Hart solidifies plans for a new town at Winchfield in defiance of Government preference for brownfield development

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Cows in Winchfield under threat

In a new report to Parish Councils, Hart District Council has apparently taken the next step towards solidifying its policy of building a new town at Winchfield.  In the report Hart suggests wording of a draft policy to reflect its current thinking if its strategy survives the testing process:

The Council will work with its housing market area partners to deliver 24,413 new homes across the Hart/Rushmoor/Surrey Heath Housing Market Area over the period 2011-2032. Hart’s proportion of that number is 7,534 [these figures may be subject to change if/when the SHMA is revised].

The Council has identified and allocated sufficient land to meet its needs up until 2024/2025. Thereafter, the bulk of Hart’s housing needs will be met through the development of a new settlement centered on the area that comprises Winchfield. The vision for the new settlement will be developed through a master planning exercise and will be the subject of a separate Development Plan Document.

The Council, though it’s allocations policy, will give priority to directing development to those areas where potential adverse effects can be avoided without the need for mitigation measures (i.e. those areas that lie beyond the Thames Basins Heaths Special Protection Area zone of influence [this is a Policy required of Policy NRM6 of the South East Plan.].

To deliver its housing needs the Council will seek to maximise the potential for brownfield land development where that development is appropriate to the existing character of the area, demonstrates that there is sufficient infrastructure in place to meet the needs arising from that development, and where it does not compromises other objectives, such as protecting amenity, achieving good design, the protection of important heritage assets etc.

Elsewhere, development will be strictly controlled and new development will only allowed on green field sites where the land has been allocated for development and where it enhances the sustainability of the location, demonstrates that sufficient infrastructure is, or can be put in place, to meet the needs arising from the development, and where the form and pattern of development is integrated into, and is compatible with, its surroundings.

If through Local Plan examination, and subsequent housing delivery monitoring it is demonstrated that Hart’s housing market area partners cannot reasonably meet their respective housing needs, the Council will seek to cooperate with its partners to help meet any unmet needs. This will be done through a review of the Local Plan which will assess the potential for accelerated growth of the new settlement centered on Winchfield, or the release of strategic urban extensions at **** or *****. [Options yet to be determined]

This is clearly bad news for those of us who oppose a new town and is strange given the new report highlighting the massive costs and significant barriers to delivery of a new town and new Government guidance indicating a preference for brownfield development. But in better news, Hart says it is revising the timetable for the Local Plan, saying it is planning to publish a “fully worked up draft Plan later this summer”. Hopefully, this will give an opportunity to respond to a new consultation.

If you would like to ask the council to think again, please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

Government and CPRE call for more building on brownfield sites

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

In response to the Government’s Productivity Plan, announced today, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has called for the Government to implement a ‘brownfield first’ rule.

The Government will introduce a new zonal system which will effectively give automatic permission on suitable brownfield sites.  This was welcomed by the CPRE in their statement, but they asked the Government to go further saying:

“To achieve the development we want and need on brownfield land, the Government should implement a ‘brownfield first’ rule at the heart of planning to prioritise urban redevelopment and leave behind the unsustainable status quo – where developers cherry pick green fields for development. Communities must also be involved from the start to ensure good design, and it is desperately important that new developments include a significant amount of affordable housing.”

We Heart Hart wholeheartedly agrees with this approach, and would like to see the combined boroughs of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor implement these ideas by prioritising building on the 196 hectares of vacant employment land that will remain in the Housing Market Area at the end of the plan period.  In particular, Rushmoor is protecting 96 hectares of employment land, whilst at the same time asking Hart to build 1,600 houses on beautiful green fields.  We think this is madness and it forms one of our arguments opposing the Rushmoor Local Plan.  If you would like to put in your objection, please see our post here and please use the pre-prepared form on the link below.

 

Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

 

There are certainly plenty of brownfield sites to be considered:

  • We Heart Hart's Mascot - Bravehart
    We Heart Hart's Mascot - Bravehart

 

Why is it important for Hart residents to oppose the Rushmoor Local Plan?

 

Example of Urban Sprawl

Example of Urban Sprawl

We have received some feedback questioning why Hart District residents should contribute to Rushmoor Borough Council’s consultation on its Draft Local Plan.

The main reasons are:

  1. Help fend off the extra 1,600 houses Rushmoor wants Hart to build for them and avoid urban sprawl like that shown above.
  2. Challenge the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) that has led to the combined Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor housing requirement being set so high.  If we are successful in this, then Surrey Heath and Rushmoor don’t need to foist houses on Hart and the whole need for a new town at Winchfield or anywhere else goes away
  3. Push for more of the housing requirement to be built on the 196 hectares of surplus brownfield employment land.
  4. Point out the fundamental flaw of the combined £158m infrastructure funding deficit across Rushmoor and Hart (and £1.9bn funding deficit across Hampshire) that will mean we will get all of the houses but none of the infrastructure spending we need to build the healthcare facilities, expand rail capacity, fix broken roads and build the schools we need.

Please download the pre-prepared feedback forms, fill in your details and send off to plan@rushmoor.gov.uk.  The consultation closes on 20 July 2015.

 

Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

 

Additional Response to Rushmoor Local Plan

link link

Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 hectares of brownfield sites but asking Hart to concrete over green fields

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Rushmoor have released more details about their Land Assessment (SHLAA) that reveal they are seeking to protect over 96 hectares of brownfield sites for employment use even though there is a massive glut of employment space across Hart, Rushmoor, Surrey Heath and surrounding districts.

Rushmoor Protected Employment Sites

Rushmoor Protected Employment Sites

If even half of this was used for housing at 100 dwelling per hectare, it would yield 4,800 houses for people in Rushmoor and would mean that Rushmoor could meet its own housing need and even take some of Hart and Surrey Heath’s allocation.

If you would like to ask Rushmoor to revise their Local Plan and make better use of the brownfield sites they have, then please follow the simple process below:

  1. Download the Local Plan response form from the link below.
  2. On page 3, fill in your name and contact details and type your name and date in the boxes at the bottom of the page.
  3. Review the comments made and feel free to add, amend or delete as you see fit.
  4. Save the document, attach it to an email and send to plan@rushmoor.gov.uk
  5. Share a link to this page to all your friends and family as well as any sports clubs or community groups you belong to via word of mouth, email, Facebook and Twitter and ask them to put in a response and share this page again.
  6. If you have not already done so, please sign and share our petition too

 

Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

 

Massive surplus of brownfield employment land but Rushmoor wants Hart to concrete over green fields

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

The Employment Land Review (ELR) shows there is a massive surplus of around 600K sq m employment space occupying around 195 Ha of land across the combined area of Hart District, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Boroughs. Yet, Rushmoor is seeking to protect 96 hectares of this land whilst at the same time trying to force Hart to build 1,600 houses for them on our beautiful green fields.

 Employment Space (sq m)
Overall Requirement to 2032 (a)266,368
Current vacant space (b)527,840
Sites with planning permission (c)338,187
Surplus in 2032 (b+c-a)599,659

If you would like to ask Rushmoor to revise its draft local plan, please download our pre-prepared response form and send it to plan@rushmoor.gov.uk.

 

Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

 

The analysis to support the conclusion is shown below.  We posted earlier that the ELR is based on the same flawed jobs forecasts as the housing market assessment that predict a near doubling of the job creation rate we achieved in the period 1998-2012.  However, even if you accept these flawed forecasts and the unnecessary increase in housing it will lead to, the requirement for employment land in the combined economic area is 266K sq m using Rushmoor’s preferred Scenario 3.

Employment Land Requirements for Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

Employment Land Requirements for Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

However, as of December 2014, over 527K sq m of employment floorspace was lying vacant.

Vacant Employment Space in Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

Vacant Employment Space in Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

Moreover, there is a glut of employment space all across neighbouring districts with very high levels of vacant office space (note that there are also high vacancy rates on industrial land):

Office vacancy rates in neighbouring districts

Office vacancy rates in neighbouring districts

In addition to the vacant units shown above, there is currently 388K sq m of floorspace on 110 Ha of land that currently has planning permission but is not yet being built:

Unimplemented planning permission in Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

Unimplemented planning permission in Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

Drawing this together, there is a need for 266,000 sq m of space to meet the inflated employment forecasts, there’s currently 527,000 sq m lying vacant, with a further 338,000 sq m with planning permission, but not yet built.  This would leave a surplus of nearly 600,000 sq m of employment space that might occupy around 195 Ha of land, using the same ratio of employment space to land use as the existing planning permissions.

It is clearly ridiculous for all of this land to be protected when even if say 100 Ha is made available, at 100 dwellings per hectare there could be room for 10,000 dwellings, a very large proportion of the overall 24,413 houses that have been allocated to Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.

Rushmoor protecting acres of vacant offices and asking Hart to build 1,600 houses for them

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Rushmoor Borough Council is seeking to protect acres of empty, brownfield office sites, but at the same time it is asking Hart to build 1,600 houses for them because Rushmoor says it can’t meet its own need.  If Hart is forced to take all these houses it makes it more likely we will have to build a new town and concrete over our beautiful green fields and countryside.

Bravehart has been out and about again and taken photos of 15 vacant employment sites across Rushmoor.  This is far from a comprehensive assessment of all of the vacant sites in Rushmoor, but it does illustrate the scale of the opportunity available. It has subsequently emerged that Rushmoor want to protect 96 Ha of brownfield land even though their own Employment Land Review predicted a massive surplus at the end of the plan period.

  • We Heart Hart's Mascot - Bravehart
    We Heart Hart's Mascot - Bravehart

Rushmoor has recently published its draft Local Plan and has asked for comments from the public.  If you are a Hart District resident and you would like them to re-visit their plan and build all of their own need on their own patch, then you can use the pre-prepared from on the link below.  All you need to do is:

  1. Download the Local Plan response form from the link below.
  2. On page 3, fill in your name and contact details and type your name and date in the boxes at the bottom of the page.
  3. Review the comments made and feel free to add, amend or delete as you see fit.
  4. Save the document, attach it to an email and send to plan@rushmoor.gov.uk
  5. Share a link to this page to all your friends and family as well as any sports clubs or community groups you belong to via word of mouth, email, Facebook and Twitter and ask them to put in a response and share this page again.
  6. If you have not already done so, please sign and share our petition too.
Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

 

More detail here.

 

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Vacant Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Cody Technology Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Cody Technology Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Vacant Offices at Farnborough Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at near Aldershot, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at near Aldershot, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Southwood Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

 

Please help Hart fend off an extra 1,600 houses from Rushmoor

Is this what we want Hart to turn into?

Is this what we want Hart to turn into?

Rushmoor Borough Council has published a draft Local Plan where it proposes to build only 8,200 of its assessed need of 9,822 houses over the plan period.  It is clear that Rushmoor is seeking to offload the remaining 1,622 houses on to Hart District.

We need to oppose this move and We Heart Heart have produced some materials to help you do this easily.  Our voice will have greater weight if we can get more Hart residents to comment on Rushmoor’s plan than Rushmoor residents. Please follow the simple process below:

  1. Download the Local Plan response form from the link below.
  2. On page 3, fill in your name and contact details and type your name and date in the boxes at the bottom of the page.
  3. Review the comments made and feel free to add, amend or delete as you see fit.
  4. Save the document, attach it to an email and send to plan@rushmoor.gov.uk
  5. Share a link to this page to all your friends and family as well as any sports clubs or community groups you belong to via word of mouth, email, Facebook and Twitter and ask them to put in a response and share this page again.
  6. If you have not already done so, please sign and share our petition too.
Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

A summary of the arguments we are putting forwards is outlined below.

Slippery slope to taking more housing than the other districts

The proposal to take an additional 1,622 houses from Rushmoor puts us on the slippery slope to accepting a further 1,400 houses from Surrey Heath such that Hart District ends up having to build the most houses in the Housing Market Area.

 

 Hart DistrictSurrey Heath BoroughRushmoor BoroughTotal Housing Market Area
Original SHMA7,5347,0579,82224,413
Proposed Transfers3,022(1,400)(1,622)0
New Total10,5565,6578,20024,413

 

This will impact all of our districts including Blackwater and Hawley; Bramshill;  Church Crookham; Crondall; Crookham Village; Dogmersfield; Elvetham Heath; Eversley; Ewshot; Fleet; Greywell; Hartley Wintney; Heckfield; Hook; Mattingley; North Warnborough; Odiham; Rotherwick; South Warnborough; Winchfield; and Yateley adding additional pressure to an already difficult situation and make it more likely we have to accept both a new town and urban extensions on our beautiful green fields and countryside.

Hart and the rest of Housing Market Area are being asked to build too many houses

The whole Housing Market Area (HMA) should reduce the assessed need by 7,800 units which would reduce the pressure on Hart directly and remove the need for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to ask us to build >3,000 houses for them. This is discussed in more detail here.

Rushmoor isn’t making best use of its brownfield sites

This is discussed in more detail here and here. As can be seen, if Rushmoor gets more creative with Wellesley and plans to build on the sites it has already identified, there is potential capacity for over 30,000 dwellings, more than three times its (overblown) assessed need.   It surely cannot be too much to expect them to find the 1,600 houses they say they can’t build out of this wealth of opportunity.  Rushmoor Borough Council should re-visit its planned densities and seek to meet all of its assessed need within in its own boundaries.  It could then make some sites available for neighbouring rural districts in line with a recent survey of Hampshire residents seeking to protect rural areas.  Neighbouring districts could be approached to provide SANG capacity if required.  Rushmoor should also take a closer look at all the vacant sites in the district and seek to convert them to residential use.

Rushmoor’s Employment Land Review is overblown and seeks to protect more employment land than is necessary.

This is discussed here.  It is also clear that past forecasts got it wrong as evidenced by the large number of vacant office blocks and empty shops across Hart District.  If the ELR was reduced to more sensible levels they could free up more land for housing.

Indeed, even if you accept the overblown employment forecasts, there will be a surplus of nearly 600K sq m of employment space at the end of the plan period, covering around 195 Ha.  Yet Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 Ha of land whilst asking Hart to build 1,600 houses on green fields.

Rushmoor’s infrastructure plans are not credible

We posted here that Hampshire as a whole has a £1.9bn infrastructure funding deficit, with Rushmoor’s share of that being £80m.  Rushmoor makes no mention of this deficit in its draft Local Plan.  Hart’s own numbers show an infrastructure deficit of £78m.  All of these numbers are probably an under-statement given they were all produced before the scale of development now proposed was known.  This is in contravention of NPPF para 177 that says there must be a “reasonable prospect” of delivering the required infrastructure alongside housing:

“It is equally important to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect that planned infrastructure is deliverable in a timely fashion. To facilitate this, it is important that local planning authorities understand district-wide development costs at the time Local Plans are drawn up. For this reason, infrastructure and development policies should be planned at the same time, in the Local Plan”

Finally, they don’t even attempt to quantify the extra infrastructure Hart would need to build the extra 1,600 houses nor do they make any offer to fund any of that extra cost.

Rushmoor not planning to meet the needs of the ageing population

Figure 10.15 of the SHMA sets out the need for specialist housing and registered care places for the HMA and Rushmoor.  This states Rushmoor must build 710 sheltered and extra care units as well as provide an extra 600 registered care places. Their draft Local Plan makes no mention of the extra registered care places and sets no target for the sheltered and extra care units.  This is in contravention of NPPF para 50 which states:

“local planning authorities should…plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community (such as, but not limited to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes)”

Therefore the Rushmoor draft Local Plan runs the risk of being found unsound and should be revised.

 

In conclusion, the Rushmoor draft Local Plan contains many serious flaws and needs to be revised.

Link

 

Rushmoor has potential capacity for over 30,000 homes

Rushmoor Borough Council SHLAA Analysis

Rushmoor Borough Council SHLAA Analysis

In an earlier post, we highlighted how Rushmoor is not making the best use of the land set aside for the Wellesley (aka Aldershot Urban Extension) development.  Modern planning techniques could increase the yield of that site to over 21,500 dwellings.

We Heart Hart has now been given access to Rushmoor’s full SHLAA.  This shows that outside Wellesley, Rushmoor have identified 60.51Ha with a planned density of 51dph yielding 3,083 units. In addition, 128.74Ha are shown where they are not currently planning to build any houses (zero yield sites).  If these sites were planned to deliver at the same 51dph, they would yield an additional 6,560 units.  Without changing Wellesley, this would bring the available total capacity up to 13,493 units (or density could be increased on the 60.51Ha), far in excess of the assessed need of 9,822.

As can be seen, if Rushmoor gets more creative with Wellesley, and plans to build on the sites it has already identified, there is potential capacity for over 30,000 dwellings, more than three times its (overblown) assessed need.   It surely cannot be too much to expect them to find the 1,600 houses they say they can’t build and what to foist on to Hart District.  Rushmoor Borough Council should re-visit its planned densities and seek to meet all of its assessed need within in its own boundaries.  It could then make some sites available for neighbouring rural districts in line with a recent survey of Hampshire residents seeking to protect rural areas.  Neighbouring districts could be approached to provide SANG capacity if required.

This analysis will form part of our response to Rushmoor’s draft Local Plan.

 

Rushmoor can meet all of its housing needs (and more) from Wellesley alone

Wellesley - Aldershot Urban Extension - Planning Densities

Wellesley – Aldershot Urban Extension – Planning Densities

The centrepiece of Rushmoor’s development strategy in the draft Local Plan is the Wellesley development (formerly known as the Aldershot Urban Extension).

This is a 143 hectare development where they are planning to build 3,850 new houses.  This amounts to a pitiful density of only 26.9 dwellings per hectare (dph) across the whole area, even lower than Hart’s planning assumption of 30dph.  Across the plots digitised by Gareth Price, the density rises to 35.5dph whcih is still very low for an urban area.

If Rushmoor were to alter the plans for Wellesley to an easily achievable 68.7dph, they could meet the entire assessed housing need  of 9,822 up to 2032 without even touching the other sites in their SHLAA leaving additional capacity for future years or for neighbouring districts.

Modern planning techniques as outlined by Gareth Price, suggests that thriving, sustainable communities can be created in urban areas with planning densities in the range of 150-250dph.  Moving to around 152dph would give them capacity at Wellesley for over 21,500 units, giving sufficient capacity for Rushmoor for decades to come.

This analysis will form part of our response to Rushmoor’s draft Local Plan.

 

Hart District and Rushmoor can meet their housing needs from brownfield sites for 50 years or more

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

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

A new paper by young architecture graduate, Gareth Price shows that Hart District and Rushmoor Borough could build 49,000 homes on brownfield sites by shedding the old models of the past and adopting a more modern approach of building higher density developments in existing urban areas.  This would avoid urban sprawl and protect our green fields to act as amenity space for the enjoyment of all.

Gareth’s document goes through many of the brownfield sites in both Hart and Rushmoor and applies modern techniques to demonstrate how more can be made of existing land to build more affordable homes on brownfield sites in urban areas to meet the needs of younger people who are struggling to get on the housing ladder and the elderly who will more, smaller more manageable homes closer existing amenities and infrastructure.

The paper illustrates also illustrates where these techniques have been applied in London and on the continent to create vibrant, cohesive communities.

This paper is exactly the sort of thing that We Heart Hart had in mind when we put forward our 5-point plan for improving Hart’s approach to the Local Plan where we called for a competition to be held amongst architects to illustrate the art of the possible on our brownfield sites and provide a vision to guide the regeneration of our urban town centres as an alternative to endless urban sprawl across our green fields.

No doubt there will be some who will disagree with the level of development intensity Gareth proposes for some areas in Hart, where he concludes we could build 25,000 homes on them.  However, it is clear that the capacity of the brownfield sites he has studied is very much greater than the 700 dwellings Hart has said we could deliver over the period up to 2032.  Indeed, according to our brownfield monitor the capacity is already up to 2,360 units in just 6 months.  We must challenge Rushmoor to make more of their brownfield sites.

The paper can be downloaded below:

 

A sustainable approach to building on brownfield sites in Hart District and Rushmoor

 

Link