NE Hants Greens find more potential brownfield sites in Hart

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hampshire

 

The Greens from North East Hampshire have been busy today taking pictures of a number of sites across the district. Like We Heart Hart, they think it is madness to be focusing the Hart Local Plan on building a new town on our beautiful green fields in Winchfield when there is so much under-utilised brownfield land.

However, some of the sites identified are quite probably not suitable as for example, Tweseldown and Hawley Lake are in or near the Thames Valley Basin SPA and the site near Basingstoke Canal is an SSSI.

If you would like to ask Hart District Council to think again, please sign our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

Nevertheless it is important we stretch every sinew to find brownfield sites and make the most of them.  Hart assume a meagre 30 dwelling per hectare on brownfield land, when studies have shown that it is possible to create thriving communities with densities nearly 10x that level.

Thank you to Andrew Johnston from the North East Hampshire Green Party for the images.  He has posted them on his Twitter feed.

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.

Hart set to fail on duty to cater for ageing population

We Heart Hart - Older People

Hart District Council’s preferred housing strategy is running the risk of failing to meet the needs of the ageing population and so might be found unsound at inspection.

If you would like to ask the council to think again, please sign our petition.

At the Hart District Council cabinet meeting on Thursday 5 March, an interesting question was raise by councillor Adrian Collett.  He asked if the council had enough powers to ensure that the Local Plan met the needs of the local people.

I did make a comment that not only does it have the power to do so, it also has a duty to meet the needs of many groups in society.  Para 50 of the NPPF 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)”

Over the course of the plan period up to 2032, there will be an extra 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.

Let’s work through some numbers.

First, how many more specialist dwellings might we need to house the extra older people we will have in the district?  Well, let’s say on average there’s 1.5 older people per dwelling because so many live on their own.  That would be 6,850/1.5 = 4,566 units.  Not all of them will want to leave their existing homes and some may go and live with family.  So, let’s say we need half that number of new dwellings.  That’s in round numbers 2,280 units.  This assumes that all of the extra people with a mobility problem are also aged over 75.

Now let’s look at supply.  Of the 7,500 houses we need to build up to 2032, around 3,500 have already been given planning permission, which leaves a balance of around 4,000.  Of the 3,500 some are specialist units for the elderly – I know of a Churchill and McCarthy and Stone development in Fleet which will total around 100 units.  This leaves around 2,180 units to find for the elderly.

If we were to build a new town and deliver around 2,000 units (this is much lower than the Barratts vision document) in the plan period, then this would leave around 2,000 units still left to grant planning permission for elsewhere.

As can be seen, if we build the new town, we will not meet the needs of the ageing population unless all of the remaining units are specialist units for the elderly and there is no sign of the council taking this seriously.

This runs the risk of the Hart Local Plan being found unsound. Surely it is time for Hart District Council to think again.

We Love Hart Campaign Update

We haven’t been posting too much for a couple of weeks, but there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes.

We are working up plans to enhance the campaign by mounting a face to face leafleting campaign in the major settlements of Fleet, Crondall, Church Crookham, Hartley Wintney, Hook, Odiham and North Warnborough, Yateley and Blackwater)  to raise awareness of how much housing we are being asked to deliver and the devastation a new town will bring.  We will need “boots on the ground” to help with this, so please do get in touch if you can help.  We are provisionally targeting the weekend of 28/29 March for this.

On top of that, we are raising money to do a leaflet drop across the district during April to add further weight to the campaign and to ask all residents to challenge those councillors who are up for re-election to oppose Option 4: New Settlement because it will result in massive urban sprawl and open Hart up to 3,100 extra houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  We will publish the names, wards, parties and contact details of all those contesting the election to make it easy for you to make your voice heard.

One supporter has also taken a look at the plans for building in Rushmoor.  He is horrified at how brownfield land is being wasted at the proposed Aldershot Barracks site.  We will be posting more about that in the next few days.

 

We Heart Hart Press Coverage

We are delighted to see that the We Heart Hart (We Love Hart) campaign has been covered in the Basingstoke Gazette, “It’s time for Hart to think again”, p20 and online at “We Heart Hart petition get 600 signatures“.

We Heart Hart in Basingstoke Gazette

Also covered in the Fleet News and Mail, “Number against building more homes in Hart swells”, p3, and online at “Petition attracts hundreds of signatures opposing more homes in Hart

We Love Hart in Fleet News and Mail

This shows support is growing across Hart District for a change of tack on the Local Plan

Councils Frightened to Reject Housing Plans

A new investigation by the BBC has found that councils in the east of England are “frightened” to reject plans for new housing.

It seems many councils are either reluctantly approving schemes they would otherwise reject because they know the inspector will go against them at appeal.  Appeals cost a lot of money, so councils are opting to give in rather than fight.

This mirrors the situation in Hart District where we are being lumbered with a housing target that is far too high, we don’t yet have a local plan so the council is having to push through ill-advised development because they suspect the inspector will find against them.

The only way to change this is by popular support, so please sign the We Heart Hart petition.

 

Hart has no Brownfield Strategy

We Heart Hart asked Hart District Council for an analysis of the brownfield sites that are available under FOI.  The results from this request are quite shocking and reveal a startling lack of focus on brownfield development.  Hart’s assertion was that there was space for only around 700 houses on brownfield sites.  According to their data, at first glance this appears to be true.  However, it appears as though a large number of the vacant brownfield sites identified by Bravehart on his tour do not even appear in the Hart District Council analysis. There must be space for thousands more dwellings on these sites such as the vacant office buildings at Ancells Farm and in Hook and Hartland Park (Pyestock).  Sun Park is on their map, but not in the analysis. Given undoubted difficulties facing all of us in Hart in building the >7,500 houses being forced upon us by the central Government mandated NPPF, it is shocking that Hart doesn’t seem to have a discernible brownfield strategy.

If you would like to join us to ask Hart to think again try harder to find brownfield development land and build on that in preference to concreting over our green spaces, please sign the We Love Hart petition.

Interestingly, the Government is planning to introduce legislation to penalise councils that under-perform on brownfield development. Under these plans, Councils would be required to publish data about available brownfield land on their websites in a standardised form, enabling individuals and groups to “assess and, if necessary, challenge the inclusion or exclusion of particular sites as brownfield land suitable for housing”.  Whilst of course, these rules have not come into force, it seems Hart does have a way to go to comply with the forthcoming rules.

Our analysis of the data supplied showed:

  • No systematic way if identifying brownfield sites: there is no tag on any of the data to separate brownfield sites from other sites.
  • Significant inconsistencies in their data such as sites being in their analysis spreadsheet that are not on the SHLAA map (e.g. Sites SHL319 and 321).
  • Sites recorded on the SHLAA map (e.g. SHL100) in one place (Sun Park) and recorded in their analysis as completely different places (Hartfordbridge).
  • Significant discrepancies between the detailed sheets and the summary of those detailed sheets.  For instance, Part 1, shows a total housing availability of between 612 and 701 houses, but on the summary sheet this shows as between 463 and 648.  Similar discrepancies exist throughout the spreadsheet.

It is time for Hart to focus more on identifying brownfield sites and applying pressure to get them made available. Surely, higher density development on these sites is far preferable to sacrificing our green spaces and putting at risk the very things that make Hart such a great place to live.

Images of brownfield sites in the district below:

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant office in Hook, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant office in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant office in Hook, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant office in Hook, Hampshire

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant block at Bartley Wood in Hook, Hampshire

Bartley Wood Estate in Hook

Vacant block at Bartley Wood in Hook, Hampshire

Bartley Wood Estate in Hook

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Office in Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

Development Land in Fleet / Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Development Land in Fleet / Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Block in Fleet / Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Block in Fleet / Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant, derelict brownfield site in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant, derelict block in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant offices in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant offices in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

Vacant block at Ancells Farm, Fleet

Vacant Sun Park block near J4A of M3, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Sun Park block near J4A of M3, Hart District, Hampshire

Hartland Park near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

Hartland Park near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

 

Vacant brownfield Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Office at Ancells Farm, Fleet

Brownfield site near Crondall, Hart District, Hampshire

Brownfield site near Crondall, Hart District, Hampshire

Brownfield site at Hartland Park, Pyestock, Hart District, Hampshire

Brownfield site at Hartland Park, Pyestock, Hart District, Hampshire

Development site near Tweseldown, near Fleet/ Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Development site near Tweseldown, near Fleet/ Church Crookham, Hart District, Hampshire

Brownfield site at Hartland Park, Pyestock

Brownfield site at Pyestock, near, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

How do we regenerate our high streets?

Bravehart has been on tour again, looking at Fleet High Street.  He couldn’t believe how many empty shops there were and how many vacant and derelict offices.

The nature of shopping is changing as more and more of us shop on-line and from our mobile phones.  The nature of our high streets needs to change to become centres for social activity and nightlife.  Surely it would be better to re-generate a lot of these brownfield sites and replace them with affordable apartments to bring more young and old people to the town centre without the need for more traffic, rather than building a new town that will concrete over our green fields.

The We Heart Hart campaign says we need a new vision for Hart District and some joined up thinking.

We Love Hart Campaign covered in Star Courier

We are delighted to see that the press in the form of the Star Courier has started to cover the We Heart Hart campaign, although they termed it We Love Hart, next to an article about Ranil Jayawardena listening to local concerns about the Hart Local Plan

Download available below:

We Love Hart in Star Courier

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