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

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

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

First, their response says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

7 reasons to oppose a new town in Hart

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

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

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

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

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

 

Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose Winchfield new town

Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose WInchfield new town

Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose Winchfield new town

About 150 concerned Hartley Wintney residents came out to hear about Hart Council’s Local Plan consultation this morning at Victoria Hall.  It was very pleasing to see such a large number of people opposing the plans for a new town at Winchfield.

We Heart Hart is very grateful to Hartley Wintney Parish Council for organising the event, and for letting us speak. We had many messages of support and encouragement, before. during and after the meeting.  We only ask that these messages of support are converted into actual votes in the consultation.

We reiterated our main points that:

Hart is being asked to build too many houses. Hart councillors should be thorough in their analysis of the revised Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), and be robust in challenging the housing numbers and in asking Rushmoor and Surrey Heath to meet their own needs.

Second, there is a brownfield solution to our housing needs, even if we accept the current housing numbers.  We showed how a combination of the brownfield SHLAA sites and the disused offices identified by Stonegate, can be used to meet our remaining housing need in full.

Third, there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the supposed infrastructure benefits of a new town.  We currently have a £78m infrastructure funding deficit which a new town will do nothing to address, and of course, Hart Council have not been able to explain how they will fund the £300m costs of a new town.

Finally, a new town won’t meet the needs of the elderly and won’t deliver starter homes for the young.

Councillor Steve Forster did turn up to speak as well, but was politely asked to sit down again after alienating most of the people in the room.  Some interesting insight and support for We Heart Hart ideas was also given by COunty Councillor David Simpson and district councillor Andrew Renshaw.  Tristram Cary of Winchfield Action Group also spoke, setting out four key reasons to oppose the new town, in line with our thinking.

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

 

Fleet resident describes Winchfield new town as “monstrous”

Development proposals around M3 J4a and Bramshott Farm

Development proposals around M3 J4a and Bramshott Farm

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

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

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

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

Development proposals Norris Bridge Gyratory

Development proposals Norris Bridge Gyratory

Additional brownfield land near Pyestock (see below),

Development proposals around Kennels Lane

Development proposals around Kennels Lane near Pyestock

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

Development proposals on brownfield gravel pit sites at Bramshill

Development proposals on brownfield gravel pit sites near Blackbushe

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

Full report from the Fleet resident:

Fleet resident brownfield site ideas

Link

Fleet Town Council seeks to mislead the public

Fleet Town Council Leaflet

Fleet Town Council Leaflet

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

We think this is misleading and wrong on many levels:

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

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

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

Housing Options consultation leaflet

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

How is Hart District infrastructure funded?

Construction Workers

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

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

Who is responsible for infrastructure

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

What types of development attract developer contributions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of infrastructure providers and responsible bodies

INFRASTRUCTURE TYPE

MAIN PROVIDERS or RESPONSIBLE BODY

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

 

 

 

More brownfield sites come available in Hart District

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

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

Bravehart has been on a tour again, taking photos of newly vacant commercial premises in Hart.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that we can meet our housing needs by regenerating these vacant sites.

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

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

 

Vacant offices at Murrell Green, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant offices at Murrell Green, Hart District, Hampshire

 

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Winkworth Business Park, Hart District, Hampshire.

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Winkworth Business Park, Hart District, Hampshire.

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

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Season’s Greetings – remember a new town is for life, not just for Christmas

Winter in Winchfield The Hurst 2010

Winter in Winchfield The Hurst 2010

Season’s greetings to everyone, and a big thank you to all those who have supported the We Hart Campaign during 2015.  Can we ask everyone to respond to the consultation, and ask themselves whilst doing it, would you like to redevelop some of the derelict eyesores in the district or would you like to concrete over the green lung at the heart of Hart in Winchfield? Remember, a new town is for life, not just for Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Creative use of brownfield sites could yield up to 6,500 homes

Leeuwenveld, Amsterdam Netherlands - LEVS architects

Leeuwenveld, Amsterdam Netherlands – LEVS architects

Local architecture graduate, Gareth Price, has published an updated version of his work showing what could be done with brownfield sites in the district. His work shows that there could be capacity for 6,500 homes on brownfield land across the district.  These would include, for some sites, basement car-parks, ground floor commercial and upper floor residential, following a successful trend from the Continent.  This is in-line with what we have been suggesting for months and could create capacity for sufficient housing for decades to come.

The style of development he as put forward would mean that S106/CIL contributions would be required from developers.  It is likely that some of these homes could be affordable units that would generate a larger “new homes bonus” for the district from the Government.  Of course, this money could be used to improve infrastructure in existing settlements where we are facing a £78m funding deficit.  Schemes such as this are much more likely to meet our actual housing need of 60-70% 1 or 2-bed homes and over 2,000 specialist units for the elderly rather than building £750K detached houses in the country for Londoners who want to move here.  We understand the densities proposed are similar to some schemes already granted permission by Hart Council.

Whilst we welcome this work to demonstrate what could be done with a little creativity and ingenuity, we do not necessarily support the density put forward on each site by Gareth.  For instance, we do not believe that such high densities would be appropriate for the former Police College at Bramshill, even though we support the principle of some redevelopment of that site to prevent the Grade I listed building going to rack and ruin.

One has to ask why Hart Council has not taken up our 5-point plan that included inviting teams of architects to paint a vision of the art of the possible with our brownfield sites, as Gareth has shown it can be done. This certainly supports the case for a brownfield solution to our housing needs.

His full report can be downloaded from the link below:

A sustainable approach to brownfield development in Hart District

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

link

The case for a brownfield solution to Hart’s housing needs

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

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

As you know, Hart Council has begun a new consultation asking us where we would prefer to build the remaining 2,500 houses we are being asked to build as part of the Local Plan. This has generated some lively debate with some councillors and community groups favouring a new town. Whilst We Hart has a lot of sympathy with the residents of Fleet and Church Crookham, who have suffered from some poor planning decisions over the past years, we aim to show why it would be wrong to consider a new town or urban extension now and make a bad situation even worse.

We have to deliver over 370 houses per year up to 2032.  If these were to be built on green field sites it would mean we would be concreting over the equivalent of 25 football pitches each and every year for 20 years.  This is simply not sustainable, and it is clear something needs to change.

Eminent architects such as Richard Rogers, academics such as Professor Dieter Helm and journalists such as Simon Jenkins have called for our green spaces to be protected and for more building on brownfield land.  The Government is also actively encouraging brownfield development.

The benefits are clear, in that less infrastructure investment is required to support this type of development, urban living makes better use of scarce resources, so is kinder to the environment and town and city dwellers use their cars less and so don’t cause as much congestion.

So, having established the general case for brownfield over green field development, what about the specifics of the proposals before us in Hart?

First, it can be done. We have gone through Hart Council’s data and shown that there are sufficient sites to meet our remaining needs on brownfield site alone, and if we can bring Pyestock into play and Hart are successful in their quest to find even more sites, we will have a surplus of brownfield sites.

Supporters of a new town point to the supposed infrastructure benefits, but we believe this argument is flawed.  There is no doubt that there is a need for more infrastructure investment in our existing towns and villages, as is shown by the current £78m funding deficit.  Even Hart Council acknowledge that new schools would cost £80-100m, but then when you add up the costs of new and improved roads, roundabouts, bridges, sewage works, and railway station, it is clear that a new town will require over £300m of infrastructure spending before you even get to providing new sports and community facilities. But a reasonable expectation of developer contributions is only around £50m.  So, it is clear that a new town, or indeed an urban extension, could not get the infrastructure it needs and more importantly, would not do anything to address the problems in our existing communities .

By contrast, properly designed brownfield redevelopments (not office conversions) would generate developer contributions for local communities and if Hart Council followed Ranil Jayawardena’s advice, they could use compulsory purchase powers to buy up some of these sites and use the profits from development to fund even more local infrastructure.

When you look at travel to work patterns of Hart residents, it is clear that many people work in Fleet, Surrey Heath, Rushmoor and Waverley.  So, residents of a new town will need to travel through Fleet, Church Crookham and Hartley Wintney adding to congestion.  Other workers will travel through Hook to get to work in places like Basingstoke.  Dispersal throughout the district will ease the congestion problem, and brownfield development to the east of Fleet will place workers closer to their jobs and offer greener transport alternatives.

Our housing needs assessment calls for 60-70% of new build properties to be 1 or 2-bedroomed and also calls for over 2,000 units of specialist accommodation for the elderly to be built up to 2031.  A new town or urban extension is likely to continue to build predominantly larger properties at prices of over £500,000 which will no doubt be attractive to those who want to move from London, but will be out of reach of middle income households in Hart and so do nothing for local people.  Well planned development of smaller properties on brownfield sites will do more to help our young people to get on the housing ladder and help older people when they want to down-size to free up their larger properties for growing families.

Of course planning for a new town or urban extension would also open us up to building 3,000 houses for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath.  Whereas a vision and strategy to protect our green lungs in the heart of Hart would offer us some protection.

We also have to challenge the viability of the new town and urban extension plans.  The new town would coalesce our villages into a massive urban sprawl that would effectively become Hartley Winchook.  The proposed urban extensions would add further unwelcome development outside existing settlement boundaries. The professionals who have looked at the new town proposal have said “it would be challenging to plan a compact nuclear settlement on this site”, and of course there are other significant constraints such as lack of mains gas or sewage, flood risk and environmental damage.  All of the new town and urban extension sites have been classed as “not currently developable” by Hart Council.

It is time to make a break from the past mistakes and change to a more sustainable strategy, with a planning horizon of 50 years ahead and realise that more and more housing estates in the countryside are simply not sustainable.  We need to go for dispersal of our housing needs on brownfield sites across the district to build more affordable homes for our young people, create better specialist accommodation for the elderly and generate much needed infrastructure funding for local communities.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes