Ranil supports redevelopment of Pyestock (Hartland Park)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Prices of new homes out of reach of Hart residents

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

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

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

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

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath Median Incomes Figure 4.8 of SHMA

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

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

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

Wates Developments seeks Environmental Assessment of Pale Lane site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wates presentation to Elvetham Heath PC about Pale Lane



Lib Dems clarify their position on Pyestock

Hart Liberal Democrats Focus Stop Press about Pyestock

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

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

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

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

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

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

CPRE launches campaign to prevent more needless loss of countryside

CPRE Hampshire Logo

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

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

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

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

Community Campaign Hart set our their position on Pyestock and Winchfield New Town

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) logo

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) have responded to our request for clarification on their current position on the Winchfield New Town and the redevelopment of Pyestock for housing as part of the Hart Local Plan, an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.  Their answers to our questions and our response is shown below:

Do you support the new town proposed at Winchfield?

Even with the emerging opportunity at Pyestock there will be a need for many more houses to be built both in this plan period and realistically also in the future. A new town option gives the opportunity for a community to be built with sufficient road capacity and local school places such that the development can be sustainable. Forever extending existing communities does not lead to sustainable development.

Our response:

The Pyestock (Hartland Park) development has the capacity to deliver around 1,500 homes.  The density proposed is only around 28dph.  The capacity could be increased by moving to higher density.  Even without that, we have calculated that there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites, whereas we only need to grant permission for a further 2,500 homes up to the end of the plan period.  Nobody has set out any figures to demonstrate that the infrastructure requirements of a new town can be funded, indeed it looks as though the costs will be over £300m and the developer contributions only around £50m. Winchfield Parish Council’s submission to the recent consultation has demonstrated that:

  1. There is a lack of evidence to justify the need for a new settlement
  2. Winchfield is not a suitable location for a new settlement
  3. A new settlement is not a viable approach
  4. There should be more of a focus on alternatives such as brownfield development and dispersal

Do you support the recently announced redevelopment of Pyestock for housing?

We welcome any opportunity to redevelop this derelict site (Pyestock) and believe that housing would have less impact than lorries running through the night. However, as with all major developments, Hart must ensure that the development will provide the necessary school places (especially at a secondary level), delivers any necessary traffic mitigation and that there is no adverse impact on local SSSIs and SPA. At 1,000 to 1,500 new homes, Pyestock does not unfortunately negate the need for a new town.

Our response:

Of course we agree that the required number of school places should be provided, but that also Hampshire County COuncil needs to do a proper long range plan to set out the real need for school places over the rest of the plan period.  We also support traffic mitigation measures and the need to ensure there is no adverse impact on the local SSSI’s and SPA.  However, we do think that this new development at Pyestock negates the need for a new town, and we do not accept that a new town is necessary, viable or deliverable.

So, we have some agreement with CCH on Pyestock, but not on the Winchfield new town. We have updated their position on our summary page, here.



Local Labour Party set out their position on Pyestock

North East Hampshire Labour Party set out their position on Pyestock

The North East Hampshire Labour Party have responded to our request for them to set out their position on developing a new sustainable village at the Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) site. This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

Their response can be found here. They say they support the redevelopment of Pyestock, but still support the idea of a new town at Winchfield.

There are a number of points in their post that We Heart Hart disagrees with and a number of inaccuracies that are addressed below:

Not building enough to meet housing targets

First, it is true that taken as a whole, the country is not building enough to meet its overall housing targets. However, not all of the blame can be pinned on Local Authorities or Government. A recent report form the Communities and Local Government select committee, chaired by Labour MP Clive Betts has said:

The real problem isn’t local authorities failing to give planning permission but developers getting planning permission and then, possibly as a way to maximise profits, taking a long to time to fully develop sites. We are calling on the government to review these proposals, and to identify the powers local authorities need in order to require or encourage developers to build out sites in their areas.

We support the development of brownfield sites for housing where it contributes to meeting local housing needs.

This chimes with our research and that of Alan Wenban-Smith. There is also evidence that housing targets across our area are over-stating the real need, being on average 41.9% higher than the official population projections would suggest.

Inaccurate assessment of the remaining housing need and infrastructure funding

Second, the local Labour party say:

Due to this national under-development, Central Government has given Hart a fairly high building target to reach by 2032 of around 7,500 homes. Somewhere in the region of 3,500 homes have had [sic] been granted planning permission, some of which being on brownfield sites. These developments are simply extensions to our existing towns and villages, but crucially don’t come with any money to pay for improvement to our infrastructure, be it our schools or surgeries.

We agree the target is 7,534 new homes are said to be our ‘need’ in the planning period up to 2032. But, they are inaccurate in their inference that 4,000 homes are yet to be granted planning permission for Hart’s Local Plan. Hart Council’s own figures in the recent consultation stated that only 2,500 still needed to be permitted (see here, para 21). Their claim about infrastructure funding is also untrue in that all developments (with the narrow exception of office conversions) attract S106 or CIL payments.

Due to their insistence that 4,000 more homes need to be granted permission, they say it is inevitable we have to build more housing in the countryside. However, as we have shown above, their claim is inaccurate, but even if it were true, our analysis has shown that there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites. It seems rather perverse to on the one hand support brownfield development, but at the same time be in favour of more green field development.

We have done our own analysis to show that the infrastructure costs of a new town will far exceed developer contributions and Winchfield Parish Council commissioned a report from professional planners, John Boyd Associates, into the new town idea and they concluded that:

  1. There is a lack of evidence to justify the need for a new settlement
  2. Winchfield is not a suitable location for a new settlement
  3. A new settlement is not a viable approach
  4. There should be more of a focus on alternatives such as brownfield development and dispersal

All in all it appears as though the local Labour Party has come to the wrong conclusions based on some dodgy data and inaccurate assumptions.  So, We Heart Hart does not support their position. A summary of all of the local candidates’ positions on this can be found here.


Hook Herald covers Pyestock and brownfield study stories

Hook Herald 8 April 2016 Housing Reprieve

Hook Herald has covered the Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) redevelopment story, that we covered here and Fleet News and Mail covered yesterday.  They also quote We Heart Hart as signalling that this new development effectively kills off the plan for a new town at Winchfield.

It is also encouraging to see that Hook Herald have covered the other significant story of Hart District Council (HDC) launching a new project to find out how to make the most of the brownfield sites in the district. We understand that HDC will now make a full announcement about this next week.

Full size image of the story here.


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

Hart Council launches important brownfield study

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

We are delighted to announce that Hart Council will today launch a study to give a strategic overview of the brownfield capacity in the District that can be used to meet our housing needs.  We Heart Hart has worked with Daryl Phillips to help set the terms of reference for the study, and the project will draw on some of the work carried out by Stonegate Homes, We Heart Hart and supporters like Gareth Price.

This news comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that M&G have entered into a joint venture with Berkeley Homes to redevelop Pyestock (aka Hartland Park).  Taken together with this new study, it should mean that we have sufficient capacity to meet our housing needs on brownfield sites alone for decades to come.

The purpose of the work is to ensure that the supply of deliverable brownfield land is boosted significantly by seeking a commercial market view as to what can be realistically expected to be delivered  over the Local Plan period.  This information can be used to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector that the resultant capacity is deliverable.

The work will also look to demonstrate through case study examples that higher density levels of development can be delivered in a pleasing environment compatible with surrounding development.  Hopefully, these concept schemes can be used to assuage the fears of some of the urban councillors about higher density development.

Hart has chosen to work on this project with three partners.  Eastleigh Borough Council’s urban regeneration unit will lead the work, supported by Hollis Hockley and Hurst Warne who will give commercial advice.

We warmly welcome this initiative and will work collaboratively with Hart Council and provide any assistance that we can. It shows that Hart is slowly accepting that there is much more brownfield capacity in the district than they previously thought and this project should help to unlock the barriers to delivery.  This should mean we can meet all of our remaining housing need from brownfield sites alone, so won’t need a new town, nor will we need any urban extensions.  Hopefully, all of the campaign groups across the district can get behind this project.

The detailed terms of reference of the study are:


The primary objective is to assess the extent to which Hart is able to meet its growth requirements through the use of Previously Developed Land (PDL).

Understanding the suitability and availability of PDL to accommodate growth will in turn help determine the requirement for the release of green field land. The identification of sites for development must also be founded on a robust and credible assessment of the suitability and availability of land for particular uses or a mix of uses and the probability that it will be developed. As a result of exploring this primary objective, the following objectives will also be addressed:

  • To identify the potential obstacles to delivery of PDL and outline strategies for overcoming these obstacles and levers that planning authorities can pull to encourage sites to come forwards
  • To produce high-level illustrative concept schemes for three of the identified sites covering town centre locations and vacant office blocks to demonstrate as examples that high density developments can be attractive places to live and add to the vitality of the district


  • Assess locations across the district with particular focus on the urban centres of Fleet, Hook, Yateley and Blackwater and the employment zones including Ancells Farm, Bartley Wood and Waterside.
  • Prepare high-level illustrative concept schemes for three sites including Ancells Farm, Fleet Road (between tackle shop and new McCarthy and Stone development) and the civic area including Flagship House, Admiral House, Hart’s Offices, Victoria Road Car Park and the Harlington Centre and Library. [We understand that since these terms of reference were written, the civic area has been changed to look instead at how Church Road car-park and the surrounding area could be redeveloped into mixed use, including an underground car-park].


  • Identify shortlist of partners and select appropriate architect/urban planner partner(s) to work with
  • Share existing material with partner(s), (New sites put forward as part of consultation (such as Gareth Price work), background reports from various sources including Stonegate report, existing SHLAA and sustainability assessments)
  • Desk-based study of broad locations to work up areas and capacities
  • Targeted contact with land-owners and commercial agents to identify obstacles to delivery
  • Create high-level illustrative concept schemes for three locations focusing on how high density development can be delivered in a pleasing environment whilst also meeting functional needs


  • Schedule of sites to include site name, location, size, capacity and type of housing and likely delivery timelines from which total PDL capacity can be derived
  • Three sample high-level schemes
  • Report of obstacles and strategies for overcoming the obstacles


  • 8-12 weeks after partner selection