss the proposals for a new village between Odiham and Crondall.  It is clear they are very concerned about the proposals, with chairman saying:

“The parish council are well aware of the consultation being undertaken for a large development at Rye Common, located within the parish of Odiham.

“This has of course created significant interest and indeed concern within our community.”

He added: “While the parish council are required to review all proposals with an open mind, I have heard no local enthusiasm for the scheme and would want to understand how this volume of houses proposed works against HDC’s revised Strategic Housing Market Assessment.”

“It is hard to see any value to our existing community and in my view would significantly impact the character of Odiham and the surrounding of communities.”

We Heart Hart is quoted in the article saying:

“The Rye Common development is simply not required because our housing targets are reducing and there are plenty of brownfield sites available that can meet our housing needs for decades to come.”

More details about the proposals and how to respond to the consultation can be found here.

Fleet News demands action on Local Plan as Hart comes under siege

Fleet News Hart must get a Local Plan in place now

Today’s Fleet News has run an important series of stories on the sorry state of the Local Plan in Hart District. Most importantly, they have run a comment piece demanding that Hart get the Local Plan in place now to protect us from the voracious developers who are putting Hart under siege by developing proposals for big green field developments we don’t need at places like Winchfield, Murrell Green, Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase), Grove Farm (Nether House Copse) and now the Rye Common new village proposal.

If one or more of these green field developments goes ahead before an application is made to redevelop the Pyestock (Hartland Village) site we may well end up with our green fields been ripped up whilst the derelict brownfield site is left undeveloped.

But without a new Local Plan and without up to date policies, Hart is essentially defenceless against the proposals. Moreover, the further delay to the Local Plan means that there is a real risk the Government will step in to do the Local Plan for us if the plan is not in place by early 2017.

The articles from Fleet News can be found on the links below:

Hart under siege from developers’ plans to build over Hart

Hart must get a Local Plan in place now

Hart District Council slashes number of new homes


Council Leader misleads the public on brownfield register

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

Fleet News and Mail have picked up on our story about Hart Council botching the new brownfield register. They have obtained a quote from Hart Council leader, Stephen Parker (our emphasis):

“One of the pilot requirements is for sites to be ‘deliverable’. The Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds is currently a real barrier to development in Hart.

“The council is working hard with our partners, including Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, to deliver a big area of SPA mitigation land which, once in place, will allow additional sites to come forward.”

However, the manual for the pilot scheme says that to be regarded as suitable for housing our proposed criteria are that sites must be:

Available. This means that sites should be either deliverable or developable. Sites that are deliverable should be available and offer a suitable location for development now and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable. To be considered developable, sites are likely to come forward later on (e.g. between six and ten years). They should be in a suitable location for housing development and there should be a reasonable prospect the site will be available and that it could be viably developed at the point envisaged.

The terms deliverable and  developable have specific meanings in the NPPF. It appears as though there is a requirement on the council to include sites that meet the less onerous ‘developable’ criteria, which they have failed to do. The manual also says that sites that are entered on the register should be free of constraints that cannot be mitigated. We Heart Hart recognises that the provision of SANG land is a significant constraint, but the council is in the process of purchasing over 30 Ha of land, capable of supporting 1,600 new dwellings. We might add that most of the sites on the pilot register have already been delivered so are not within the spirit of the brownfield register project.

There is also provision for councils to include sites in the register that it doesn’t think are suitable to ensure transparency in the decisions taken by the authority.

We think there’s around 2,500 extra units that can be built on brownfield sites that do not appear in the register. It is time that Hart Council started doing as much as it can to support the brownfield strategy and not as little as it thinks it can get away with.

Fleet News covers Pyestock village story

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

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

Fleet News and Mail has covered the story that we broke last Thursday about St Edward (part of the Berkeley Group) entering into a joint venture agreement with M&G (part of Prudential) to redevelop the Pyestock site for housing.

We Heart Hart is quoted in the story, but they cast doubt on our estimate of 1,500 homes being built on the site. However, we stand by our numbers, because they are drawn from the statement made by council leader Stephen Parker at council last week, where he gave the estimate of 1,500 homes.

The site is 135 acres (according to Hart), which is equivalent to ~54 hectares.  1,500 homes would amount to a density of 27.8 dwellings per hectare (dph).  We would hope that density can be pushed up somewhat, especially to build more of the 1 and 2-bed homes that we need and that space can also be found for one or more schools should they be required.

Also covered in Get Hampshire April 7 2016: ‘Much-needed homes’ could be created on former Pyestock site for new sustainable village

Update 2 includes clip – We Heart Hart interviewed on Eagle Radio

We Heart Hart interviewed on Eagle Radio

We Heart Hart interviewed on Eagle Radio.

We Heart Hart has been interviewed today by Eagle Radio about Hart Council’s (HDC) astonishing decision to abandon the Local Plan consultation.  The clip will be broadcast on news bulletins on the hour between 6 am and 10am tomorrow, Wednesday 20 January 2016. You can tune-in on 96.4FM, DAB or online.

If and when we get a copy of the clip, we will post it below:


This has now been broadcast on Eagle news and they are running a story on their website, here.  The clip can be found below:




Winchfield Action Group covered in Fleet News and Mail

New town is Hartley Winchook say Winchfield Action Group

New town is Hartley Winchook say Winchfield Action Group

We are pleased to note that Winchfield Action Group were covered in Fleet News and Mail yesterday.  A large image of the article can be found here.

The article notes the big risk of effectively coalescing Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant conurbation that we have termed Hartley Winchook, leading to a massive increase in congestion and strain on public services as well destruction of habitat and our environment.

It is worth noting again that the proposed new town will be roughly three times the size of Elvetham Heath, more than twice the size of Hartley Wintney and about twice the size of Hook.  We don’t need a new town when there is a brownfield solution.

Community Campaign in bitter clash with We Heart Hart

Community Groups in bitter clash over homes Fleet News and Mail 20151028

Community Groups in bitter clash over homes in Hart District, Hampshire

Fleet News and Mail has covered our story where we challenged Community Campaign Hart’s (CCH) plan to decimate the heart of Hart.

Hart District Council takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign takes aim at the Heart of Hart

To remind readers, we took CCH to task over their assertions that there was no sustainable alternative to building a new town at Winchfield and their claims about infrastructure and traffic.  In particular, we dispute CCH’s claim that there isn’t enough brownfield capacity, an area where we are backed up by the views of our Local MP, Ranil Jayawardena.

We are delighted that Fleet News and Mail has brought these arguments to a wider audience.  Let’s see how the general public react to the forthcoming Housing Options paper.

A large image of the Fleet News and Mail article can be found here.

This story was also covered in Get Hampshire on November 3 2015: Community Groups in bitter clash over Winchfield homes plan

Hart Council’s decision to drop controversial proposals covered in Get Hampshire

Hart District Council Offices

Hart District Council Offices

Hart Council’s decision to drop the controversial proposals to limit questions and restrict petitions, particularly about the Local Plan has been covered in Get Hampshire.

We are pleased to see that the local press is concerned about local democracy and again welcome Hart’s decision drop the  draconian limits on the questions it can be asked and restrict the petitions it will accept.

Hart District Council question and petition proposals covered in local press

We Heart Hart in Fleet News and Mail 20 August 2015

We Heart Hart in Fleet News and Mail 20 August 2015

We Heart Hart in Basingstoke Gazette 20 August 2015

We Heart Hart in Basingstoke Gazette 20 August 2015

We are delighted that both the Fleet News and Mail and the Basingstoke Gazette have run stories on Hart District Council’s proposals to restrict questions and limit petitions.  Hopefully, this will help persuade the Council to work with We Heart Hart and Winchfield Action Group instead of trying to silence our proposals to improve the Local Plan.

Full images of the articles can be found on the links below:

Coverage in Fleet News and Mail August 20 2015: Claim of council ‘silencing critics’

Coverage in Basingstoke Gazette August 20 2015: Council’s question limit hit by campaign