We Heart Hart to present to Odiham Parish Council

Odiham High Street, Hart District Hampshire

Odiham High Street, Hampshire

We Heart Hart has been asked to present to Odiham Parish Council about the Rushmoor and Hart Local Plans on Monday 7 September at 7:30pm at The Bury, Odiham. RG29 1NB. The presentation we will give is available for download below:

We Heart Hart presentation to Odiham Parish Council

link

How Hart Council should respond to the We Heart Hart petition

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

Vacant Office at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

As we posted earlier, we have submitted the We  Hart petition to Hart District Council and the council have set out the process by which they will consider the petition.

We have drafted some suggestions as to how the council should respond  and sent them to Council leader, Stephen Parker and they are shown below.  We have a chance to put these ideas to Cabinet on 1 October at 7pm.  Please tell us if you are coming along to give us your support.

Please e-mail your councillors to ask them to support these proposals.

 

Dear Stephen,

Thank you very much for your email.

As you know the petition is from 2,130 signatories, nearly four times the number that responded to Hart Council’s consultation last year and more than ten times the number of people who expressed a first preference for a new town and is therefore a very significant expression of local opinion.

I welcome your approach to treat the petition seriously.  My understanding is that a petition of over 1,000 signatories would trigger an automatic debate at full council.  However, I do believe a debate at Cabinet is more likely to be more productive, so I support the approach you suggest.

As you might expect, I have my own suggestions as to what the appropriate responses to the petition should be and I set them out below for your consideration, interwoven with the petition objectives:

  1. To reduce the overall housing allocation for Hart District

 I think there are two broad approaches to this.  First, challenge the SHMA to reduce the overall housing allocation for the whole HMA.  If this is successful, then it will have a two-fold effect of reducing Hart’s own need and also reducing the risk of overflow from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  I believe the key arguments are around inward migration assumptions; average household size and in particular jobs growth assumptions which are at a rate nearly double what was achieved over the economic cycle from 1998-2012 and will result in unprecedented levels of participation in the labour market (rising from around 70% to around 86%) for those of employment age.  I gave more detail on these arguments at both the Hop Garden Road appeal and in my response to the Rushmoor Local Plan.  More detail can be found here. However, I do recognise it is difficult for the council to challenge its own document and I await Rushmoor’s response to my strong challenge, but I do understand that the SHMA may be re-visited and it would be helpful if the council would commit to challenging the assumptions set out above as part of that process.

Second, in conversation with a number of professionals in the planning sector, I have been told a number of times, that it is uncommon for councils to explore fully their “policy on” options with regard to environmental and other constraints.  One of the main attractions of Hart as a district is its rural environment with associated SPA, SSSI’s, SINCs, green space and wildlife.  May I suggest that a proper environmental study is carried out to set out the value of Hart’s environment and ecology to build an argument for not meeting the full requirement of the SHMA?  I know that WAG is working on some proposals in this area with some of the rural parishes and would be keen to discuss the matter with you and offer to share the costs of preparation. 

  1. Demand that the Council develops a vision and strategy for Hart that retains its role as a rural, green hinterland for NE Hampshire that respects the separate character and identity of Hart’s settlements and landscapes and preserves the green spaces as amenity space for the urban settlements.

You may recognise the words above as taken from the withdrawn 2013 Core Strategy.  This was, and remains a good vision.  I would ask that as a minimum, the forthcoming Regulation 18 consultation sets out at least one potential “vision” for the district, and that one of the “vision” options includes words to this effect.

  1. To require that the housing need is met by building on brownfield sites and increasing density in our existing urban areas

Last November, the council’s estimate of brownfield capacity over the entire plan period was around 750 units (taken from parts 1 and 3 of the SHLAA as per the FOI request I made) out of the then remaining 4,000 units to build (or grant permission for) up to 2032.  Since then considerable progress has been made in identifying and in some cases granting permission on additional brownfield sites:

LocationNumber of Dwellings
Guillemont Park Phase 1 (not included as brownfield site in SHLAA) 150
Guillemont Park Phase 2320
Ancells Farm, Fleet370
Bartley Wood, Hook200
Fleet Road, Fleet220
Bramshill House350
Fleet Police Station50
Extra dwellings at Landata House28
Total1,688

All of the dwellings above were not included as brownfield sites in the SHLAA.  Guillemont Park (Sun Park) was in the SHLAA but for a lower number of units, and in Part 2, which was not considered to include brownfield locations.  Since last November revised permission has been granted at Landata House for 28 more dwellings than were included in the 5 year land supply calculation.

If the original 750 units were to be added to the 1,688 units identified above, then that amounts to a total of 2,438 potential units on brownfield.  If it were possible to increase the density (from 30dph to a still reasonable 80dph in urban areas) on the original 750 units, the total identified capacity would rise to some 3,688 units.

The remaining requirement of 4,000 has of course been reduced by the unfortunate decisions to allow development at Watery Lane (300 units) and Hawley Park Farm (126 units) leaving the remaining allocation at 3,574.

It is clear that with some creativity and energy, the gap between the remaining allocation of 3,574 and the currently identified brownfield capacity can be closed by working on a combination of reducing the overall allocation by reducing the SHMA or applying environmental “policy on” considerations, increasing density and finding more brownfield sites.

In the light of this, I welcome the paper that is to be put before Cabinet next week, signalling the more positive approach that the council proposes towards building housing on previously developed land.

I would ask though, that you consider some further steps:

  • Creating a new, formal “reasonable suitable alternative” option of meeting the remaining housing allocation solely through brownfield development.  This option should appear in the consultation paper.
  • Creating a complete database of all of the potential brownfield sites in the district, including those not in the October 2014 SHLAA and those not yet formally promoted to the council, including sites such as Bramshill House, Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), Sun Park, Ancells Farm, Bartley Wood, Fleet High St, Fleet Police Station and all of the run down town centres (e.g. Fleet, Yateley, Blackwater and Hook).
  • Inviting leading architects to compete to produce some visionary outline schemes of what a “brownfield solution” might look like for the district, taking into account changing demographics, changing shopping habits driven by the internet and achievable housing densities.
  • Organising a conference with the architects, land owners, developers and local community representatives with the objective of identifying the art of the possible for brownfield development amongst the competing solutions from the architects.
  • This could be done in conjunction with the neighbouring authorities of Surrey Heath and Rushmoor, particularly given the massive amount of current and forecast vacant employment land and Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 Ha.
  1. To request that future housing stock reflects the needs of the changing demographics of the district.

I set out in a question to council earlier this year that Hart will need to deliver around 2,500 housing units to meet the needs of the ageing population.  I contend that a new town will simply build the wrong type of accommodation in the wrong place to meet those needs.  It would be far better if these were built on brownfield sites in more urban areas, close to amenities such as doctors, post offices, shops and so on.  When the elderly move into these types of development, their well-being improves and of course, they free up conventional housing stock for families.  Could I therefore ask that the forthcoming consultation paper contains specific proposals on how the needs of the ageing population will be met?

  1. To demand the council and government do not plan for any new settlement in Hart that will act as a sink for the unmet housing need in neighbouring areas.

Addressing points 1, 2, 3 & 4 will render a new town unnecessary particularly when you consider the:

I do hope you find these suggestions helpful.  I would be grateful if you could circulate them to planning officers and Cabinet members for their consideration.

Brownfield Capacity increases in Hook and Fleet update

Vacant, derelict brownfield site in Hook, Hampshire

Landata House in Hook, Hampshire

There have been some recent developments that have increased the brownfield capacity to 2,438 units.  This includes 1,688 units on sites identified since last November, plus the original 750 dwellings identified by Hart Council that they said was the capacity over the entire 20 year plan period.

The additions since last time are Fleet Police station, due to be vacated by the end of the year which could deliver around 50 apartments and Landata House, Hook where a new planning application has been made to increase the capacity of the site from 50 to 78 units, adding a net 28 units.  This brings the total of units identified since November 2014 to 1,688.

These sites are over and above the original 750 dwellings identified by Hart Council in their SHLAA.

LocationNumber of Dwellings
Guillemont Park Phase 1 (not included as brownfield site in SHLAA) 150
Guillemont Park Phase 2320
Ancells Farm, Fleet370
Bartley Wood, Hook200
Fleet Road, Fleet220
Bramshill House350
Fleet Police Station50
Extra dwellings at Landata House28
Total1,688
Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.2,350Raised 3,993 towards the 2,350 target.3,993Raised 3,993 towards the 2,350 target.170%

With greater political will and some creativity, the overall target must now be within spitting distance, especially if higher densities are used on the sites originally identified by Hart Council.

 

Hart Council Responds to Rushmoor’s Local Plan

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Hart Council has responded to Rushmoor’s Draft Local Plan.  In summary their points are:

  • Rushmoor should look again at the SHLAA to seek out new sites and increase densities
  • Rushmoor should reconsider the scope for using surplus employment sites for housing and also releasing some surplus retail space.
  • Rushmoor should alter its housing target to better reflect its delivery trajectory so that it clarifies that the alleged unmet need comes after 2024, and then commit to a review of the plan to investigate the potential housing shortfall nearer the time.

Hart also suggests that much more dialogue is required between the councils and with the service providers to resolve infrastructure issues.

We Heart Hart broadly welcomes this feedback from Hart Council but believes they could have gone further by asking that the densities on Wellesley be reviewed and even more of the protected 96 Ha of employment land could be released for housing.  Even so, if Rushmoor takes on board Hart’s observations, then Rushmoor will not need to ask Hart to build 1,600 houses for them. This would probably mean a new town at Winchfield is not required.

 

Rushmoor seeking to protect 96 hectares of brownfield sites but asking Hart to concrete over green fields

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Empty Offices at Farnborough Aerospace Business Park, Rushmoor Borough, Hampshire.

Rushmoor have released more details about their Land Assessment (SHLAA) that reveal they are seeking to protect over 96 hectares of brownfield sites for employment use even though there is a massive glut of employment space across Hart, Rushmoor, Surrey Heath and surrounding districts.

Rushmoor Protected Employment Sites

Rushmoor Protected Employment Sites

If even half of this was used for housing at 100 dwelling per hectare, it would yield 4,800 houses for people in Rushmoor and would mean that Rushmoor could meet its own housing need and even take some of Hart and Surrey Heath’s allocation.

If you would like to ask Rushmoor to revise their Local Plan and make better use of the brownfield sites they have, then 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 plan@rushmoor.gov.uk
  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

 

Rushmoor has potential capacity for over 30,000 homes

Rushmoor Borough Council SHLAA Analysis

Rushmoor Borough Council SHLAA Analysis

In an earlier post, we highlighted how Rushmoor is not making the best use of the land set aside for the Wellesley (aka Aldershot Urban Extension) development.  Modern planning techniques could increase the yield of that site to over 21,500 dwellings.

We Heart Hart has now been given access to Rushmoor’s full SHLAA.  This shows that outside Wellesley, Rushmoor have identified 60.51Ha with a planned density of 51dph yielding 3,083 units. In addition, 128.74Ha are shown where they are not currently planning to build any houses (zero yield sites).  If these sites were planned to deliver at the same 51dph, they would yield an additional 6,560 units.  Without changing Wellesley, this would bring the available total capacity up to 13,493 units (or density could be increased on the 60.51Ha), far in excess of the assessed need of 9,822.

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 and what to foist on to Hart District.  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.

This analysis will form part of our response to Rushmoor’s draft Local Plan.

 

Rushmoor can meet all of its housing needs (and more) from Wellesley alone

Wellesley - Aldershot Urban Extension - Planning Densities

Wellesley – Aldershot Urban Extension – Planning Densities

The centrepiece of Rushmoor’s development strategy in the draft Local Plan is the Wellesley development (formerly known as the Aldershot Urban Extension).

This is a 143 hectare development where they are planning to build 3,850 new houses.  This amounts to a pitiful density of only 26.9 dwellings per hectare (dph) across the whole area, even lower than Hart’s planning assumption of 30dph.  Across the plots digitised by Gareth Price, the density rises to 35.5dph whcih is still very low for an urban area.

If Rushmoor were to alter the plans for Wellesley to an easily achievable 68.7dph, they could meet the entire assessed housing need  of 9,822 up to 2032 without even touching the other sites in their SHLAA leaving additional capacity for future years or for neighbouring districts.

Modern planning techniques as outlined by Gareth Price, suggests that thriving, sustainable communities can be created in urban areas with planning densities in the range of 150-250dph.  Moving to around 152dph would give them capacity at Wellesley for over 21,500 units, giving sufficient capacity for Rushmoor for decades to come.

This analysis will form part of our response to Rushmoor’s draft Local Plan.

 

Brownfield Capacity in Fleet and Hook Keeps on Rising

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Back in November Hart Council insisted (p15) that the brownfield capacity for the district over the next 20 years was around 700-750 dwellings.  However, a number of recent developments show that this is assumption is incorrect and the available capacity is much larger and we could meet all of our remaining housing allocation through brownfield development alone.

 

LocationNumber of Dwellings
Guillemont Park Phase 1 (not included as brownfield site in SHLAA) 150
Guillemont Park Phase 2320
Ancells Farm, Fleet370
Bartley Wood, Hook200
Fleet Road, Fleet220
Bramshill House350
Fleet Police Station50
Extra dwellings at Landata House28
Total1,688

 

First, planning permission has recently been granted for 150 dwellings at Guillemont Park (former Sun Park site), an increase of 48 over the SHLAA estimate, near the J4a of the M3.  In addition, a developer has submitted a preliminary application for a further 320 houses on the same site, bringing the total up to 470 dwellings on just one site.

In addition, Stonegate Homes Limited have produced a report on on the potential capacity for converting offices to residential under permitted development rights in Fleet and Hook.  They have come to the conclusion that there’s an extra 790 units that could be delivered quite easily, with further additional capacity available at Ancells Farm.

Furthermore, discussions are underway to deliver about 350 new homes at the former Police College site at Bramshill House.

This brings a total of 1,610 of new brownfield capacity identified since November 2014, more than double Hart’s assessment of the capacity for the 20-year planning period. Notably, none of the 1,610 units above are on sites designated as brownfield in the SHLAA of October 2014, so all of these units are incremental to their original 750 estimate, bringing the current total up to 2,360.  We have started a tracker to monitor future progress.

Update: Fleet police station has now become available creating a new brownfield site for perhaps 50 apartments and Landata House has a planning application in place to increase the units by 28, bringing the total up to 2,438 units.

We have already shown that Hart has also under-estimated the available capacity on the sites it has identified because it has used a very conservative density assumption of only 30 dwellings per hectare (dph), whilst separately admitting it could go to 80-160dph in urban areas.  This would push its own estimate of 700-750 to 2,800-3,000 units meaning the total residual requirement of 4,000 units is within grasp.

Taken together, the sites in the table above and the potential increase in capacity from the sites Hart originally counted, then the full remaining housing allocation could be met in full on brownfield sites.

There is still no sign that Hart is taking brownfield development seriously enough, so if you would like to join our campaign to change the approach and adopt our 5-point plan, then please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

Hart District Council under-estimates brownfield capacity again

Vacant Sun Park (Guillemont Park) block near J4A of M3, Cove, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Sun Park (Guillemont Park) block near J4A of M3, Cove, Hart District, Hampshire

A preliminary application has been made to build 350 dwellings at the old Sun Park (Guillemont Park) site, near J4A of the M3, Fleet, in addition to the earlier application for a further 120 homes on another part of the site.  Provided concerns over road access can be overcome, this looks like a valuable addition to our brownfield capacity.

On the face of it, this is good news but further illustrates how misleading Hart District Council’s figures about brownfield capacity were when the council voted for plans to test a new town at Winchfield back in November 2014. Back then, they estimated overall brownfield capacity at only 700 units.

However, even though this site (SHL152) was in their assessment of Land Availability (SHLAA), it underestimated capacity (300 dwellings compared to the total now at 470), and wasn’t counted as a brownfield site as it was included in their “Adjacent to settlement boundaries” section.

If Hart Council are serious about a “brownfield first” strategy, surely they must now create a proper register of potential sites and properly assess the capacity and feasibility of delivering our residual requirement on brownfield only sites.

If you are worried about Hart’s hopeless position on the Local Plan and like our 5-point plan to bring it back on track and add to the pressure to Hart to adopt a brownfield strategy and drop all ideas of a new town, the please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

 

Hart Council rules out register of brownfield sites

Vacant, derelict brownfield site in Hook, Hampshire

Vacant, derelict block in Hook, Hampshire

In a worrying development at the Hart Council meeting on Thursday 30th April, the leader of the council, Stephen Parker, ruled out creating a register of brownfield sites in the district, whilst at the same time insisting that the council supported a “brownfield first” strategy.

He said that the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) had identified only 750 dwellings as being “deliverable” within the time-scale of the Local Plan.

The council insisted that all sites in the Local Plan must be “deliverable”.  However, this is misleading as the term “deliverable” has a special meaning in planning terms and only applies to the first five years of the plan when it is submitted.  Beyond five years sites only have to be “developable”.

We have previously posted that there are loads of mistakes in the SHLAA that have the effect of reducing the apparent brownfield capacity and the density assumptions that Hart uses are far below what they themselves say would be achievable in urban areas.

If Hart were to include “developable” sites such as the vacant and derelict offices, Bramshill House, Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) and Sun Park as potential sites and increase the density assumptions then it is entirely possible that the whole of our remaining housing requirement could be met by brownfield development.

Surely any credible “brownfield first” strategy should include as its starting point a register of all the redundant brownfield sites in the district.

If you would like to join the campaign to get Hart to think again, then please sign and share our petition:

 

Go to Petition

 

NPPF Definition of Deliverable:

“to be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable”

NPPF Definition of Developable:

“to be considered developable, sites should be in a suitable location for housing development and there should be a reasonable prospect that the site is available and could be viably developed at the point envisaged”