Prof Dieter Helm – policymakers should pause for thought before concreting greenbelt

An important paper on the future of the green belt has recently been published by Professor Dieter Helm.  The paper is quite long, but the conclusion is applicable to Hart Council as it continues to push for a new settlement in Winchfield that will concrete over the green lung at the heart of Hart as part of the Local Plan.

Before policy makers surrender to the direct interests of the developers, they should pause for thought. There is a viable third alternative that at least deserves proper analysis, and it is potentially rich in benefits. Instead of yet more urban sprawl, imagine a Green belt with lots of natural capital, a much more environmentally benign agriculture, much greater public access, woodlands located next to people so it could fulfil not only the original purpose of limiting the sprawl but also provide the lungs of the cities, the fresh air for children to play in, and the recreational benefits which are crucial to health and well being. That is worth exploring before the irreversible destruction of this major asset located exactly where it is needed – next to people. There is after all no shortage of land to build houses on if that is what is required. It does not have to be at the expense of a key asset that the previous generation left to us, and which we have a responsibility to pass onto the next generation.

It seems obvious that Hart would derive significant benefits from avoiding urban sprawl by maintaining and enhancing our natural green spaces, through keeping places for children to play and for all of us to walk and cycle so we can improve our health and well-being.

Time for Hart to think again.  If you would like to add to the pressure on Hart to change its approach, please sign and share our petition.

 

Go to Petition

 

 

We Heart Hart petition breaks the 1,500 barrier

The We Heart Hart petition is now really taking off, breaking through the 1,500 barrier today. This is approaching three times the number of valid responses to the Hart Council consultation that took place in Autumn 2014 and nearly 7 times the number of people (220) of said they favoured a new settlement.

It seems that the people of Hart are waking up to the reality that the Council’s plans will:

  • Turn the northern part of Hart will turn into a single urban sprawl when there is an alternative of building higher density in urban areas to help rejuvenate our high streets
  • Ignore many brownfield sites untouched all over the district where we could build housing
  • Destroy our environment and the very nature of Hart’s unique appeal – the reason we all love living here.

 

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

 

Go to Petition

 

Surely it is now time for Hart Council to think again and listen to the people.

Hart District Council and Government Inspector ride roughshod over local democracy

We Love Hart Campaign Logo

We Love Hart Campaign Logo

Recent meetings between Hart District Council and Keith Holland, the Planning Inspector, demonstrate the council and Government are trying to ride roughshod over local democracy and the environment.  It should be noted that our petition asking the council to change course has reached more than 1,300 signatories, more than 6 times the number of people who expressed a preference for a new town in Hart’s consultation.

Nevertheless, from the papers of the meetings in October 2014 and March 2015 between the council and the government inspector, it is clear that between them, they are seeking ways to bypass local democracy. Downloads of the working papers for the meetings can be found at the bottom of this post.

First, it is clear that Hart Council is seeking to make a new settlement a “political preference” and then load the assessment of options so that those options that didn’t include a new settlement would perform less well than options that did.  Given that many councillors have stated that they are only reluctantly going along with the idea of a new town as the “least worst option”, it is quite staggering that the council should seek to proceed in such a biased manner.

New settlement as political preference

New settlement as political preference

Sadly, it appears as though the inspector agrees with Hart’s approach, however he did indicate that the council should first establish all of the needs of the district in terms of housing and social and economic development.  Hart does not appear to have done any work at all on establishing the infrastructure needs of the district.

Vision should include more than housing

Vision should include more than housing

 

Second, it is clear that both the council and the inspector want to ride roughshod over local democracy by making the Local Plan override any Neighbourhood Plans prepared in advance of it. This again bypasses the democratic process in each parish and flies in the face of the Government’s supposed “localism” policy where David Cameron said in 2012:

“Our reforms will make it easier for communities to say ‘we are not going to have [a] big plonking housing estate landing next to the village, but we would like 10, 20, 30 extra houses and we would like them built in this way, to be built for local people’.”

Local Plan supersedes Neighbourhood plans

Local Plan supersedes Neighbourhood plans

 

Third, the risk of having to take 3,100 extra houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor, leaving Hart having to take on by far the largest number of houses across all three districts has been confirmed.  The Planning Inspector said that Hart “must test an option whereby it takes all of the estimated shortfall in Rushmoor and Surrey Heath”.

 HartSurrey HeathRushmoor
Original Assessed Need7,5349,8227,057
Shortfall from SH and Rn/a1,7001,400
New Need10,6348,1225,657

 

Fourth, both Hart District Council and the planning inspector are trying to sneak through the Local Plan with minimal consultation.  At the first meeting the planning inspector advised that consultation should be kept to a minimum and since then the council has quietly dropped the Regulation 18 consultation it said it would carry out in March 2015.  This clearly shows that both the Local Council and the Inspector want to rush through the Local Plan without properly consulting with the people.  It is worth noting that the size of the 3,100 dwelling unmet need from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor was not known at the time of the first consultation. This pushed up Hart’s requirement from 7,534 to 10,634.  This surely represents a major change that on its own would justify a further consultation.

Keep consultation to a minimum

Keep consultation to a minimum

Surely it would be better for Hart to knock out Option 4 – new settlement now on the grounds of environmental damage to avoid the need to take on the additional requirement from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor?

Finally, Hart has to demonstrate where it is going to put all of the houses, but doesn’t have to show it will protect our environment by providing suitable green spaces.

Attitude to SANG capacity

Finding SANG capacity not as important as finding sites for houses

This is surely a ridiculous position to take and puts our environment at unnecessary risk, where they adopt a new settlement in the Local Plan but don’t have to show exactly how they will mitigate the environmental impact.

Downloads of the papers referred to in this post can be found below.

Note of Hart DC meeting with PINS 30 Mar 2015
Briefing note for Hart DC meeting with PINS 30 Mar 2015
Note of Hart DC and PINS Meeting 20 Oct 14

Meeting 30/3/15 Briefing note for 30/3/15 meeting Minutes from 20/10/14

We Heart Hart petition is now twice as big as Hart District Council consultation

The We Heart Hart petition is now really taking off, now exceeding 1,200, adding more than 280 since Friday night. This is more than twice the number of valid responses (550) to the Hart District Council consultation that took place in Autumn 2014 and more than 5 times the number of people (220) of said they favoured a new settlement.

It seems that the people of Hart are waking up to the reality that the Council’s plans will:

  • Turn the northern part of Hart District will turn into a single urban sprawl when there is an alternative of building higher density in urban areas to help rejuvenate our high streets
  • Ignore many brownfield sites untouched all over the district where we could build housing
  • Destroy our environment and the very nature of Hart’s unique appeal – the reason we all love living here.

 

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

 

Go to Petition

 

Surely it is now time for Hart Council to think again and listen to the people.

We Heart Hart Questions for Hart Council

There is a Hart District Council meeting on 26 February at the Hart Council Offices in Fleet at 7pm.  There is an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions about any subject including the emerging Local Plan.  Great questions would be:

  1. If Hart keeps the new town in its plan, what is the risk it will have to build the new town and strategic urban extensions in Fleet and Church Crookham to accommodate the extra 3,100 houses that Surrey Heath Borough Council and Rushmoor Borough Council are trying to force on to Hart?
  2. What will be the additional traffic and congestion impact of the proposed new town on surrounding settlements of Church Crookham, Crookham Village, Fleet, Hook, Hartley Wintney and Odiham?
  3. What are the criteria, marking scheme and weighting factors Hart are using to evaluate the alternative housing development options?
  4. What is Hart’s vision for the future of the district?
  5. How will Hart evaluate the risk of coalescence of the existing settlements that will effectively happen if a new town is built?
  6. What is Hart DC’s strategy for identifying and analysing and maximising the development of brownfield sites to avoid concreting over our valuable green spaces?
  7. What will be the environmental impact of a new sewage works discharging into the River Hart?
  8. What will be the environmental impact of 5,000 new houses in the SPA zone of influence?
  9. What will be the environmental impact of 5,000 new houses on the SSSI’s at Odiham Common and Basingstoke Canal?
  10. What will be the environmental impact of concreting over the green gaps between the SSSI’s and SINCs in Winchfield?

We Heart Hart has asked a number of these questions already as shown in the download and is aware of others asking questions too.

Please take some time to ask your own questions of the council.  You can use the download below that already has the e-mail addresses in it you need.  Questions need to be submitted by noon on Friday 20 February.

We Love Hart Questions for Hart Council

And if you have not done so, please sign the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-hart

£188m Infrastructure Funding Gap Leaves Hart New Town Plan in Tatters

Hart District Infrastructure Funding Gap

There is a potential infrastructure funding gap of up to £188m arising from the plan for a new town in Hart District. Much has been made of the infrastructure benefits that could be brought to the district by building a new town, however, it is not widely known that there is already a £78m funding gap for infrastructure.  This does not include the infrastructure costs of a new town, nor the expected funding from a developer.  We might expect Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding – or S106 – to yield £40m from the developer, but the infrastructure costs of a new town could be up to £150m (not including costs of improving healthcare services), meaning that if Hart were to proceed with this plan, we would have a funding gap of £188m.  Note that new analysis from Hart District Council indicates that costs could increase to over £300m.

This surely leaves the idea of a new town in tatters.  Indeed it calls into question the whole idea of building an extra 7,500 homes in Hart, wherever they are built because there simply isn’t enough money to fund road improvements, new schools, new healthcare facilities or improvements to railway stations.  One has to ask why the council are pushing through this idea when the costs are outrageous, the funding isn’t available and the results will be devastating for the local area?

If you would like the Government and Hart to think again, please sign the  We Heart Hart (aka We ♥ Hart and We Love Hart) petition.

Of course the £150m cost of infrastructure for the new town is my estimate, but  it is clear whatever the actual number there is a considerable gap to be closed between the cost of the infrastructure required for the Local Plan and the funding available.

The detail of the calculations to back up these numbers is shown below.

First, here is the table from the Hart Infrastructure Delivery Schedule:

Hart Existing Infrastructure Funding Gap

This shows that there is an existing gap of £78m.  Some say that even this is an under-estimate.  Crucially it does not include any infrastructure for the proposed new town: no new schools, no road improvements in that area and no improvements to the railways.  And it does not attribute a cost to healthcare improvements like doctors surgeries or expansion of hospitals.

We might expect around £40m from developing 4,000 new houses that have not yet received planning permission in the local plan.  This is based on only 2,400 houses being eligible for a CIL charge as 40% of what is built has to be “affordable” and does not attract a CIL charge.  If each house is 95 sq m, and the charge per sq m is £175, then this results in CIL funding of £40m.  If they use S106 instead of CIL, the yield can be expected to be broadly similar.

Note that CIL money has to be used for specific projects outlined in the Regulation 123 list.  None of the projects on this list relate to building a new town.  So all of that money raised will have to towards funding the existing gap.  This leaves a gap of £38m before even considering the costs of infrastructure for the new town in Winchfield or anywhere else.

A back of the envelope calculation suggests that the proposed Hart new town will need around £150m of spending on infrastructure.

Hart / Winchfield New Town Infrastructure Costs

Hart / Winchfield New Town Infrastructure Costs

Of course, the road widening costs above will mean the destruction of miles of ancient hedgerow which is highly undesirable.  Many of the other works would be very detrimental to the environment and the rural feel of Hart.

The sources for these number are as follows:

  • Roundabouts.  Cost of A30 improvements at Blackbushe is around £4m.  Roundabouts at either end of the B3016 will cross a dual carriageway and will likely require some element of approach road improvement, so reasonable to assume the cost of each change will be about the same.  I have scaled down this number for the additional roundabouts needed as they are simpler.
  • Bridge improvements estimated.  Both bridges over the river Hart (at the Queens Head pub and on Pale Lane) will need to be completely replaced and widened to cope with two way traffic and probably some road adjustments too.  The work on the railway bridges will be considerable to widen them to cater for two way traffic underneath, and potentially to strengthen them for double decker trains.  Plus the Barratts new town plan for Winchfield shows a new footbridge over the motorway that hasn’t been individually costed.
  • Road costs estimated from this  2006 report from Imperial College London give a cost of £2.13m/km  of new single carriageway road.  Road lengths above taken from Google Maps.
  • Schools.  Hart Council quoted £32m as the cost of a secondary school.  Scaled this down to £10m for cost of new primary school.  Note that the secondary school is within a couple of hundred metres of the M3 and one of the primary schools is located between the M3 and the railway, hardly a suitable environment for children to grow up in.
  • Electricity Pylons.  No-one is going to want to live underneath high voltage electricity pylons, and two lots of high voltage pylons cross the planned area for the new town.  Presumably they were put there originally because they weren’t near where people live.  It costs £1.6m/km to lay new pylon runs and £20m/km to bury cables.  For the purposes of this I have assumed that it costs a similar amount per km to move existing pylons.  If they have to bury them, then that will cost £50m on its own.

Please download a poster: http://wehearthart.co.uk/home/get-involved/

Sign the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-hart

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IHeartHart/

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeHeartHart

3,100 Reasons to Oppose a New Town in Hart

Hart becomes Housing Sink for Surrey Heath and Rushmor

Hart becomes sink for 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

A new town in Hart District, whether in Winchfield or anywhere else, will open up Hart to be a sink for 3,100 overflow houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Borough Councils. Yet Hart District Council’s strategy for the Local Plan has set us on the path for a new town which makes this inevitable and will destroy our green fields and wildlife habitats and clog up all of our infrastructure.

If you disagree with this strategy please sign the We Love Hart (We ♥ Hart) petition.

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), calls for Hart to build a total of around 7,500 houses in the district up to 2031.  Our neighbouring districts, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor also have demanding targets and are saying that they cannot build all of their own allocation in their districts.  So, they want to pass over an extra 3,100 or so houses (1,700 from Rushmoor and 1,400 from Surrey Heath) to Hart that will push our target up to around 10,600 houses.  See answers to questions here, page 17.

In their housing options paper the council says that we would need to deliver 1,800-2,400 houses on a new settlement (Option 4). However, the Barratts New Town proposal document says that such a new settlement would have capacity for 5,000 houses, more than twice the size of Elvetham Heath,  and could start building as early as 2017.  This leaves a convenient surplus  of around 3,000 dwellings in the new settlement that could be used to fill the shortfall  from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.

The We Heart Hart campaign believes this is a grave strategic error on the part of Hart Council because they are following a policy that means there is a real risk we will have to build even more houses in Hart and concrete over our green fields.

The impact of this could be enormous:

  • Massive increase in congestion throughout all of the district.
  • Increased stress on already creaking infrastructure
  • Overcrowding of trains already running over capacity
  • Massive environmental harm to the SSSI’s, SINCs and the Thames Valley Heath SPA
  • Coalescence of Fleet, Church Crookham, Crookham Village, Dogmersfield, Winchfield, Hartley Wintney, North Warnborough and Odiham into a giant conurbation.

Changing Demographics means a New Town is a Bad Idea

A new town in Hart, whether located in Winchfield or anywhere else, will not meet the needs of the growing ageing population.  We run the risk of building the wrong type of housing in the wrong place to cater for the excess housing needs of Rushmoor and Surrey Heath without meeting the needs of Hart, and concreting over our green fields in the process.

Please sign the petition.

The demographics of the district are changing.  According to council documents, by 2031, there will be an additional 10,000 people over 60 (including more than 6,850 over 75) expected to be living in the district and an extra 3,620 people who will be suffering from dementia or have some sort of mobility problem.

The housing needs of the elderly and infirm are very different to those of the general population and the council plans will do nothing to meet those needs.   Studies have shown that specialist retirement housing has significant benefits:

  • A higher quality of life for its residents. The report notes that 92% of residents are very happy and contented and most would recommend their accommodation to others.
  • Improved health for residents and reduced impact on the NHS. As specialist accommodation is designed for impaired mobility, residents can manage better and spend fewer nights in hospital.
  • Good for the environment. 51% of residents said that their energy bills were noticeably lower than they had been in their previous homes.  What is more, the elderly tend to own fewer cars and tend to travel less once living in retirement housing.
  • Retirement housing boosts local neighbourhoods. Older people regularly use shops and local facilities during weekdays, when they are often underutilised, and at weekends. 80% use the shops almost daily or often; over 40% used the library or post office almost daily or often.
  • Retirement housing has a positive impact on local housing markets. On moving, most residents free up a substantial family home, with two thirds moving from homes with three or more bedrooms, freeing up housing stock for families.

However, the SHMA says that Hart should continue to build housing in line with the current housing stock profile.  The impact of this is that we will concrete over our green fields with traditional housing estates and not meet the needs of our growing elderly population and leave the shopping areas in the centre of our towns to wither away whilst increasing congestion all over the district.

The We Love Hart campaign says this is the wrong approach and we should focus on building specialist accommodation for the elderly in higher density brownfield sites near to town centres, perhaps alongside high quality affordable flats for the younger generation.

 

Is this what we want for Hart?

SHLAA Sites in Hart District Jan 2015

SHLAA Sites in Hart District Jan 2015

Is this what we want for Hart? Take a look at the image taken from a document on the council website, that shows all of the sites Hart are looking at for development into the future as at January 2015.

Whilst not all of them will make it into the Local Plan, it is clear that we are on the slippery slope to Hartley Wintney, Hook, Fleet, Dogmersfield, the Crookhams, Winchfield and Odiham coalescing into a single, sprawling conurbation.  Each settlement will lose its distinctive identity and we will lose the green fields, wildlife and rural feel that make Hart such a great place to live.

Many of these sites are within the zone of influence of Thames Valley Special Protection Area and close to other environmentally sensitive areas such as the SSSIs at Basingstoke Canal and Odiham Common and the numerous other Sites of Interest to Nature Conservation (SINCs) that are dotted around the district.

The We Heart Hart campaign says we need to challenge this mindset of building a new town all over our green fields and force a re-think of the whole development strategy, with a much stronger focus on building on brownfield sites and increasing building density in the existing settlements.

Please sign the petition opposing this style of development: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-hart

Challenging the SHMA

[These arguments have been expanded and refined on this page. ]

The following questions about the housing allocation for Hart were asked at the council meeting on 27 November.

This post refers to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and its Appendix that are published on the Hart Website here:

(http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/HRSH%20Consultation%20Draft%20SHMA%20May%202014.pdf  and

http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/HRSH%20Consultation%20Draft%20SHMA%20Appendices%20May%202014.pdf ).

Process

 

  • Background: I would like to understand the process that was adopted to select Wessex Economics to conduct the SHMA. Their website (http://www.wessex-economics.co.uk/about/ ) indicates that they have extensive experience in the property sector, but the principal’s background is with DTZ a leading provider of services to investors and developers.  I am concerned that such a company will be biased towards “development” and not sympathetic to the needs of local people or the environment. Question:  What process was followed to select Wessex Economics and what process was followed to determine that Wessex did not have inappropriate relationships with or financial interests in any housing developers?
  • Background: In the appendix (A1.2), the process for stakeholder engagement is set out. The only people consulted were from local authorities or from developers and housing associations or their representatives.  If the main people consulted are the salivating developers, it cannot be a surprise that their input errs towards the need to build more.  Question: How can the SHMA be a truly Objective Assessment of Housing Need if the main consultees have a vested interest in the outcome?
  • Background: The SHMA is still in draft form on the Hart website. Question: Why is such a fundamental document as the Strategic Options for Housing Growth is being based on a flawed, unchallenged, draft document?
  • Background: Section 1.6 of the SHMA says “For a local plan to be considered sound in terms of overall housing provision, it first needs to have identified the full, objectively assessed need for housing in the housing market area. Local authorities then need to meet these needs in full and demonstrate how they will be met, or provide robust evidence that they cannot be delivered.Question: What evidence is the council producing to demonstrate the objectively assessed housing need is not deliverable?
  • Background: The starting point for the SHMA is the CLG forward population projections. These essentially project forward past trends.  Question: Notwithstanding this is the “preferred approach” in the NPPG, what evidence is there that basing the future need of an area on past population growth is the best or most desirable approach and has the council considered working with other councils to challenge the government mandated approach in the courts?
  • Background: Most of the consultation feedback from developers was against Option 4. The only developer in favour was Barratts and they produced an expensive glossy brochure as part of their submission.  Question: Please set out all of the contact between the council (meaning council officers and councillors) and Barratts in the period from one month before the SHMA was commissioned and 31 October 2014, and all of the contact between the council (meaning council officers and councillors) and all other significant developers for the same period.

 

Content

 

There are a large number of tautologies and flawed assumptions in the SHMA which I would like to draw out and thus challenge the overall conclusion.

 

  • Background: Surrey Heath and Rushmoor are both more highly developed than Hart.  Question: What is the rationale for grouping largely rural Hart with such heavily built up areas?  Would it not be more appropriate to group Hart with more rural districts to the west and south?
  • Background: The report uses as it starting point for the OAHN the official government projections for the number of households in the Housing Market Area (HMA) that includes Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath which states that the total number of new homes required per annum is 790. The report then states that the ONS usually understates these requirements so it makes an arbitrary adjustment upwards to 925 homes per annum.  However, the government website (https://www.gov.uk/household-projections-notes-and-definitions-for-data-analysts ) states that “The current methodology in England reflects work to improve the household projections outputs and methods to better meet user needs”.  Question: What is the justification for a small economics consultancy to challenge the official government figures when the government itself asserts that it has improved its methods and outputs, especially when the assumption leads to an additional 135 dwellings per annum being required across the whole HMA over a 20 year period, a total of 2,700 dwellings?
  • Background: The summary in section 3 notes that the level of household growth in Hart at 10% over the past 10 years has been higher than the regional and national averages. This growth in households can only have been accommodated by new building (e.g. Elvetham Heath in Fleet and St Mary’s Park in Hartley Wintney).  Question: Why is it that we need to base our future housing need on past rates of development that were above the regional and national average, this can only lead to the conclusion that over time, more building will lead to even more building which is absurd and cannot be “sustainable”?
  • Background: Section 7 of the report deals with migration into and out of the Surrey Heath, Rushmoor and Hart Housing Market Area (HMA). Figure 7.5 draws a correlation between migration and housing completions.  In essence, if you build more houses more people will come to the area.  This is perhaps an obvious point.  For Hart in particular, they use the years of 2005-2010 as the years that are most representative of the trend of migration (years in which significant building in Elvetham Heath and other places was taking place).  More recent trends in Figure 7.4 shows a slowdown of migration and indeed a net outward migration from Hart during 2009-2011 and a net outward migration from the whole of the HMA in 2011-12.  In essence they are saying in para 7.35 that we must assume levels of house-building during the credit boom (itself hardly sustainable) to support the population growth of that time in order to predict future population growth for which we will then need to build even more houses.  This is an absurd tautology which leads to a gross distortion of underlying need.  Question:  Why are we basing future need on the years with the highest inward migration that happened during an unsustainable credit boom, and not the most recent years with lower migration which will lead to a more economically and environmentally sustainable solution?
  • Background: Figure 7.7 shows that the trend in household size as measured by the census is slightly upward for the period from 2001 to 2011. However, all of the forward projections reverse this trend and predict a further fall in average household size without any justification.  Wessex have taken some mid-point of the CLG projections.  Question: Why can’t we base our projected household size on the most recent Census data rather than data that is 30 years old and thus reduce our OAHN?
  • Background: Para 7.63 assumes as its base level a higher rate of future job growth (700 p.a.) in the future than was achieved (650 p.a.) during the exceptional, unsustainable boom years of 1998-2008 when our rate of building was already above regional and national averages. Paras 7.68 and 7.69 then further exaggerate the future level of job growth by suggesting it could rise to 1,560 jobs per annum, more than double the Scenario 1 estimate which is based on employment growth that occurred during the largest, unsustainable credit boom in history.  The final jobs growth based estimate used is then a mid-point between the already over-estimated base assumption and the wildly exaggerated high end projection.  Question:  Why aren’t we using employment projections based on more sustainable economic and environmental assumptions which probably ought to be lower than those achieved between 1998-2008?
  • Background: Para 7.81 sets out six ways in which jobs can increase without increasing the need for additional housing. Para 7.83 says the modelling has taken account of only one of those factors.  This again has the impact of increasing the housing stock required in the OAHN.  Question: Why can’t we take account of all six ways in which jobs can increase without building more housing?
  • Background: Figure 8.9 suggests Hart needs to build around 260 affordable homes per annum if the backlog is to be cleared in five years as part of the overall 370 homes per annum required.  Question: Please explain how building a Barratts estate new town in Winchfield will address this affordable requirement?
  • Background: The demographics of the district are changing. According to the SHMA, by 2031, there will be an additional 10,000 people over 60 (including more than 6,850 over 75) expected to be living in the district and an extra 3,620 people who will be suffering from dementia or have some sort of mobility problem. Section 9 of the SHMA suggests that future housing stock should be built to broadly reflect the existing stock. Evidence from developers such as Churchill and McCarthy and Stone suggests (http://www.mccarthyandstone.co.uk/documents/research%20and%20policy/oorh%20full%20report%20may%202011.pdf  ) that remote estate locations are not good places to house the elderly and infirm.  Question: What evidence base is there to suggest that the needs of the future population will be met by past housing stock?  What evidence has the council collected to determine the best types of accommodation and the best places to build those types of housing to meet the needs of the elderly and infirm?
  • Background: Para 7.119 states the following “These market signals point to the need to identify and address the demographic and economic need for housing; they do not themselves provide a quantifiable need for housing (and indeed there is no recognised methodology for this)”. Question: If there is no recognised methodology for providing a quantifiable need for housing, why are we following an approach that is artificially inflating the housing need for the area that will inevitably lead to the destruction of the most attractive parts of the district?
  • Background: The Localism Act requires local authorities to maintain a list of assets of community value which have been nominated by the local community. Question: Where can the Hart register of assets of community value be found, and can I nominate the Winchfield area as an asset of community value?
  • Question: Can the council please commence activity to protect the Winchfield area as Green Belt on the following grounds:
    • To check the unrestricted sprawl of built-up areas.
    • To safeguard the surrounding countryside from further encroachment.
    • To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another.
    • To preserve the special character of historic towns.