Gallagher propose schools under power lines

Gallagher propose schools under power lines

Gallagher propose schools under power lines

In a desperate attempt to influence the Local Plan Consultation, a ‘newsletter’ has been issued in which Gallagher propose new schools under power lines. This is a last minute attempt to try and shoehorn a new settlement at Winchfield into the draft Local Plan. Apparently, the newsletter has only been issued to residents of Fleet and Church Crookham.

We have seen the newsletter and compared the schematic to the local OS map. As far as we can tell, the high voltage power line goes directly over the school grounds. Moreover, there is a pylon directly on top of the sports pitches. Our best attempt at showing the location of the school, and powerline is shown in the graphic above. Aside from the obvious electrocution risk, overhead power lines have been linked to increased risk of childhood cancers such as leukaemia. The secondary school is also right next to the mainline railway line.

The document has been issued by Curtin & Co on behalf of Gallagher. They apparently specialise in the ‘Politics of Planning’. The contact given is David Scane, who can be reached at davids@curtinandco.com. We deplore this crony corporatism. We recommend that WeHeartHart supporters email this man. We should let him know that we don’t approve of these shabby tactics and how ridiculous it is to propose schools in such an unsafe location.

Of course, no evidence has been produced in the Local Plan to show a new school is required. Even if such evidence is produced, it isn’t clear why we can’t simply allocate land for a school without the hundreds of acres for housing.

We have updated our guidance with this new information in our suggested response to the consultation that can be found on the download link below. Please do make amendments into your own words and submit it to planningpolicy@hart.gov.uk before the deadline of 5pm on 9th June 2017. All of the Council’s consultation documents can be found here.

Response to the Hart Draft Local Plan Consultation

Local Plan: Brownfield sites protected from redevelopment

Brownfield site at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire. Hart Council protecting from redevelopment.

Brownfield sites protected from redevelopment

The draft Local Plan put forward by Hart Council includes proposals to make brownfield sites protected from redevelopment. We think this proposal is bonkers and should be challenged in the consultation.

There are two different types of protection proposed in the Local Plan. The first identifies “Strategic Employment Areas”:

  • Bartley Wood, Hook
  • Bartley Point, Hook
  • Cody Park, Farnborough
  • Meadows Business Park, Blackwater
  • Osborne Way, Hook
  • Waterfront Business Park, Fleet

These sites are “given the highest protection and safeguarding against loss to non-B-class employment uses by protecting them for B-class uses”. We would agree that some of these sites should be given some protection. But some of the sites, particularly in Hook suffer from high vacancy rates. Indeed, some of the sites have already been converted to domestic use.  Recently the owners of the Virgin Media offices at Bartley Wood have sought advice on whether planning permission would be required to convert some of those buildings to housing. This demonstrates that there is little demand for offices on even the sites of alleged ‘strategic’ importance.

The trouble with this policy is that it cannot stop conversion of offices to apartments. These types of development require no planing permission. Nor do they bring any S106 or CIL contributions to infrastructure. Moreover, they don’t provide an attractive sense of place. By preventing proper redevelopment Hart is cutting off vital infrastructure funding. This makes no sense whatsoever.

The second type of protection is to “Locally Important Employment Areas”:

  • Ancells Business Park, Fleet
  • Blackbushe Business Park
  • Eversley Haulage Yard
  • Eversley Storage
  • Finn’s Business Park, Crondall
  • Fleet Business Park, Church Crookham
  • Grove Farm Barn, Crookham Village
  • Lodge Farm, North Warnborough
  • Murrell Green Business Park
  • Potters Industrial Park, Church Crookham
  • Rawlings Depot, Hook
  • Redfields Business Park, Church Crookham
  • Optrex Business Park, Rotherwick

These sites are offered a lower level of protection, but nevertheless the council is putting in place barriers to redevelopment.

Poor brownfield sites should not be protected from redevelopment

The reason this is a bad policy is that the Local Plan itself, as well as the Employment Land Review (ELR), acknowledges that there is an over-supply of low grade office space (para 125). The ELR states that investment in this stock is unviable (para 6.17):

Commercial agents note that the costs of refurbishing such stock to a good standard attractive to the market typically costs between £50-£60 per sq ft; and that the current over-supply of office accommodation limits investment in refurbishing such stock as low rent levels made such investment unviable.

Owners of these sites have three choices. First they can keep the wasting asset and collect no rent, which is not an attractive commercial proposition. Second, they can convert the offices into flats. By and large, they need no planning permission for this. However, these types of development carry no obligation for S106 or CIL payments to councils. Nor do they deliver a good ‘sense of place’. Finally, they could apply for planning permission to properly redevelop these sites into attractive homes, with a particular focus on affordable homes for the young. These types of development will be high-density, but with a good sense of place, and will attract some funding for infrastructure.

The consequences of this policy will be to discourage redevelopment of sites and either lead to more sites being simply converted or worse, sitting idle as eyesores.

We believe this policy should be reversed, particularly as it is a direct contravention of a statement made by the council leader, who said there were no plans to restrict the development of brownfield sites at a council meeting in September 2016:

https://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Council_meetings/M_Archive/16%2009%20Council.pdf )

Please respond to the Local Plan Consultation

This is our chance to shape the draft Local Plan that is currently our for consultation. Our suggested comments can be found on the link below. Please do download and review them. Please do make amendments into your own words and submit it to planningpolicy@hart.gov.uk before the deadline of 5pm on 9th June 2017. All of the Council’s consultation documents can be found here.

Response to the Hart Draft Local Plan Consultation

Motion of No Confidence in Hart District Council submitted

Breaking News: Motion of No Confidence submitted in Hart District Council

Motion of No Confidence submitted in Hart District Council

A motion of no confidence in Hart District Council has been submitted by Community Campaign Hart (CCH), (or as some call them Completely Concrete Hart) and the Liberal Democrats.

Apparently, they are unhappy that a new settlement at Winchfield has not been included in the Local Plan. They plan to push for Winchfield to be re-included if they manage to take over.

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) screwing up Hart Planning since 2004

We think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons:

  1. This will add extra delay to the Local Plan process, adding to the risk that sites like Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) and Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) will be given the go ahead at appeal before the Local Plan can be put in place
  2. Winchfield has failed testing. The main issues with the proposal are:
    • groundwater and surface water flooding,
    • Cost of new road infrastructure and the need to travel to Fleet for main services
    • requirement for new wastewater treatment works
    • too much delivery risk concentrated in one site
    • impact on landscape
    • impact on heritage assets and SSSIs
  3. CCH have completely failed to oppose the main issue: we are being asked to build too many houses. Hart Council have arbitrarily added an extra 2,000 houses to the already inflated SHMA figure of 8,000, giving a total over 10,000 houses. Tackling this would mean we don’t need a new settlement at Winchfield or Murrell Green, nor would we need Pale Lane or Grove Farm
  4. A new settlement at Winchfield will likely have a major impact on congestion in Church Crookham and the western edge of Fleet.

We predict a stormy council meeting on 25 May.

[Update  – Statement from Conservative Council Leader]

Conservative Council Leader Stephen Parker commented:

We have a clear track record of success in running Hart Council. Despite cuts to Hart’s government funding we used Conservative ministerial contacts to reduce the cuts, froze Council tax for 6 years and made minimum increases for the last two years. At the same time we made innovative partnerships to make sure that no cuts were made to our services or to our support to the voluntary sector. We delivered the new Hart Leisure Centre, a superb facility which pays for itself with no increases to Hart’s Council tax. We listened to residents in making our Local Plan which maximises use of brownfield sites and protects our towns and villages from unwanted expansion. At no time in the last eight years of Conservative leadership have they challenged any of these successes. Residents will no doubt look forward to reading their joint manifesto.

[/Update]

[Update 2 – statement from CCH]

Statement about motion to bring about a vote for Council Leader

Until fairly recently Hart District Council had a democratic process of electing the council Leader every year at the AGM. This right was taken away by the then Conservative administration, presumably because they realised that as is the case now there would be times when they did not have a majority on the council.

The Conservatives forced through the instigation of a 4 year term for the council Leader, the maximum period they could have gone for without falling foul of legislation.

Out of 33 councillors there are 14 Conservative, 10 Community Campaign, 8 Lib Dems and 1 Hook Independent. No one party have the 17 councillors required to hold a majority on the council.

The Community Campaign have asked the current Leader if he’d be willing to continue as Leader with a proportional Cabinet made up of 3 Conservatives, 2 Lib Dems and 2 Community Campaign members. Given the proportionality of such a Cabinet it does not seem to be an unreasonable request.

We await his response. However, should the Conservatives not wish to work with a cross party partnership then we believe that the Council should have the right to elect a new Leader.

The nature of the council’s constitution is such that in order to bring about the opportunity to elect a new Leader a motion to withdraw support for the current leadership needs to be lodged 7 clear working days before the council’s AGM.

The full motion moved by Cllr. James Radley of the Community Campaign reads;
The council wishes to use this AGM, as it represents the traditional point in the municipal year, to undertake a vote for the leader of council. To bring about such a vote the constitution requires that a vote to remove the current leader first be tabled. To this end this council retracts support for the current leader and does so as required by the constitution by voting to ‘remove from office the current Leader of the Council and agrees that a new Leader should be elected forthwith’.

[/Update 2]

[Update 3: Lib dems tweet to say they don’t support new settlement at Winchfield]

NE Hants Lib Dems statement about Winchfield

[/Update 3]

CPRE says most sites yet to be identified on Hart brownfield register

CPRE Hampshire Logo

The CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) have been analysing Hart’s brownfield register. The have concluded that most of the brownfield sites without planning permission are not yet on the register.

CPRE Investigation

Spokespeople for CPRE North East Hampshire, Edward Dawson and Philip Todd said:

“Hart’s pilot Brownfield Register lists all the sites with planning permission that have yet to be built. However, some sites in Hart do not currently have planning permission.

These include a rural site in South Warnborough and the former Pyestock works called Hartland Village.

It suggests that most brownfield sites without planning permission; ones which should form the basis of a new Brownfield Register, are yet to be identified.

CPRE welcomes that Hart has identified sites that can accommodate nearly three times as many homes as it had forecast would come forward from brownfield sites.”

We Heart Hart Analysis

This concurs with our own analysis that showed:

  • All but two of the sites already have planning permission, indeed a number of them have already been built (e.g. Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Church Crookham, Landata House in Hook, and Monachus House in Hartley Wintney).
  • Some of the sites are not even brownfield sites, for example Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney.
  • None of the sites that Hart Council itself identified as brownfield sites in the recent consultation are recorded in the register.
  • None of the other potential sites that have not yet been permitted on Ancells Farm or along Fleet Road have made it on to the register.
  • Very few, if any, of the brownfield sites in the SHLAA that we identified in our brownfield solution, most particularly sites like the former police college at Bramshill House have made it into the register.
  • Over 2,000 of the units in the register have already been granted planning permission, with 1,500 units at Hartland Village (aka Pyestock) and 16 at another site yet to be granted permission.

CPRE in North East Hampshire is encouraging the identification of more brownfield sites across Hart to protect our greenfield sites from unnecessary development.

Hart Councillors release statement about their defection from Tories to CCH

Richard Woods Sara Kinnell release statement about their defection from Conservatives to CCH

Hart Councillors Richard Woods and Sara Kinnell have released a statement about their move from the Conservative Party to Community Campaign Hart. The statement doesn’t really spell out the policy differences that led to their defection.

The full statement is presented below without further comment:

HART COUNCILLORS LEAVE CONSERVATIVES TO JOIN THE COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN (HART)

Hart District Councillors, Richard Woods and Sara Kinnell, made the difficult decision to leave the Conservatives this week, in a bid to represent their residents fully during the Local Plan process.

The Local Plan, which sets out where development across the District is to be placed, has challenged Hart Councillors to balance the needs of their residents with the long-term sustainability of the wider Hart District.

“It’s a true honour to be elected as a District Councillor” said Cllr Richard Woods. “But when you feel you are unable to represent the residents of your Ward honestly, it’s time to put your political beliefs to one side and do what the people who entrusted you with their vote would want you to do to represent them in the fullest possible way”.

Residents of Fleet West, which includes the Blue Triangle, Calthorpe, Edenbrook and Elvetham Heath; elected Richard in 2014 and Sara in 2015 on the promise they would always prioritise their residents’ needs.

“It’s one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make” said Cllr Sara Kinnell. “I have been a Conservative Councillor for 12 years, initially in Hartley Wintney and now Fleet West, where I live with my family. I have made some great friends and worked on some excellent projects; including the new Hart Leisure Centre and I look forward to continuing my term as a CCH Councillor.”

James Radley, Leader of the Community Campaign (Hart) said “The Community Campaign have long admired Richard and Sara’s integrity and focus on the issues which really matter to residents; always putting those they represent ahead of political agendas. We therefore welcome them both into our team and look forward to them being even more effective for the people of Fleet West now they can be truly independent representatives and not held back by constraints imposed by national politics.”

The Community Campaign (Hart), which saw its first Councillors elected in 2004, is made up of ten independent local Councillors from Fleet & Church Crookham. Richard explained “Sara and I are looking forward to working with the CCH Group. It will be great to be part of a community focused team for the benefit of all residents in Fleet & Church Crookham during the Local Plan process. We look forward to continuing to work with all Members of Hart District Council, regardless of political beliefs, for the good of Fleet & Church Crookham and the wider Hart District.”

Finally, Cllr Sara Kinnell added “This move should be taken in the honest spirit in which it was made. Whilst some people may be disappointed, we trust our residents will understand that our ability to represent them robustly together with our personal happiness must always come before Party politics.”

Hart’s Brownfield Register fails to meet expectations

 

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

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

Hart District Council has at last published its register of brownfield sites in the district. Sadly, the register has failed to live up to expectations. The full register can be downloaded on the link below.

The purpose of the brownfield register is to provide house builders with up-to-date and publicly available information on all brownfield sites available for housing locally. The register is supposed to help housebuilders identify suitable sites quickly, speeding up the construction of new homes. Hart Council was one of the pilot local authorities participating in the national brownfield register scheme as announced back in March 2016.

At first glance, the register identifies 3,542 potential units on brownfield sites, which might be considered good news.  However, closer inspection of the register reveals:

  • All but two of the sites already have planning permission, indeed a number of them have already been built (e.g. Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Church Crookham, Landata House in Hook, and Monachus House in Hartley Wintney).
  • Some of the sites are not even brownfield sites, for example Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney.
  • None of the sites that Hart Council itself identified as brownfield sites in the recent consultation are recorded in the register.
  • None of the other potential sites that have not yet been permitted on Ancells Farm or along Fleet Road have made it on to the register.
  • Very few, if any, of the brownfield sites in the SHLAA that we identified in our brownfield solution, most particularly sites like the former police college at Bramshill have made it into the register.
  • Over 2,000 of the units in the register have already been granted planning permission, with 1,500 units at Hartland Village (aka Pyestock) and 16 at another site yet to be granted permission.

We have contacted the council to find out the reasons why this important opportunity has been botched. We have been told this is a temporary blip due to lack of SANG capacity.  We are far from convinced of this reason as the register itself has a column for constraints.  The purpose of the register should be to identify all of the sites and not miss some out because SANG capacity is not yet available.

We do hope that Hart Council gets to grips with this, because a robust brownfield register will be a significant piece of evidence, as part of the Local Plan, to help fend off the proposals to build at Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) and Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse). The register of brownfield sites  becomes a statutory obligation next year.

Hart Council Brownfield Register

Tories set out their positions on Pyestock and Winchfield new town

North East Hampshire Conservative Party Logo. We Heart Hart. We Love Hart.

A number of the local Conservative Party candidates for the Hart District Council local election have been in touch and set out their current positions on the proposed Winchfield new town and the redevelopment of the 135-acre brownfield Hartland Park (aka Pyestock) site into 1,500 homes.

We contacted the local North East Conservative Party office and have had responses from some of the candidates and we contacted directly those candidates who are already sitting councillors.  We have not yet had responses from all candidates.

As a reminder the questions we asked were:

  1. Do you support the new town proposed at Winchfield?
  2. Do you support the recently announced redevelopment of Pyestock for housing?

First we have Jane Dickens, standing for the ward of Blackwater and Hawley who is keeping her views to herself on both issues.  We find this to be a strange position, given that planning is one of the biggest issues that Hart councillors have to get to grips with, and of course the Local Plan has to be submitted to the Inspector within the next 12 months.

Then we have Helen Butler, standing in Crookham East ward who said in answer to each question:

  1. It’s important when building new houses to consider all the facilities and amenities that those new families will need – for example, education, health, leisure and transport.  A new town at Winchfield will put huge pressure on the existing services, and it’s not clear whether the facilities that will be built as part of a new town would actually meet the needs of the people moving in.  I don’t think it is the right way forward.

  1. Building housing at Pyestock ticks many of the boxes.  As a brownfield site, it makes a lot of sense to put that piece of land to good use, rather than leaving it derelict.  A lot of work will need to be done to make the ground ready, but its location is much more suitable than Winchfield.  I hope the history of the site can be reflected in the new road names.

Chris Simmons, standing in Crookham West and Ewshot doesn’t support either the Winchfield new town proposal or the redevelopment of Pyestock.  He didn’t say where he would want to see new housing to be built.

[Update] We have now had feedback from Jonathan Wright, standing in Fleet East, whose brief answers to the questions above are ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’, so it appears as though he supports both the Winchfield new town and the redevelopment of Pyestock. [/Update]

Steve Forster (never one to use 1 word when 10 will do 😉 ), standing in Fleet West said in answer to each question:

1) I support building on brownfield as a first preference. As regards any development after brownfield is used, or where it is not available, then greenfield may have to be used. I would prefer that Hart builds the minimum number of houses to meet government requirements, and I lobby government and our local MP so that the number Hart is required to build by central government will be as low as possible, yet still meets the needs of local residents. I am against accommodating any overspill from adjoining districts, as they should be required to meet all of their own housing needs. I feel Hampshire already has enough new housing planned in the South of the County, and near Basingstoke, so that high numbers of new homes on Hart can be avoided.

I do not support urban extensions as a preference, as these contribute without sufficient infrastructure, therefore I do support in the longer term the selection of a new settlement at Winchfield but only if this is instead of urban extensions to Fleet, Church Crookham, Hook, Hartley Wintney, and Odiham. These urban extensions would still use greenfield, without the benefit that would be secured if a new settlement at Winchfield were part of the Local Plan for the longer term needs.  In particular I am against developing Pale Lane andGrove Farm on the edges of Fleet, and yet more extensions to Church Crookham.  Winchfield is potentially a suitable site for a well designed new settlement centred on the railway station, but would only be suitable if sufficient infrastructure (roads, surgery, schools. recreation, community facilities, retail, transport etc) were provided before build,and if strategic green gaps were retained between any new settlement and existing conurbations. It would need to have bus links as well to neighbouring areas.

Ideally I would like to see no building on greenfield but that is unlikely to be a practical approach for the future. I would stress that any new brownfield housing, which is my personal preference, needs to be well designed, provide a mix of types of housing, and much the existing housing in terms of density and style, so as not to be overbearing, and not to overburden existing infrastructure. I do not support extensive office conversions, preferring well designed buildings and areas (i.e. demolish and rebuild, providing better design, layout, features, and infrastructure contribution).

2) Yes. I advocated this for some years and formally raised it at both Fleet Town Council and Hart District Council as something to be promoted actively, and I am really glad that it looks as though it will become a viable option, having been driven by the Conservative led team at HDC. Its good that the developers feel that it is viable, despite the decontamination costs of the land that will be required. Pyestock is brownfield, and we should always look to build on brownfield where this is possible, without losing existing major current employment sites. I think it far preferable to distribution and will cause less damage to the environment and surrounding towns. I feel it essential that the design is well thought through, so as to improve traffic in the neighbouring areas (i.e. possibly providing a through route from Crookham to M3 Jn4a avoiding Fleet town and not using Kennels Lane due to its dangerous bends), as well as having a long term regular bus link to Farnborough and Fleet station and town centres, Frimley Park Hospital, and having its own school, recreation and retail facilities. It should also provide a good mix of affordable & social housing, retirement homes, and homes for families, and should be as ‘green’ as possible.

Of course Anne Crampton, standing in Hartley Wintney ward, has maintained her opposition to Winchfield new town throughout and does support the redevelopment of Hartland Park.

[UpdateMike Morris, standing in Hook Parish

I joined the council because of the 550 houses that were proposed at NE Hook and out of choice became part of the planning team that is processing that site and others around Hook. As you know none of which I welcomed and said so in front of all that attended the Basingstoke Hotel Hook residents meeting.

I do not support urban extensions as they do not bring forward sufficient new infrastructure capacity but just overload current capacity. Nor do some Brownfield sites under permitted development! However I welcome the proposed development at Hartlands (sic) Park (Pyestock) with its 1000 plus housing which will reduce the housing numbers Hart has to deliver. Nevertheless this hasn’t changed my mind regarding the need for a large settlement site at Winchfield which I support as its deemed the only sustainable and developable site in the district to deliver sufficient housing numbers for the current ( impending ) plan and the future.

As you would expect every District Councillor defends his Ward and therefore some of my Conservative colleagues particularly those serving Wards in and adjacent to Winchfield would naturally be against the proposed Winchfield development. I fully understand their position and I would do the same if it applied to Hook or Rotherwick.

I’m unaware of a party line to vote one way or another on any future development and always intended to vote for and on behalf of Hook and Rotherwick residents within best practice in terms of planning policy.

Our response:

  1. Hart Council has said Hartland Park has capacity for 1,500 homes, not 1,000.  And of course it will not reduce the number of houses Hart has to deliver, but will make a significant contribution to meeting the alleged ‘need’.
  2. All of the sites proposed for the Winchfield new town are classified as “not currently developable” in the SHLAA, so it is misleading to suggest otherwise.  No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that a new town at Winchfield is ‘sustainable’.
  3. Hook is adjacent to Winchfield, and indeed around 1,850 of the proposed 5,000 new houses in the Hartley Winchook new town are actually in Hook parish.  One might hope that Hook councillors would acknowledge this fact and look more closely at our brownfield proposal that would result in fewer new houses in Hook than any of the other proposals.  Now that Pyestock is on the table, this is now self-evident.

[/Update]

John Kennet, standing for Odiham, was concerned about being seen to be pre-determining the outcome of any planning decisions, but did say:

As you know councillors have to be wary of being deemed to have pre-determined an issue.  My answers to your questions are that on the basis of information currently before us I am not convinced that a new town is necessary at Winchfield. In fact it has been rendered even less necessary by the very welcome bringing forward of the 135 acre brownfield site at Pyestock, or Hartland as we should now call it. I have always thought it sensible to focus on brownfield sites first.

We have still not heard the up to date views of Max Bobetsky, John Burton or Peter Hall.

We have updated our table of all candidates and our summary page setting out the views of all candidates here.

 

 

Local Elections 2016: Where do Hart candidates stand on new town and Pyestock redevelopment?

We Love Hart Ballot Box

The Local elections will be held on Thursday 5th May, and we thought it would be a good idea to compile a database of local candidates and ask where they stand on two key planning issues facing the district:

  1. Do they still support a new town at Winchfield and,
  2. Do they support the redevelopment of Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) as housing

Community Campaign Hart have launched their election page and have now answered our questions making clear they support the development of Pyestock, but want to ensure safeguards on school places and roads as well as ensuring the SSSI’s and SPA are protected.  However, they still also support a new town in Winchfield.  Their detailed answers and our responses can be found here.

The North East Hampshire Conservatives have always been split on the issue, with many councillors voting in favour of the new town in November 2014, but notably all of the opposition to the new town came from local Conservatives. Of course, our local MP Ranil Jayawardena has opposed the new town idea too. We have had responses from many of the Tory candidates now and it is clear support for the Winchfield new town is weakening, with strong support for the proposed Pyestock development. The detailed answers we have received can be be found here.

The local Greens have now said that all of their candidates oppose the Winchfield New Town and support the redevelopment of Pyestock (aka Hartland Park).  They have also set out some interesting ideas on broader housing policy. The detailed answers we have received can be found here.

North East Hampshire Labour have recently published an article in favour of the new town at Winchfield, stating it is the settled position of all of their candidates. They have also published an article supporting redeveloping Pyestock for housing, but make clear they also support a new town at Winchfield. Our response to that can be found here.

All of the sitting Liberal Democrats on Hart Council all voted in favour of the new town in November 2014.  The Lib Dem County Councillor (David Simpson) opposes the new town, and some local candidates stood on a platform opposing the new town in May 2015. The local Lib Dems have published a newsletter in Hartley Wintney and Eversley opposing the new town idea. They later published a leaflet supporting the redevelopment of Pyestock. We do not yet know if this represents the views of Lib Dems across the district. The posts related to their leaflets are here and here.

We only know the position of the local UKIP candidate for Hook. He opposes the Winchfield new town and supports a brownfield first policy, but has made no definitive statement about Pyestock. However, UKIP have made a statement on their website, supporting a brownfield first strategy, which is recorded in this post.

We have contacted all of the local parties and asked them to clarify their views on the new town and Pyestock.  We will update the table below when we receive answers from the parties or individual candidates.  If any of the candidates want to get in touch to clarify their current position, we will happily make any corrections requested. Our contact email address can be found here.

WardNamePartyPosition on Winchfield new townPosition on Pyestock
Blackwater and HawleyBLEWETT, Brian Frederick Liberal Democrat Voted in favour Nov 2014?
Blackwater and HawleyCULLEN, Amy LouiseThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Blackwater and HawleyDICKENS, Jane ElizabethThe Conservative Party Candidate Keeping her views to herselfKeeping her views to herself
Blackwater and HawleyFRANCIS, Steven JohnGreen Party OpposeSupport
Blackwater and HawleyGASCOIGNE, MikeUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Crookham EastBUTLER, Helen Rosalind The Conservative Party Candidate Not the right way forwardSupports redevelopment for housing
Crookham EastRADLEY, Edward JamesCommunity Campaign (Hart) Still support new townSupport, but want safeguards on school places, traffic and environment
Crookham EastWILLIAMS, Ruth AnnThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Crookham West and EwshotAMBLER, Simon RoryCommunity Campaign (Hart) Still support new townSupport, but want safeguards on school places, traffic and environment
Crookham West and EwshotMOORS, DawnUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Crookham West and EwshotSIMMONS, ChrisThe Conservative Party Candidate Does not supportDoes not support
Crookham West and EwshotSMYTH, MoiraThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Crookham West and EwshotSPRADBERY, Charles JohnGreen Party OpposeSupport
Fleet CentralBOBETSKY, MaxThe Conservative Party Candidate Opposed when stood for General Election 2015?
Fleet CentralGAWTHORPE, John GrantThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Fleet CentralHOPE, Howling LaudThe Official Monster Raving Loony Party ??
Fleet CentralMAKEPEACE-BROWNE, Wendy LouiseCommunity Campaign (Hart) Still support new townSupport, but want safeguards on school places, traffic and environment
Fleet CentralOWENS, Major DavidUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Fleet EastBUTLER, SamThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Fleet EastDEVONSHIRE, Peter WilliamUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Fleet EastWALTON, Neil ChristopherLiberal Democrat ??
Fleet EastWRIGHT, Jonathan BruceThe Conservative Party Candidate YesYes
Fleet WestBENNISON, JohnCommunity Campaign (Hart) Still support new townSupport, but want safeguards on school places, traffic and environment
Fleet WestBUCKLAND, Lesley RuthThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Fleet WestEINCHCOMB, Paul Stephen WalterLiberal Democrat ??
Fleet WestFORSTER, SteveThe Conservative Party Candidate Voted in favour Nov 2014. Still supports if not enough brownfield available, but only if it comes with proper infrastructureSupports redevelopment for housing, provided it comes with improvements to roads, busses and new schools
Fleet WestRUTTER, KarinUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Hartley WintneyCRAMPTON, AnneThe Conservative Party Candidate Voted against Nov 2014In favour
Hartley WintneyHAMILTON, Ruth StellaUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Hartley WintneyJARMAN, Ruth ElizabethGreen Party OpposeSupport
Hartley WintneyWILLIAMS, Ieuan MonThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Hartley WintneyWOOLFORD, Alan MauriceLiberal Democrat Opposed to new townIn favour
HookIVE, ColinLiberal Democrat Voted in favour Nov 2014. No specific comment in this election.?
HookMORRIS, MikeThe Conservative Party Candidate Voted in favour Nov 2014. Still in favourSupports
HookNABBS, VerdThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
HookREES, DaiUK Independence Party (UKIP) No new town in WinchfieldBrownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
OdihamAFFLECK-CRUISE, Amanda JaneThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
OdihamGORDON, Rosalyn JaneLiberal Democrat ??
OdihamKENNETT, John RichardThe Conservative Party Candidate Voted in favour Nov 2014. Now not convinced it is necessaryRedevelopment of Pyestock is very welcome
OdihamOLIVER, KevinUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Yateley EastBURTON, John Peter SimonThe Conservative Party Candidate ??
Yateley EastCOCKARILL, GrahamLiberal Democrat Voted in favour Nov 2014?
Yateley EastGANTLEY, FrankGreen Party OpposeSupport
Yateley EastSTILL, Joyce EdnaThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield
Yateley WestCRISP, GerryLiberal Democrat Voted in favour Nov 2014?
Yateley WestHALL, PeterThe Conservative Party Candidate ??
Yateley WestHOWE, John WilliamUK Independence Party (UKIP) ?Brownfield sites as a priority, but no definitive position on Pyestock
Yateley WestSUTHERLAND, Alistair WilliamThe Labour Party Candidate All Labour candidates in favour of new townSome support Pyestock, but prefer Winchfield

Response to Face IT article in Fleet News and Mail

 

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

FACE IT have been quoted in this week’s Fleet News & Mail, claiming that the “urban extension option may sound like a ‘brownfield’ solution but would actually mean an extra 2,173 homes being built on green fields in Fleet and Hook”.

It does appear that all of the efforts they have put into their campaign around the Hart Council’s Housing Option Consultation has exhausted them to such an extent that they now misunderstand the difference between types of development because nobody is arguing that urban extensions are somehow brownfield development in disguise.

They make spurious claims about school places, after making up their own estimate of how many extra school places might be required without doing a proper population projection.  Note that Hampshire County Council have not put in place any plans beyond 2018, are forecasting a surplus of secondary school places at that time and a reduction in the birth rate as well as admitting that Hart schools are educating many children from outside the district.

They also make some claims about the scale of development that has occurred in Fleet, Church Crookham and Hook and about how many houses would end up being built around Fleet and Hook under each of the options Hart has put forward. It is not clear where they get their numbers from, because they don’t tally with the figures we put together.

However, nobody would dispute that Hook in particular has seen a big rise in housing in both absolute and relative terms. But what we find difficult to understand is why Hook’s Neighbourhood Planning team and Parish Council are advocating the new town option as their first choice which would deliver more than 1,800 houses in Hook Parish and effectively coalesce Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant conurbation that might be named Hartley Winchook. This is more houses than the urban extension they oppose (730 houses), more than the dispersal option put forward by Hart Council (204 houses) and more than the brownfield solution put forward by We Heart Hart (only 57 new dwellings to be permitted).

FACE IT rightly say that the combination of Fleet, Church Crookham, Elvetham Heath and Ewshot (greater Fleet) has seen a lot of new housing in absolute terms over recent years. However, this is only part of the story as all parts of the district have seen significant development. When you look at the amount of new housing in proportion to size, the percentage increase for greater Fleet over the planning period of 2011-2031 is forecast to be around 17% for the dispersal and urban extension options and 14% with the new town option. This is below the average for the whole district at 21%, 18% and 18% respectively for each option and well below the percentage increases for places like Hartley Wintney which is forecast to see 34%, 39% and 21% increases for each of the options put forward by Hart.

The brownfield option that We Heart Hart has put forward has the potential to meet all of the remaining housing need and results in a more balanced distribution across the district in proportion to the size of existing settlements.  Our solution would result in a 23% increase for the greater Fleet area, 22% for Hartley Wintney and 27% for the smaller parishes that include Winchfield.

The proposed densities in the brownfield option are not at all demanding, with an average density on the SHLAA sites of around 25 dwellings per hectare.  The proposed densities on the vacant office blocks are no different to some developments that Hart has already permitted on Fleet Road, such as the new McCarthy and Stone development.  Our proposals do not include Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), which could deliver even more houses on brownfield sites into the future if Hart Council is successful in reallocating that site for housing.

We do agree with FACE IT, that we need to take a strategic view of the future, but we disagree on what that strategic vision might be.  In our view, continuing to concrete over green fields equivalent to 25 football pitches each year is not at all sustainable and our children and grandchildren would not thank us for doing that.

The advantages of a brownfield solution are:

  • It preserves the very countryside that makes Hart such a great place to live,
  • Produces a greener solution, making better use of existing infrastructure and more efficient housing,
  • Delivers more of the smaller, more affordable housing of the types that we need to meet the needs of our young people aspiring to gain a foothold on the housing ladder,
  • Delivers more specialist accommodation for the elderly in the right places for them as well as freeing up larger properties for growing families,
  • Delivers infrastructure funding to existing communities where there is currently a £78m funding deficit
  • Lower risk of delivery because it is spread across a large number of sites with multiple developers

Of course, the new town proposal that is in the consultation has been undergoing testing for over a year now, and has identified a number of significant barriers including education, transport and foul water drainage.  The costs of the infrastructure required for a new town are astronomical and would never be met by developer contributions. If Hart were to choose the new town option, it runs the risk of not passing inspection because infrastructure delivery could not be guaranteed.

We hope that the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment, (SHMA) when it is eventually delivered in June will result in a lower housing target for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath. But until then, the threat of Hart having to build 3,000 for those districts is very real.  Support for a new town will create capacity to build these extra houses which will mean we will end up with the worst of all worlds, a new town, urban extensions and dispersal across the district.

So, we urge all residents of Hart to reject a new town, reject urban extensions and get behind a brownfield solution and give Hart Council further encouragement to step up their efforts in this regard by responding to the consultation and putting support for a brownfield solution in the comments.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and updated our 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
James Farm Nursery Hartley Wintney, Hart District, Hampshire

New SHLAA sites mean our remaining housing need can be met from brownfield sites alone

James Farm Nursery Hartley Wintney, Hart District, Hampshire

James Farm Nursery Hartley Wintney

Hart Council has added a number of new sites to its SHLAA evidence base.  There is a mix of brownfield and green field sites, as we explore below, but the overall impact is to increase the brownfield capacity  to 2,493-2,535 units which is now enough to meet the remaining need of 2,500.

The sites are:

SHL25 Land attached to Brook House, Crondall, green field
SHL81 Vertu, Beacon Hill Road, Church Crookham, brownfield site, 65-70 units
SHL176 Hawley House, Hawley, in Blackwater and Hawley Parish, brownfield site, WHH estimate 8-10 units
SHL177 Land at Croft Lane, Hartley Wintney, green field site, WHH estimate
SHL178 Broden Stables & Stable Yard, Crondall, brownfield site 14-27 units
SHL179 Bowenhurst Lane, Crondall, brownfield site, 30-35 units
SHL180 Crondall Bee Farm, green field site
SHL181 Land south of Little Rye Farm, greenfield site
SHL189 Land at James Farm, Hartley Wintney, brownfield site, 8 units

We have been through each document and some have not yet been fully assessed by Hart’s Planners, so we have had to estimate the size of sites SHL176 and SHL177 using Google Maps and the capacity. Hart Council have not estimated the size of SHL180 either, but that site looks so remote and so close to Basingstoke Canal, that we feel it unlikely ever to be permitted so we have not bothered to estimate a size or capacity for it.

The total capacity of these new brownfield sites is 125-150 units, bringing our total estimate of brownfield capacity up to 2,493-2,535 units.

We have updated our table of brownfield sites and our brownfield thermometer accordingly.

Hart District Brownfield Development Target

If you would like to ask Hart to abandon the new town and urban extension ideas 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, updated our two guides to responding to the consultation and they 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