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.


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

Which parishes have seen most development Hart District?

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

There has been much controversy about how much development there has been in Hart District over the past few years, so inspired by a post on the Winchfield Action Group site, we thought we’d take a closer look at the data.

We have compiled a list by parish and ward of the number of dwellings in each area in 2001 and 2011, according to the census and the results are shown in the table below:

ParishWard2001 Census (Dwellings)2011 Census (Dwellings)% Increase
Blackwater & Hawley177218675.4
Church Crookham330933280.6
Crookham Village156316304.3
FleetNorth (inc Elvetham Heath)13602947116.7
Fleet Total91601131623.5
Hartley Wintney212622224.5
Odiham & Long Sutton271228806.2
South Warnborough21326223

It should be noted that the data only runs up to 2011 and so misses out most or all of certain developments such as QEB in Church Crookham, Dilly Lane and Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney, Edenbrook and the planned new developments at Hawley Park Farm, new development to the North East of Hook and at Watery Lane.

It does show that the area with the largest increase is what was known as Fleet North, which has now been split after incorporating Elvetham Heath.

It is not really for us to point fingers at different areas of the district.  We will let readers make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions from the data.

If anyone finds an error in any of the data, then please do get in touch and we will make any corrections that are needed.


I was asked to provide updated data of the permissions and completions since 2011.  There is no easy way to get this data.  This is a copy of what I received:

The majority of the information (with details of location and parish) on housing completions and permissions for the next few years can be found in the following two published documents :

Appendix 2&3


It’s regrettable  that you only used figures from the superseded five year land supply (2001-2011) calculation in the Interim Housing Delivery Strategy which was superseded by the Five Year Land Supply Position Statement:
Five Year Housing Land Supply Position Statement, 1st October 2015
2014-15, and the Completions list from Hampshire County Council (1st April 2015) both of which were linked on the  council website “Current planning policy and guidance” referring to the local plan consultation, and also discussed at a council meeting.

I’m glad got said you’d incorporate the latest numbers, and look forward to seeing this. I believe you’ll find disproportionate housing allocation to the North and East of the region whilst minimal development in the centre, West or south.

I can confirm that I used neither of the Housing Land Supply documents to produce the table above.  As the original post says, the source for the above is the census.

The link to the pdf just gives a long list of sites in a form that it is impossible to analyse in any meaningful way, least of all by parish.  The spreadsheet contains a list of starts, completions and losses for 2014-2015, a summary of which by Parish is shown below.

Dwellings started completed and lost in Hart District 2014-15


Please help Hart fend off an extra 1,600 houses from Rushmoor

Is this what we want Hart to turn into?

Is this what we want Hart to turn into?

Rushmoor Borough Council has published a draft Local Plan where it proposes to build only 8,200 of its assessed need of 9,822 houses over the plan period.  It is clear that Rushmoor is seeking to offload the remaining 1,622 houses on to Hart District.

We need to oppose this move and We Heart Heart have produced some materials to help you do this easily.  Our voice will have greater weight if we can get more Hart residents to comment on Rushmoor’s plan than Rushmoor residents. Please follow the simple process below:

  1. Download the Local Plan response form from the link below.
  2. On page 3, fill in your name and contact details and type your name and date in the boxes at the bottom of the page.
  3. Review the comments made and feel free to add, amend or delete as you see fit.
  4. Save the document, attach it to an email and send to
  5. Share a link to this page to all your friends and family as well as any sports clubs or community groups you belong to via word of mouth, email, Facebook and Twitter and ask them to put in a response and share this page again.
  6. If you have not already done so, please sign and share our petition too.
Rushmoor Local Plan Response Form

A summary of the arguments we are putting forwards is outlined below.

Slippery slope to taking more housing than the other districts

The proposal to take an additional 1,622 houses from Rushmoor puts us on the slippery slope to accepting a further 1,400 houses from Surrey Heath such that Hart District ends up having to build the most houses in the Housing Market Area.


 Hart DistrictSurrey Heath BoroughRushmoor BoroughTotal Housing Market Area
Original SHMA7,5347,0579,82224,413
Proposed Transfers3,022(1,400)(1,622)0
New Total10,5565,6578,20024,413


This will impact all of our districts including Blackwater and Hawley; Bramshill;  Church Crookham; Crondall; Crookham Village; Dogmersfield; Elvetham Heath; Eversley; Ewshot; Fleet; Greywell; Hartley Wintney; Heckfield; Hook; Mattingley; North Warnborough; Odiham; Rotherwick; South Warnborough; Winchfield; and Yateley adding additional pressure to an already difficult situation and make it more likely we have to accept both a new town and urban extensions on our beautiful green fields and countryside.

Hart and the rest of Housing Market Area are being asked to build too many houses

The whole Housing Market Area (HMA) should reduce the assessed need by 7,800 units which would reduce the pressure on Hart directly and remove the need for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to ask us to build >3,000 houses for them. This is discussed in more detail here.

Rushmoor isn’t making best use of its brownfield sites

This is discussed in more detail here and here. As can be seen, if Rushmoor gets more creative with Wellesley and plans to build on the sites it has already identified, there is potential capacity for over 30,000 dwellings, more than three times its (overblown) assessed need.   It surely cannot be too much to expect them to find the 1,600 houses they say they can’t build out of this wealth of opportunity.  Rushmoor Borough Council should re-visit its planned densities and seek to meet all of its assessed need within in its own boundaries.  It could then make some sites available for neighbouring rural districts in line with a recent survey of Hampshire residents seeking to protect rural areas.  Neighbouring districts could be approached to provide SANG capacity if required.  Rushmoor should also take a closer look at all the vacant sites in the district and seek to convert them to residential use.

Rushmoor’s Employment Land Review is overblown and seeks to protect more employment land than is necessary.

This is discussed here.  It is also clear that past forecasts got it wrong as evidenced by the large number of vacant office blocks and empty shops across Hart District.  If the ELR was reduced to more sensible levels they could free up more land for housing.

Indeed, even if you accept the overblown employment forecasts, there will be a surplus of nearly 600K sq m of employment space at the end of the plan period, covering around 195 Ha.  Yet Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 Ha of land whilst asking Hart to build 1,600 houses on green fields.

Rushmoor’s infrastructure plans are not credible

We posted here that Hampshire as a whole has a £1.9bn infrastructure funding deficit, with Rushmoor’s share of that being £80m.  Rushmoor makes no mention of this deficit in its draft Local Plan.  Hart’s own numbers show an infrastructure deficit of £78m.  All of these numbers are probably an under-statement given they were all produced before the scale of development now proposed was known.  This is in contravention of NPPF para 177 that says there must be a “reasonable prospect” of delivering the required infrastructure alongside housing:

“It is equally important to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect that planned infrastructure is deliverable in a timely fashion. To facilitate this, it is important that local planning authorities understand district-wide development costs at the time Local Plans are drawn up. For this reason, infrastructure and development policies should be planned at the same time, in the Local Plan”

Finally, they don’t even attempt to quantify the extra infrastructure Hart would need to build the extra 1,600 houses nor do they make any offer to fund any of that extra cost.

Rushmoor not planning to meet the needs of the ageing population

Figure 10.15 of the SHMA sets out the need for specialist housing and registered care places for the HMA and Rushmoor.  This states Rushmoor must build 710 sheltered and extra care units as well as provide an extra 600 registered care places. Their draft Local Plan makes no mention of the extra registered care places and sets no target for the sheltered and extra care units.  This is in contravention of NPPF para 50 which states:

“local planning authorities should…plan for a mix of housing based on current and future demographic trends, market trends and the needs of different groups in the community (such as, but not limited to, families with children, older people, people with disabilities, service families and people wishing to build their own homes)”

Therefore the Rushmoor draft Local Plan runs the risk of being found unsound and should be revised.


In conclusion, the Rushmoor draft Local Plan contains many serious flaws and needs to be revised.



Launch of We ♥ Hart Petition

The We Heart Hart Campaign (aka We Love Hart and We ♥ Hart) have now started a campaign on 38 degrees to petition Hart Council to change its approach to the Hart Local Plan. This petition can be found here:

Please support this petition by signing it and sharing it with all your friends via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

We need to protect all of our parishes including: Blackwater and Hawley; Bramshill;  Church Crookham; Crondall; Crookham Village; Dogmersfield; Elvetham Heath; Eversley; Ewshot; Fleet; Greywell; Hartley Wintney; Heckfield; Hook; Mattingley; North Warnborough; Odiham; Rotherwick; South Warnborough; Winchfield; and Yateley from this invidious plan.

We Heart Hart Campaign Logo

We Heart Hart Campaign Logo

Hart District

Hart is a beautiful district made up of a mixture of large urban settlements such as Fleet and smaller village type settlements such as Odiham. The space around these settlements is largely made up of green fields and woodland which give Hart its essential rural feel.

In December 2014, for the fourth year running, Hart was named the best place to live in the country in a survey by the Halifax. Each settlement has a distinctive community feel; the quality of the schools is excellent and the 84 square miles of green fields and wooded landscape are a perfect example of England’s green and pleasant land that is excellent for wildlife, cycling and walking.

This essential nature of Hart is now being put under pressure by the National Planning Policy Framework and Hart Council’s response to it. In the years up to 2031, Hart has to build another 7,500 homes. Hart Council is proposing to meet the bulk of this need by building a new settlement in the heart of Hart at Winchfield destroying over 700 acres of green fields and woodland in the process.

We are mounting a campaign against these proposals because we believe the Strategic Housing Market Assessment that gave rise to the need for 7,534 extra houses (not to mention the extra 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor) is flawed and Hart’s response to this is inappropriate.

This is putting all of the parishes of Hart District at risk including:

Blackwater and Hawley; Bramshill;  Church Crookham; Crondall; Crookham Village; Dogmersfield; Elvetham Heath; Eversley; Ewshot; Fleet; Greywell; Hartley Wintney; Heckfield; Hook; Mattingley; North Warnborough; Odiham; Rotherwick; South Warnborough; Winchfield; and Yateley.