We Heart Hart asked a number of questions at Hart Council’s 29 September meeting. We will come to those in a moment, but the most significant news came from the Leader’s announcement that he had received a letter from Rushmoor Borough Council stating that they would no longer be asking Hart to build extra houses for them.
This is good news in that it either shows that the overall housing numbers for the combined area has been reduced or Rushmoor have found extra capacity, or a combination of the two.
The significance for Hart is that there was a threat that Rushmoor may ask us to build an extra 1,800 houses, on top of our already large allocation of 7,534 houses. We now know that our remaining requirement will not exceed the current number of around 2,350, and this number may in fact go down if the overall housing target in the new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) reduces as we believe it should.
The other significant news from the meeting was that the council believes it will have a SANG capacity of 1,500 homes, over and above the SANG required to deliver Hartland Village (Pyestock). This means that there is now sufficient SANG capacity to bring forward more brownfield sites (of which there are plenty), so we shouldn’t need to grant permission to build on any more of our green fields before 2032 at least.
We also learned that Hart Council has no plans to introduce policy measures to restrict the redevelopment of brownfield sites in the district.
However, we share the council’s concern that if the brownfield sites are delivered as office conversions (as opposed to redevelopments), then there may be a shortage of infrastructure funding.
We await the publication of the revised SHMA, the new policies and the draft Local Plan with interest.