Community Campaign Hart takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Hart District Council takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign Hart takes aim at the Heart of Hart

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) have published a new newsletter on their website that calls for a new settlement to destroy the Heart of Hart in Winchfield.

In their article they make criticism of We Heart Hart and the good residents of Winchfield, and come to the conclusion that the only viable option for delivering the housing we need is a new settlement of 3,000-5,000 houses in Winchfield.  In their article they make a number of assertions that we believe are false, and will now seek to correct them, point by point.  But first, it is important that we start with the areas where we agree with CCH.

Points of Agreement

CCH say:

Until Hart have an LDP which meets the approval of a Government-appointed inspector, developers are in effect able to build on almost any greenfield site they choose

We broadly agree with this, although as in the case of Hop Garden Road in Hook, sometimes common sense can prevail especially now that Hart has more than 5 years of land supply.  However, if CCH are so concerned about the lack of a Local Plan, they should work more closely with We Heart Hart and others to ensure that Hart Council takes proper steps to improve the management of the Local Plan project that has slipped its timescale by two years within two years.  They would do better to use their time at council meetings to ask questions about the local plan rather than seek to stifle difficult questions.

Points of Difference

1. CCH say:

There just isn’t enough brownfield land available to accommodate that number of new homes, unless we are going to build high-rise tenement blocks along the length of Fleet Road.

This is simply not true on a number of levels.  First, the council hasn’t even created a proper register of brownfield sites so it hasn’t properly assessed capacity.  Second, our own work has shown there’s capacity for between 2,438 and 3,688 units, compared to the remaining unsatisfied “need” of 2,900 given at the last cabinet.

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices on Fleet Road in Fleet, Hampshire

Third, parts of Fleet Road are a disgrace to the district and should be redeveloped, not with tenements, but with mid-rise (say 3-4 storey) high quality apartments to help young people get on the housing ladder.  Finally, there is brownfield capacity all over the district including Ancell’s Farm, Bartley Wood, Pyestock, Bramshill and Guillemont Park.  They really should get out more and see all of the vacant offices around the district.

2. CCH say:

With a mainline railway station far closer to it than to any other new development in Fleet; with the option to integrate new roads onto the A30 and through to the M3; together with sufficient scale to fund three new primary schools and a new secondary school, Winchfield strikes many as being the best compromise

This is economic incompetence of the highest order.  The council’s own assessment of infrastructure needs points to costs of over £300m for a new town including the schools, but not including improvements to healthcare.  The ballpark estimate for developer contributions made by a senior Hart Councillor is around £40m.  There’s already a £78m infrastructure funding deficit in the district and £1.9bn across Hampshire.  Not only would a new town at Winchfield destroy green fields, it would destroy ancient hedgerows and put at risk SSSI’s and SINCs, but it would no doubt further increase congestion in Fleet and Church Crookham.

3, CCH say:

Consequently they have resorted to social media and other marketing techniques to promote the ‘wehearthart’ message.

However, their messaging is incomplete. They point to the council wishing to build a new town at Winchfield and seek to demonize anyone who may have reached the conclusion, however reluctantly, that a new town at Winchfield is the least worst solution out of an abhorrent set of options. They do not explain what the alternatives are, as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) mandates that this level of housing must go somewhere within Hart’s borders

We do not see what is wrong with communicating with the public using social media on the serious issue of the Local Plan, particularly when the council gets its own facts wrong.  However, We Heart Hart has explained what the alternatives are at some length, and the CCH Chairman of the council sought to have questions that we raised to indicate a different path censored at council meetings.  The alternatives are:

a) Reduce the alleged housing need by challenging the SHMA, particularly taking into account the latest DCLG population forecasts that indicate a lower population in 2031 than assumed in the SHMA and the reducing ridiculous jobs forecasts.  CCH would do well to engage with this debate instead of seeking to censor it.

b) Explore the options for reducing the assessed housing need by exploring so called “policy on” options to protect the environment and ecology.  Note that Winchfield is beautiful countryside in its own right, but is also within the 5km zone of influence of the Thames Valley Heath SPA.

c) Properly get to grips with brownfield options by establishing a brownfield register, actively encouraging landlords to redevelop their derelict sites and exploring the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders on sites that have sat vacant for years with no apparent signs of progress (e.g. Hartland Park aka Pyestock).

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

CCH need to wake up, smell the coffee, listen to Ranil Jaywardena and use their talents to establish a different vision to protect the countryside they profess to love rather than coming out with incomplete, inaccurate nonsense.  Be careful who you vote for in next year’s local elections.

This story now covered in the local press, see here.

Questions for Hart Council meeting on 29 October 2015

Hart District Council Offices

Hart District Council Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Hart District Council meets again on 29 October at 7pm.  We have been busy preparing some questions for them on brownfield capacity; the impact of the new Government announcements about brownfield sites; Ranil’s statement about protecting our green fields; when they might use Compulsory Purchase Orders to acquire vacant sites; the inaccurate assumptions in the SHMA and the slippage in the timetable for the Hart Local Plan.

The questions can be downloaded from the button, and are re-produced below:

Questions to Hart Council on 29 October 2015

To Daryl Phillips

  1. Please provide an analysis, including SHLAA ref, site name and description, site area in hectares, and expected yield, of the sites that have been used to build up the estimate provided at cabinet on 1 October 2015, when you asserted that the ‘guesstimated’ capacity for brownfield development in the district up to 2031 was now 1,800 dwellings (up from the 750 dwelling estimate of a year ago and compared to the 2,438 units estimated by WeHeartHart).
  1. How will the recent Government announcement extending permitted development rights indefinitely and allowing automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites impact your assessment of brownfield capacity?

To Stephen Parker

  1. Do you agree with our local MP who says: “I believe unused and redundant commercial buildings should be brought forward for regeneration before any more greenfield sites are allocated anywhere in NE Hampshire. That includes Grove Farm, Hop Garden, Winchfield, the Urnfield…I’m against these developments – indeed, this sort of large-scale top-down volume-led development generally – as I do not believe they are necessary to deliver the housing we need in our area. Looking at Hart District specifically for a moment, as the largest part of the constituency, I believe that the local housing demand can be met on brownfield sites”?
  1. What criteria would you use and how long would a brownfield site need to be vacant, with no sign of redevelopment before the council would consider using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to ensure that we can build modern apartments for young professionals who can’t otherwise buy a home in our area?
  1. How many sites would meet those criteria and how many dwellings might they yield?
  1. Given that the baseline estimate of the number of households in Hart in 2011 and 2031 used in the SHMA was 35,760 and 42,220 respectively, but the new DCLG 2012-based household projections (Table 406) for 2031 show that Hart will have only 40,618 households, a reduction of 1,602, can you confirm that these revised figures will lead to a corresponding reduction in Hart’s assessed housing need?
  1. When will the 6,560 excess housing requirement for the whole HMA be removed from the assessed need in the SHMA given that the new DCLG 2012-based population projections (Table 426) show a population projection of only 289K for the HMA for 2031, compared to the SHMA (Appendix F, Figure 2)
Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

starting assumption of 307K and the final population estimate of 322K used to determine housing need?

  1. What justification is there for assuming the significant social changes implied in the SHMA given that the SHMA increases the number of houses that need to be built based in part on very ambitious jobs forecasts which when combined with the population projections in the SHMA results in a massive increase in the proportion of people of working age who will be in employment (see table below)?

 

Data Point2011 (Census)2011 (BRES)2031 (PROJ 2)2031 (PROJ 5)
SHMA Population (a) 272,394 272,394 307,578 322,278
People in employment (b) 122,300 125,000 162,233 170,223
Overall % in employment (b/a)44.9%45.9%52.7%52.8%
People over 70 (c) 28,559 28,559 51,164 51,164
People 5-19 (d) 67,375 67,375 73,206 73,206
People of working age (a-c-d)=e 176,460 176,460 183,208 197,908
% working age in employment (b/e)69.3%70.8%88.6%86.0%

 

  1. What steps will be taken to adjust the jobs forecasts in the SHMA given that, a) the revised BRES job numbers for 2013 show that the compound annual growth rate in jobs we have achieved since the recession ended in 2009 is ~0.5% which is much lower than the ~0.8% growth rate assumed in the SHMA for the period 2011-2031, b) this comes at a time when the UK is creating more jobs than the rest of the EU put together and c) it is inevitable we will experience at least one more recession during the plan period?
Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

  1. What steps are being taken to accelerate the delivery of the Local Plan given that the recent Government announcement indicated that Local Plans need to be brought into force by 2017 and the current LDS shows the Local Plan being adopted in Summer 2017 and other DPD’s in Autumn 2018 and the track record of past slippage?

Housing allocation for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should reduce by 6,560 according to new DCLG figures

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

The housing allocation for the combined Housing Market Area (HMA) of Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should be reduced by by 27.7% or 6,560 houses, taking away the risk that Rushmoor and Surrey Heath will ask Hart to build 3,000 houses for them and ensuring Hart’s own requirement can be built on brownfield sites only according to new population projections that have been released by the DCLG.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

Figure 1: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F

The SHMA worked by taking as a starting point earlier Government figures that showed the combined population of the HMA would be 307K (PROJ 2 circled in Figure 1 above) and this was inflated by increasing the assumptions on inward migration, average household size and jobs growth to arrive at a final figure of 322K (PROJ 5 circled in Figure 1 above).

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 1

Figure 2: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Interestingly, revised population forecasts were published by the Government as the SHMA was being finalised that showed that the start point population forecast should be reduced to 295K (circled in Figure 2 above), but amazingly these changes were not used to reduce the assessed housing need.  If they had been used, the total amount of housing that would be required for the HMA would have reduced by 208 per annum (see Figure 3 below), or a total of 4,160 dwellings out of a total objectively assessed housing need (OAHN) of 23,600.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 2

Figure 3: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Now the latest DCLG figures (Table 426) have reduced the population forecast for 2031 for the whole HMA down to only 289K, a reduction of 6,000 people, which equates to a reduction of a further ~2,400 houses (@2.5 people per property).

Taken together these reductions in population forecasts would reduce the whole housing need for the HMA by 6,560 houses of the 23,600 or a reduction of a stunning 27.7%.

We wonder when Hart Council, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath councils will take these new figures into account in the Local Plan.

 

Government makes brownfield development easier but steps up pressure on Local Plans

10 Downing Street

Number 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister has made an important announcement today about brownfield development and added to the pressure on Councils to produce Local Plans by 2017.

First, on brownfield development, the Government has made two announcements:

  • Automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites – to build as many homes as possible while protecting the green belt
  • the PM also announced that a temporary rule introduced in May 2013 allowing people to convert disused offices into homes without applying for planning permission will be made a permanent change – after almost 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 to June this year

These are important developments as they make it easier to make use of the massive surplus of brownfield land in the district so we can maximise brownfield capacity and have no need to build a new town at Winchfield or anywhere else.

Second, the Government has increased the pressure on councils to get Local Plans in place by 2017, saying:

Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them….Following today’s announcement, if councils fail to produce and bring into force an up to date plan for new homes by 2017, we will work with local people to ensure one is drawn up. Ministers will shortly be bringing forward further details of how best to intervene when councils have failed to get started on their plans

This potentially puts Hart District Council (and potentially other Hampshire districts) on a collision course with Government, because it has repeatedly failed to hit its own deadlines for the Local Plan and its latest Development Schedule shows the main Local Plan not being adopted until Summer 2017, with other development plan documents not due to be adopted until Autumn 2018.

We wonder when Government Inspectors will be knocking on the door of local people asking what they want from a Local Plan?

Hart household projections fall according to new figures from DCLG

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Do we want to lose our cows to concrete?

In a piece of good news, revised population projections published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that Hart will have fewer households in 2031 than were assumed in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).  This should have the effect of reducing the housing requirement being imposed on Hart District as part of the Local Plan.  This might reduce the remaining 2,900 houses left to grant permission for and make it more likely we can meet all of the remaining need from brownfield sites.

 

Local Authority2011 householdsSHMA start point for 2031 using 2011-based population projectionNew projection for 2031 using 2012-based population projectionChange between 2011-based and 2012-based projectionsSHMA end-point for 2031
Hart357574222040618-160243291
Rushmoor365594083042362153246381
Surrey Heath33632381703832115140689
Total10594812122012130181130361

 

However in other news, the same new figures for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath show higher projections for households up to 2031 than were assumed in the SHMA.  This might increase the housing requirement for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor and they may ask that Hart builds those houses for them.

What is clear is that the SHMA then makes several dubious adjustments to the baseline DCLG projections that add a further 9,000 or so houses to the total for the housing market area that need to be challenged.

The DCLG figures can be found here and here.  The SHMA can be found here.

Latest jobs growth figures well short of SHMA estimates

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

The Government have released the revised BRES job numbers for 2013 and these show that the jobs growth rate we have achieved since the recession ended in 2009 is still much lower than the jobs growth rate assumed in the SHMA for the period 2011-2031, during which period it is inevitable we will experience at least one more recession.  This comes at a time when the UK is creating more jobs than the rest of the EU put together, so can hardly be described as a normal set of circumstances.

The flawed jobs growth rate in the SHMA adds 5,100 extra houses to to the overall housing allocation to the combined Housing Market Area of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  The impact of this is that it pushes up Hart’s own allocation and forces Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to ask Hart to become a sink for 3,000 extra houses for them. Furthermore, these jobs forecasts lead to over-estimates of the amount of employment land we need and so constrains the amount of land that might be made available for housing.

Hart becomes Housing Sink for Surrey Heath and Rushmor

Hart becomes sink for 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

If these errors in the SHMA growth rate were corrected the threat from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor would evaporate and Hart’s own housing allocation for the Local Plan would come down from 7,534 to around 6,750, which would definitely mean the remaining requirement could be made from brownfield sites alone.

How long before the penny drops with Hart District Council and the other Hampshire boroughs that they need to revise the SHMA to a more realistic number?

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

Ranil Jayawardena says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

In a very welcome move, local MP for Hampshire North East, Ranil Jayawardena has come down strongly against proposed large scale green field developments such as Winchfield New Town, and asked Hart Council to produce a register of brownfield sites and be more active in using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) on brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.

In a week where Conservative MP’s have been spat at on the streets of Manchester, I think the only risk to Ranil after publishing his article is that he will be showered with kisses from his local constituents.

In response to questions from his constituents, Ranil has set out his views on planning and development.  Ranil has also set up a petition  saying brownfield development must be more strongly prioritised by Local Planning Authorities and Neighbourhood Plans must continue to be respected, both in the absence of Local Plans and by Local Planning Authorities when devising Local Plans.

Sign Ranil's Petition

The key passage from Ranil’s article is re-produced below:

I believe unused and redundant commercial buildings should be brought forward for regeneration before any more greenfield sites are allocated anywhere in North East Hampshire. That includes Grove Farm, Hop Garden, Winchfield, the Urnfield – and any other greenfield site for that matter – unless a locally-led Neighbourhood Plan wants to build homes to meet local needs.

I’ll go further. I’m against these developments – indeed, this sort of large-scale top-down volume-led development generally – as I do not believe they are necessary to deliver the housing we need in our area. Looking at Hart District specifically for a moment, as the largest part of the constituency, I believe that the local housing demand can be met on brownfield sites. This has the massive advantage of, often, improving an area; instead of vacant office buildings on Fleet Road, for instance, why not have modern apartments for young professionals who can’t otherwise buy a home in our area?

In July 2015, the Chancellor set out in the budget that, to reinforce our commitment to making best use of brownfield land, legislation will grant permission in principle for housing on suitable sites identified in the new statutory brownfield register. (Interested folk might recall that Hart District Council was previously asked to create a register, but chose not to. There will now be one.) Brownfield redevelopment will also be supported by strengthened advice for authorities on the release of land earmarked for employment purposes where it is no longer needed. Whatever your politics, I hope you’d agree that the Government – while still protecting the rights of local Councils to determine the future of their own area – is being clearer than ever that brownfield land must be prioritised.

I’d even suggest, perhaps unusually for a Conservative, that Councils should be more active in their use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) where brownfield sites exist and it is clear that it would be a good site for housing, but the landowner is standing in the way of development, or the site as a whole is currently in multiple ownership. Not only would this deliver properly thought through regeneration, maximising the potential of brownfield land but, done right, it would also be good for local taxpayers, as the receipts from such a scheme on the eventual sale or rental of properties would help to keep Council Tax low in future…

Of course, the National Planning Policy Framework has always made clear that “planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land)” and that local Councils “may continue to consider the case for setting a locally appropriate target for the use of brownfield land”. I’ve spoken with Government Ministers and others about this policy, which applies across the country. I was pleased that the Prime Minister included a £1billion ‘brownfield regeneration fund’ in the Conservative Party manifesto, which will help make more brownfield regeneration happen, while now requiring Councils to bring forward 90% of suitable brownfield sites for housing by 2020, both of which will help protect our countryside.

Needless to say, We Heart Hart is delighted by Ranil’s article as it reiterates many of the points we have been making for some time about brownfield capacity and the need to establish a proper database of brownfield sites as part of a different approach to the local plan.

It remains to be seen whether Hart District Council’s Conservative administration will heed the advice of its local Conservative MP and the express wishes of the Conservative Government when preparing the forthcoming coming consultation paper on housing options for the Local Plan.

Of course, Ranil’s intervention also increases the pressure on Rushmoor Borough Council who are needlessly protecting 96 hectares of brownfield land when there is a massive surplus of employment land whilst at the same time asking Hart to build 1,600 houses for them.

 

Hart Council rejects opinion of 2,130 people who signed the We Heart Hart petition

Hart in Heart of Hart, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Hart in the Heart of Hart, Winchfield, Hampshire

We went to the Cabinet meeting last night armed with a draft of Hart Council’s response to the petition and unfortunately, the council rejected the three main elements of petition to reduce the overall housing allocation for Hart and our demand that the remaining housing allocation is met from brownfield sites alone.  The council also refused to stop planning to build a new town that would act as a sink for 3,100 houses from Rushmoor and Surrey Heath.

It is outrageous that Hart Council should dismiss the opinion of 2,130 people.  Hart’s own consultation only received 750 replies and only 202 of those expressed a preference for a new town. Given the earlier failure of the Local Plan at inspection, it is simply astonishing that Hart should be basing their planning policy on a “guesstimate” of brownfield capacity. It is unbelievable that they refuse to set up a proper register of brownfield sites and can’t be bothered to track which brownfield sites have been granted planning permission.

We have produced a press release about this that can be downloaded from the link below:

 

We Heart Hart Press Release 2 October 2015

 

Hart becomes Housing Sink for Surrey Heath and Rushmor

Hart becomes sink for 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

On a more positive note, the council did say they would consider the vision we put forwards and will include a new vision in the forthcoming consultation.  The council did also say they would try to accommodate the needs of the elderly, but implied they could only do so if they built a new town at Winchfield. It is clear the council has no means of measuring its performance against the SHMA requirement to build 2,500 specialist units for the elderly.

The debate at council raised a number of interesting points, but Cabinet did not resolve to alter anything in the draft response they had put forward and clearly had not fully considered our suggested response to the petition.  In effect, the council are ignoring the views of 2,130 people on several of the key issues raised by the petition.  We will have to mobilise our supporters to put forward their views in the forthcoming consultation.

The detail of the discussion covered a number of topics:

Challenging the SHMA.  The council did concede that they would need to re-visit the SHMA in due course and update the employment forecasts.  We did point out that the jobs forecasts assume a growth rate nearly double that we achieved in the period 1998-2012, and that Cambridge employment forecasts for the South East used in a challenge to the Vale of White Horse Local Plan are similar to historic average growth rates we beleive should be used in the SHMA.

The council refused to undertake a study to quantify the value of Hart’s environment and ecology.  This is a blow as it could enable the council to use environmental constraints as an argument for not building the full housing allocation.

Brownfield sites.  Despite putting evidence in front of council that there is brownfield capacity for at least 2,438 dwellings and possibly over 3,600 units, Hart is still sticking by its current “guesstimate” of only 1,800 units on brownfield sites.  It is quite astonishing that Hart is basing its planning policy on a “guesstimate”. Last week Hart Council did admit that there was a residual requirement of only 2,900 houses.  It is clear to us, that meeting the the remaining need from brownfield only is well within reach.

Some councillors were concerned about our proposed densities in urban areas until we pointed out that they have already approved and are delivering developments at even higher densities.  Other concerns raised were about using up too much employment land until we pointed out that there’s over 500,000 sq m of vacant employment land across the housing market area, and we are in no danger of running out any time soon.

Overall I am afraid I got the impression that they listened, but they had already made their mind up that a new town was the answer to the Local Plan no matter what contrary evidence was put to them.

We must gird our loins for a long campaign to fight against these proposals.

 

 

Hart District Council ‘brownfield first’ commitment in tatters

Vacant brownfield Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Office at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

In an astonishing admission, Hart Council have said that they do not track planning applications for brownfield site developments separately to green field developments.  This comes on top of their insistence that they do not need to build a register of brownfield sites in the district and their inadequate classification of sites in the SHLAA.

Taken together, these make a mockery of the council’s supposed commitment to a ‘brownfield first’ strategy.

The admission came in answers to questions put to the council by Winchfield Action Group at the council meeting last week on 24 September.  The full Q&A can be found here.  The brownfield topic is quoted below in full (my emphasis added):

Question 8

How many units have been applied for or granted or identified, and their locations and categories, as possible conversions or developments on brownfield sites since October 2014?

SP response

With regards solely to conversions allowed through permitted development rights:

At 14th September 2015, there were 258 dwellings approved through the permitted development/prior approval notice procedure the bulk of which are conversions from offices to residential.  5 units were completed in the year 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.  This information is published on Hart’s website.

These figures exclude brownfield sites that require planning permission, because those are not currently split between greenfield and brownfield developments.  We do need to be mindful that as yet the PDR regime closes next May, and it is now way too late for a developer complete any such conversion if not already started.  You will however note the brownfield provisions on today’s council agenda, which we will be discussion later this evening.

You will note that the question was not properly answered.  It was designed to get the council to confirm the figures we have put together regarding the available capacity on brownfield sites.

However, in better news, it emerged that there are only 2,900 dwellings left to grant permission for up to 2032.  This almost certainly means that there is now more brownfield capacity than the remaining housing target in the Hart Local Plan.

Question 9

Of the 7534 housing target set out in the SHMA, what is the residual requirement left that need to be granted planning permission?

SP response

At 14th September 2015 the residual requirement to 2032 was approximately 2,900 dwellings needed to meet Hart’s housing needs as identified in the December 2014 SHMA, although we will be required to refresh this document before we go to Examination.  However I should point out that this figure does not allow for any unmet need arising in Rushmoor and Surrey Heath that we may have to meet under the provisions of the Duty to Cooperate.  Rushmoor currently say they have a 1,600 dwelling shortfall although as I have said previously, Hart has challenged that figure

It is clear that we don’t need a new town in Winchfield, Hampshire or anywhere else.

 

Hart Council persists with Winchfield New Town idea despite petition from 2,130 people

Example of Urban Sprawl

Example of Urban Sprawl

Hart District Council’s Planning Department are persisting with plans for a new town in Winchfield, despite receiving a petition from 2,130 people asking that it does not include a new town in its new Local Plan. In its latest edition of Hart News, it has included a number of articles about the Local Plan which contain many controversial statements as outlined below.

Why we need 3,500 new homes in Hart

Why we need 3,500 new homes in Hart

In its first article, Hart Council say the “Council is reluctant to see ever more growth in existing towns and villages so the preference is to explore a new settlement at Winchfield”.  This is in direct contradiction to the 5th objective of the petition which says:

To demand the council and government do not plan for any new settlement in Hart that will act as a sink for the unmet housing need in neighbouring areas.

Moreover, they say that brownfield capacity is only 1,800 units when we have already demonstrated that since last October, their original estimate of only 750 units is now in the range of 2,438-3,688, demonstrating that the remaining allocation of 3,500 is within reach with a bit of extra effort.

Hart Council also conveniently gloss over the fact that there is already a £78m infrastructure funding gap that can only get worse if they go for a new town, because the £300m infrastructure costs will far outweigh any developer contributions (c. £40m).

Communities have a say on shaping area's future. Council wins Hop Garden appeal to halt urban sprawl

Communities have a say on shaping area’s future. Council wins Hop Garden appeal to halt urban sprawl

In their second and third articles, they emphasise that they turned down the proposed development at Hop Garden Road, Hook to stop unwanted sprawl and to protect the environment, local residents and protected species.  The very same arguments could be advanced to protect Winchfield, which unlike Hop Garden Road is inside the zone of influence of the Thames Valley Heath SPA and contains 3 SSSI’s and many SINCs.

Hart Council laud Neighbourhood Plans as a chance for residents to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work whilst at the same time rather ominously suggesting that Neighbourhood Plans must conform to Hart Council’s assessment of their housing needs.  It remains to be seen how Winchfield’s Neighbourhood Plan, which WeHeartHart understands will propose significant development, will be treated by Hart Council when it is submitted.

Hart is going to give its formal response to the petition at the Cabinet meeting on 1 October.  After seeing today’s articles, that debate is going to be interesting…..