In a piece of good news on Thursday night, Hart District Council conceded that it would be possible to build at higher density than they previously planned on brownfield sites in the district. The detailed questions and answers can be found here.
Hart District Council uses a rule of thumb of 30 dwellings per hectare (dph) for most sites in its database. We Heart Hart put to them that it might be possible to plan for up to 250dph in urban areas and still create vibrant communities. Hart rejected such high densities, but did concede that densities of 80-160dph might be possible.
This is a very significant move. Currently Hart District Council have said the capacity of brownfield is around 700 dwellings, based on 30dph. However, if the capacity was scaled up to an average of say 120dph, the capacity increases to 2,800 dwellings. Moreover, there are a number of brownfield sites such as at Ancell’s Farm in Fleet and Bartley Wood in Hook that are not in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), and so there is even more capacity available.
This could take us within spitting distance of meeting the remaining 4,000 houses that have yet to be granted planning permission for the Local Plan, without concreting over our green fields. This would mean we would not need a new town in Winchfield nor do we need more strategic urban extensions in Fleet, Church Crookham or Hook. A further advantage would be that the centre of Fleet could be rejuvenated and could sustain more shops and amenities.
This is clearly good news, but it remains to be seen whether Hart District Council will take this opportunity seriously as there answer to the supplementary questions were not particularly encouraging.