Graham Cockarill Pants On Fire

Graham Cockarill Pants On Fire

Graham Cockarill Pants On Fire

The latest electoral material from Lib Dem Graham Cockarill reveals that at the very best he has his pants on fire. This comes hot on the heels of the previous fake news. It is quite astonishing that he claims that he is “the man with a plan to save our green fields”.

Graham Cockarill Pants On Fire.

NE Hants Lib Dems: Pants On Fire

This is the same man who is sponsoring the entirely unnecessary new Shapley Heath Garden Village. The developers expect this to deliver up to 10,000 houses. So, that’s 10,000 unnecessary houses on our green fields. Entirely the opposite of his claim to save them.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses

This new town was thrown out of the Local Plan because it was unnecessary. In fact the Local Plan itself said it was unnecessary. The Inspector agreed and even the bid for Government money said so.

Shapley Heath Garden Village not required

Shapley Heath Garden Village not required

Despite four years of effort, no evidence could be produced to demonstrate viability or deliverability.

Shapley Heath not viable or deliverable

Shapley Heath not viable or deliverable

NE Hants Lib Dems play down brownfield capacity

Perhaps the most egregious claim in the leaflet is he says “only an idiot or a liar would pretend all our housing needs could be met by brownfield land”. We have long campaigned for brownfield development in place of needlessly concreting over our green fields. We remind Mr Cockarill that back in 2015, Hart Council claimed there was capacity for only 450 homes on brownfield land. Since then around 1,500 have been granted permission at Hartland Park plus over 500 at Sun Park and many more on smaller sites across the district. As a result, we have over 2,500 dwellings on brownfield sites. Or more than 5 times the claimed capacity. And we haven’t even started on revitalising our urban areas yet.

We will leave it up to readers to decide who is the idiot and who is lying.

Shapley Heath Controversy Erupts at Hustings

Shapley Heath controversy: where each NE Hampshire candidate stands.

Shapley Heath controversy: where each NE Hampshire candidate stands.

The Shapley Heath controversy erupted at the recent North East Hampshire hustings. The Basingstoke Gazette covered the story here. In summary, Conservative candidate Ranil Jayawardena opposes the Shapley Heath proposal. He believes that our future housing needs can be met by redeveloping brownfield land and revitalising our urban centres. Liberal Democrat candidate, Graham Cockarill supports the proposal. Indeed in his role as Cabinet member for Place on Hart Council he is the sponsor of the programme. Labour’s Barry Jones admitted he knew little about the proposals but would reluctantly support the plan.

Three candidates were not invited to the hustings. The local Green party confirmed on Twitter that their candidate Culann Walsh opposes the scheme. Independent candidate Tony Durrant also opposes the plan. Monster Raving Loony, Screaming Laud Hope has not yet responded to our question. We have summarised the positions of the candidates in the graphic above.

[Update]: Screaming Laud Hope was interviewed by For Fleet’s Sake and came out against Shapley Heath, so the graphic has been updated. [/Update]

Shapley Heath Controversy – Details of the hustings

Apparently, candidate Cockarill challenged the notion of Shapley Heath being up to 10,000 houses. We were told that Mr Jayawardena brandished the vision document clearly showing the 10,000 ambition in the Vision Document.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses.

Shapley Heath Controversy: Vision Document 10,000 houses

We understand from others at the hustings that candidate Cockarill stated brownfield development was desirable. However, he thought landowners in Fleet aren’t interesting in selling. We know from the work carried out by the Rural Hart Association that the owners of the Hart Shopping Centre are interested in redevelopment. Indeed, they supported the Future High Streets bid (see final letter in the appendices) to regenerate Fleet. Moreover, some of the other prime regeneration sites are owned by either Hart District Council or Hampshire County Council. For instance, much of the Civic Quarter, including the Harlington Centre, plus Victoria Road car park and Church Road car park are in public ownership.

Creative thinking in three dimensions could preserve parking space; deliver better leisure and cultural facilities; housing that people can afford and infrastructure spending. It does seem odd that our local councils prefer to concrete over our green fields, rather than provide better facilities for their residents.

Of course, planning is a local rather than a national matter. However, our MP can ‘set the tone’ for the area; lobby Government to cut off further funding to Shapley Heath; call on Government to provide regeneration investment and vote more generally for brownfield first policies. Many people will of course be more concerned about national matters. Please bear Shapley Heath in mind when casting your vote on December 12th.

Beware Lib Dem Fake News (Again)

#LibDem #FakeNews Leaflet North East Hampshire #GE2019

Lib Dem Fake News Leaflet North East Hampshire GE 2019

[Update]: They have now doubled down with  a claim that despite promoting the unnecessary new town, they are really protecting green fields. [/Update]

A local person has been in touch highlighting more Lib Dem Fake News. There are a number of issues with their latest General Election Leaflet:

  • Now supporting the Shapley Heath Garden Village, when they claimed credit for it being struck out of the Local Plan
  • Denying that there’s capacity for 10,000 houses at Shapley Heath
  • Getting Hart’s housing requirement, supply and timing of planning decisions wrong
  • Another Lib Dem fake bar chart

The full leaflet can be found here. Details of their fake news claims are shown below. If anybody finds fake news from other candidates please do get in touch.

Lib Dem Fake News: Shapley Heath

Regular readers will remember back in March, the Lib Dem district council candidates were claiming credit for saving Winchfield from the unnecessary new town.

Lib Dem Fake News claims to have saved Winchfield

Lib Dem Fake News claims to have saved Winchfield

Their latest leaflet for their candidate standing in the general election is trying to justify why we need the very same development.

Cockarill Lib Dem Fake News Leaflet North East Hampshire GE 2019. Fake Garden Village Claim.

Lib Dem Graham Cockarill justifying Shapley Heath Garden Village

This is quite a turnaround in just a few months. They don’t seem to be able to make their minds up.

Lib Dem Fake News: 10,000 houses

They are also claiming it is ridiculous to say Shapley Heath is going to be up to 10,000 houses.

#LibDem #FakeNews #GE2019 Fake 10,000 house claim

Lib Dem Fake News: Fake 10,000 houses claim

The leaflet doesn’t mention that Graham Cockarill is in fact the Hart Cabinet member for Place (aka Planning). He oversaw the Council’s bid for Garden Community funding.  The Vision Document that was part of the bid, clearly states the developers are looking to put 10,000 houses on the site.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10,000 houses

And the bid itself talked of a development up to 10,000 houses.

Nightmare in Winchfield - capacity for 10,000 houses

If a candidate denies what is in their own documents, we can’t see how they can be fit for office.

Hart Housing Requirement, Supply and Planning decisions

The leaflet claims Hart’s housing requirement up to 2032 is 388 dwellings per annum. In fact, after review by the Inspector, the requirement form 2014 to 2032 is 423 dpa. This is because Hart has agreed to take some of Surrey Heath’s requirement.

Cockarill Lib Dem Fake News Leaflet North East Hampshire GE 2019

Lib Dem Fake News: Fake housing numbers claim

As part of their justification for continuing with Shapley Heath, the say Hart needs a 5 year land supply. It is true that local authorities need to maintain a 5-year land supply. But Hart currently has around 9 years supply. They also imply that Grove Farm was granted planning permission during the Conservative administration. In fact, the appeal was granted in October 2017, when the Lib Dem/CCH coalition were in power and Mr Cockarill was Cabinet member for Planning.

Lib Dem Fake News Bar Chart

Of course no Lib Dem leaflet would be complete without a misleading bar chart. This one is no exception. The leaflet says that NE Hampshire is a two-horse race and the Lib Dems are snapping at the heels of the Tories to win the seat.

#LibDem #FakeNews #FakeBarChart #GE2019

Graham Cockarill Lib Dem Fake Bar Chart

They don’t mention their council coalition partners Community Campaign Hart in the bar chart.  If they did, it would show that the Lib Dems are in fact in third place in terms of seats on Hart District Council. They also came a distant third, behind Labour, in the 2017 General Election with only 12.3% of the vote. Here is what their bar chart should have looked like.

Hart and NE Hampshire Election Results

Hart and NE Hampshire Election Results

 

 

 

 

Beware the ‘garden village’: it’s not green and it’s not a village

Protect our green fields

Protect our green fields

In a sign that much of the South East of England is starting to revolt against the Government’s plans to concrete over our green fields, the Sunday Times has published an important article attacking “meaningless” garden villages and urban sprawl.  This echoes the recent survey of Hampshire residents that put protecting our towns and villages as a key election issue.  Just to be clear, We Heart Hart does not support the Rudlin proposal outlined in the article below of taking bites out of our green belt.  We believe that Hart District’s housing need can be met from brownfield development.

It remains to be seen if our Parliamentary and District Council candidates will take heed.  If you want to join 1,600 other people who want to oppose Hart District Council’s plans for a new town in Hart, please sign and share our petition.

 

Go to Petition

 

The article can be found here and is reproduced below.

Beware the ‘garden village’: it’s not green and it’s not a village

by Charles Clover, Sunday Times

OUR nearby town has just leapt towards us. It vaulted the trunk road, previously a barrier to development, with a huge park-and-ride for 1,000 cars. The lights of that were turned on this month, just after a proposal for a new “garden village” of 4,000 homes emerged from the imagination of local speculators. Were this approved, it would push far north into green countryside and towards Constable country.

Our nearby town is Colchester but it might be anywhere in the southeast. The quandary is the same: how to provide enough land to build about 1,000 homes a year for the next 15 years to address the desperate need to house the young and to tackle rising house prices.

The town is under pressure to find the right number of homes to put in its local plan or it will lose control and be forced to approve every speculative proposal, as has happened in another local town, Braintree, when an inspector found its numbers too low. So a rather chilling thing has happened. Colchester issued a “call for sites”. This flushed out not only every farmer with a few acres he wouldn’t mind selling — the little red patches on the map of offered land in every village are a tale of rampant opportunism. The call has also galvanised some large landowners to band together and propose “garden villages” in green countryside.

Some are considered wildly speculative. But the largest of these proposals, up to 15,000 homes on the A12/A120 corridor known as West Tey, is being taken seriously. The landowners in question could then fly off to the Channel Islands with £1m an acre, leaving the rest of us to fund the roads, hospitals, railways and schools these homes will need.

This “landowner-led” process is a consequence of the government’s simplification of the planning system. It has taken out the layer of bureaucracy known as regional planning and pushed responsibility down to the boroughs. In a few years the effect of this may reduce the upward pressure on house prices. But it has left local authorities struggling to find sufficient land. Our own has done a good job, until now, of building on brownfield sites. Now the numbers are too great. It must consider green fields because it has no more brown ones. There are plenty of brownfield sites to the south, along the Thames, but there is no mechanism for pushing the development there because under the new system each borough must provide for its own population.

Sensibly, our borough has decided not to make every chancer’s day. It favours the idea of a few new settlements, still euphemistically described as “garden villages”. The thing is that 15,000 homes is not a village. It is a town. Without inspired planning, it is Los Angeles-style sprawl. Any resemblance to century-old garden cities, such as Letchworth, is purely coincidental. Developments such as West Tey are speculative and there is, as yet, no certain way of tapping into the windfall profits, known as “uplift”, to upgrade stretched infrastructure: our hospital has been under emergency measures, the roads are clogged and you may have to stand on the train to London.

The problem with the process here is that it has brought forward land along a main road that is already outdated, in green countryside that is not close enough to the local town for walking or cycling and on grade 2 agricultural land that is meant to be protected. Contrast what is going on in Ebbsfleet, Kent, where the same number of homes are planned: the government is pouring £200m into infrastructure and the settlement sits on the underused Channel Tunnel rail line. The windfall profits will be diverted into an urban development corporation — like the ones used to develop postwar new towns such as Harlow. This option does at least mean the public get the kind of town they need.

Thoughtful locals are pressing Colchester to think again about a town extension instead of meaningless “garden villages”. That debate is opening up across the country. The advocates of expanding existing towns cite the arguments made by David Rudlin, an urban planner who won last year’s £250,000 Wolfson economics prize: that postwar new towns lacked sufficient scale to be successful and stagnated economically when large employers closed. Rudlin favours instead taking “confident and well-planned” bites out of the green belt and developing them like new towns.

It is not too late for those arguments to prevail here — indeed, one of the options being considered in Colchester is an extension of 5,000 homes near the university. But it will take a jolt from local MPs after the election to get sensible options fully considered. That is nothing to the jolt there will be in the form of opposition, across the country, if wildly speculative developments like those I’ve seen find their way into local plans.

North East Hampshire Candidates declare their positions on Winchfield New Town

The issue of a new town in Winchfield is a local issue and will not be decided by MP’s in Parliament.  However, many people want to know where their local parliamentary candidates for NE Hampshire stand on the issue.  MP’s do have the ability to influence Government policy on the National Planning Policy Framework, and on the incentives given to develop brownfield land.  Winchfield Action Group have posted on Facebook their report of the recent hustings in Odiham.  This has given an interesting view of all of the candidates standing for election in the North East Hampshire constituency at the 2015 General Election #GE2015:

Conservatives (Ranil Jayawardena): Against. Brownfield development is the way forward.

Monster Raving Loony Party (Mad Max Bobetsky): Totally against building in Winchfield. It’s beautiful.

Labour (Amran Hussain): Support locally led development. Majority are against the new town in Winchfield.  Endorses our suggested new approach to the Local Plan.

Greens (Andrew Johnston): Against a new town. Brownfield redevelopment should be a priority.

Libdems (Graham Cockarill): There are not enough brownfield sites in Hook and Winchfield. A new town is long term the way to go, although not necessarily in Winchfield.  Note that as a councillor, Mr. Cockarill was head of planning at the time of the vote for the new town on November 27 2014 and voted in favour of it.

If you would like to know more about each candidate’s position, their contact details can be found on our contacts page.

Our understanding of the positions of the district council candidates can be found here.

As I understand it, all of the major parties have recently expressed strong support for brownfield development; but that does not necessarily translate into local policy that is adopted by local councillors.

Where does your Hart District Council candidate stand on a new town?

We Love Hart Ballot Box

The Hart Council elections will take place on May 7 2015 and all of the candidates can be found here. We Heart Hart urges you to find out where your candidate stands on the issue of a new settlement in the district and ask them to oppose it. If they come an canvas you, then please raise the issue of the local plan with them.

Key issues are:

  • We are being asked to build too many houses, our housing allocation relies on us created nearly double the number of jobs than was created during the boom times of 1998-2008 and
  • Hart’s planning assumption of only 30 dwellings per hectare (dph) is too low, and even they have admitted they could go to 808-160dph.  If they increased density on brownfield, we would not need a new town
  • Hart already have a funding gap of £78m for infrastructure.  Building a new town is likely to mean this gap will get much worse because building on green fields requires much more infrastructure than brownfield development

We have compiled a list of all of the candidates standing, and where we know it, their position on a new town.  How many will endorse our new approach to the local plan?

 

Hart District Council Candidates May 2015

WardNamePartyPosition on New Settlement
Blackwater & HawleySteve Francis??
Mike GascoigneUKIP?
Vivienne GascoigneConservative?
Bob HarwardLiberal DemocratVoted in favour
Les LawrieLabour & Co-operative?
Crookham EastChris AxamCommunity Campaign HartVoted in favour
Helen ButlerConservative?
Dawn MoorsUKIP?
Ruth Ann WilliamsLabour?
Crookham West & EwshotDominic ArthurLabour?
Tony ClarkeCommunity Campaign HartVoted in favour
David Franklin OwensUKIP?
Christopher James SimmonsConservative?
Fleet CentralMatthew Cyril BennettGreen?
John BennisonCommunity Campaign HartVoted in favour
Alex GrayConservativeAgainst new town, favours brownfield development over building on green fields
Satdeep Kaur GrewalLabour?
Howling Laud HopeMonster Raving Loony?
Fleet EastPeter William DevonshireUKIP?
John Grant GawthorpeLabour?
Stephen George ParkerConservativeVoted in favour
Neil Christopher WaltonLiberal Democrat? But all Lib Dems voted in favour
Fleet WestStephen Robert CantleCommunity Campaign Hart? But, all CCH voted in favour
Paul Stephen Walter EinchcombLiberal Democrat? But all Lib Dems voted in favour
James Edwin HurstLabour?
Sara KinnellConservativeVoted against, but changed ward
Gordon SmithUKIP?
Hartley WintneyAltay AliUKIP?
Anne CramptonConservativeVoted against
Tony OverLiberal DemocratStated against, but all Lib Dems voted in favour
Andrew James RenshawConservativeAgainst
Alan WoolfordLiberal DemocratStated against, but all Lib Dems voted in favour
HookBrian Douglas BurchfieldConservativeVoted in favour
Ruth Stella HamiltonUKIP?
Verd NabbsLabour?
Jeffrey Robert SmithLiberal Democrat? But all Lib Dems voted in favour
OdihamRosalyn Jane GordonLiberal Democrat? But all Lib Dems voted in favour
Stephen Alexander GorysConservativeVoted in favour
Kevin OliverUKIP?
Yateley EastJohn Peter Simon BurtonConservative?
Dave NeighbourLiberal DemocratVoted in favour
Sue PerkinsUKIP?
Joyce StillLabour?
Yateley WestAndrew Shawn DickensConservative?
Claire ElhaggagiLiberal Democrat? But all Lib Dems voted in favour
John William HoweUKIP?
Alistair William SutherlandLabour?

 

If you are a candidate and want to update your position, please get in touch, and we will update the table.

The declared positions of the North East Hampshire parliamentary candidates can be found here.

We Heart Hart and Winchfield Action Group are delivering leaflets all across the district and engaging with people in the street.  The overwhelming number of people we have spoken to are against a new town in Hart when they understand the facts.  This is in line with the findings of the Get Hampshire survey of Hampshire residents.  It is time our councillors and candidates started listening to the people.  Copies of the leaflet can be found here.

If you would like to join our campaign, please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

Hampshire residents say protecting our towns and villages is a key election issue

Election demands from Hampshire residents

Election demands from Hampshire residents according to Get Hampshire

A survey of Hampshire residents by Get Hampshire has shown the protection of our green and pleasant land and historic towns and villages is a key election issue.  This issue ranked third behind controlling immigration and  helping our small businesses.

Looking at the questions and answers in more detail, a staggering 77.7% of people thought either that our green and pleasant land was of paramount importance or there were other legitimate sites available for development that councils should look at rather than using green space.

Get Hampshire Housing Crisis Questions and Answers

Get Hampshire Housing Crisis Questions and Answers

This shows an overwhelming majority in favour of protecting our historic towns and villages and protecting our green fields from over-development.

How to tackle the housing crisis from Get Hampshire

How to tackle the housing crisis from Get Hampshire

Only 12.3% of people wanted us to build thousands of houses in new towns and garden cities, whilst 36.4% of people wanted tax breaks to encourage building on brownfield sites.

Surely it is time for Hart District Council to think again about a new town at Winchfield, reject Option 4 and focus instead on creative use of the many brownfield sites in the district.  Time also for Ranil Jayawardena and Gerald Howarth to take a message back to Conservative Central Office (and Parliament if they are elected) about changing the National Planning Policy Framework to reduce the pressure on local councils.

Focusing on brownfield and regeneration of our town centres will make better use of that land and build more critical mass to support the local retailers so would help with meeting two of the top 3 election issues.

If you would like to join our campaign to ask Hart Council to think again, please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

As an addendum, protection of greenbelt by building on brownfield sites is a key issue for Surrey residents too.

Surrey Election Demands from Get Surrey

Surrey Election Demands from Get Surrey

What is your manifesto for North East Hampshire?

We Love Hart Ballot Box

The website of the Fleet News and Mail is running an on-line questionnaire to find out what is important to the people of North East Hampshire (and Hart District) at the forthcoming general and local elections.  The questionnaire is open until tomorrow, Sunday 15 March 2015.

There are a number of questions in there about planning (including the Local Plan)  and housing.

Please make your voice heard and ask our politicians to think again an focus on building fewer houses and building them on brownfield sites by signing our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

We Heart Hart will be increasing its coverage as we run up to the election.

Let’s make planning an election issue

Government policy is at the root of the problem Hart District faces today.  Yes, we can complain about Hart’s response to the policy, but at the same time we need to support Hart District Council by extending the We Heart Hart (aka We ♥ Hart and We Love Hart) campaign to aim at local MP’s, Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and Government ministers.

I have compiled a template letter to politicians to explain the impact of policy on our district and set out some ideas for how they might change policy to protect our green fields from over-development.  To make it easy for you, it also contains the e-mail addresses of all of the relevant people mentioned above.

Can I ask that you download the letter below, amend it as you see fit and send it to all of these people so they start to take notice that planning will become an election issue.

Oh, and if you haven’t done so already, please sign the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-hart

Dear Politician Letter