Hart Local Plan and planning application update

Hart Local Plan and planning application update

There is a great deal of activity behind the scenes about the Hart Local Plan. The timetable for delivery is becoming clearer and there are updates on a number of planning applications that will shape the future of our district.

Hart Local Plan Timetable

We Heart Hart understands the upcoming timetable for the Hart Local Plan is as follows:

During w/c 28 November: The new Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) will be sent to councillors.

29 November 2016: Local Plan Steering Group (LPSG) Meeting, where we understand the timetable for the Hart Local Plan will be discussed and drafts of new Planning Policies will be considered.

December 13 2016: A further LPSG meeting will be held to review the draft spatial strategy. This will set out the number of houses we need to build and suggest where they will be built.

December 14 2016: We understand that the planning application for 423 houses at Grove Farm (aka Netherhouse Copse) near Crookham Village to the west of Fleet, will be considered at the Planning Committee. It is possible that some of the applications to redevelop the former Police College at Bramshill House will be considered.

January 26 2017: Draft Local Plan to go to full Council.

Upcoming Planning Applications

The long standing application for around 550 houses to the North East of Hook was finally signed off on 21 November.

The application for 423 houses at Grove Farm (aka Nether House Copse), near Crookham Village will be considered at the Planning Meeting on December 14. More details of this application can be found here and searching for application reference 16/01651/OUT.

It is possible that some of the applications for redevelopment of the former Police College at Bramshill House will be considered. There are a number of applications outstanding on this site that can be found here. The main applications appear to be 16/00726/FUL for 235 units and 16/00721/LBC for 25 units. At least this is a brownfield site, although controversial, being so close to the Thames Valley Heath SPA.

This week, Wates submitted an outline planning permission for 700 dwellings at Pale Lane (also known as Elvetham Chase). More details of this application can be found here and searching for application reference 16/03129/OUT

Conclusions

We don’t yet know how HDC are going to treat these applications, or if they have other ideas for strategic locations for additional housing. Of course, we await an application to redevelop the brownfield site at Pyestock (Hartland Village) and of course Winchfield has been mooted as a site for a new town, but we believe this has failed testing. Other strategic sites that were being considered include Murrell Green (between Hook and Hartley Wintney), Lodge Farm and West of Hook. Of course proposals are also being developed for the so called Rye Common New Village.

It is galling to say the least that we are seeing so many applications on greenfield sites instead of brownfield sites. It is imperative Hart produces the new Hart Local Plan and the new Planning Policies ASAP. This will allow us to regain control over where houses are built in the district.

 

Breaking News: Hart needs to build 1,500 fewer houses as timeline slips again

Breaking News: Hart needs to build 1,500 fewer houses for the Local Plan

Hart Council has published a press release that suggests Hart will have to build 1,500 fewer houses than was previously thought. This should bring the overall requirement that was stated in the last SHMA down from 7,534 to 6,034. If this is confirmed it is brilliant news and vindicates the independent expert findings and what the We Heart Hart campaign has been saying for months – indeed our target was around 6,100 dwellings.

[Update: The Hart press release may not be all that it appears to be]

However, in other news, the council has also stated that the draft Local Plan will not now be ready for consultation until the New Year. Until today, it was expected that the draft plan would be approved by a special Cabinet on 19 October and endorsed by a special meeting of the Council the following day. This latest delay is just the latest slippage in a long list of missed deadlines. However, the delay in the publication of the draft Local Plan puts the Council at odds with the Government who have threatened to step in and produce Local Plans for Councils who do not have them in place by ‘early 2017’.

Andrew Renshaw, chairman of Winchfield Parish Council, and Hart Councillor for Hartley Wintney ward is delighted at the reduction in overall housing requirement. But he is angry that the draft Local Plan and associated papers have not been made available as promised today. He has been led to believe that the plans for a new town at Winchfield have failed testing, largely due to the significant risk of groundwater flooding amongst other issues. He believes the dark cloud of planning blight that has been hanging over Winchfield residents for over two years should now be lifted by Hart Council without delay.

The consequences of the reduction in housing need are many, including:

  1. We can now build our remaining housing need (less than 1,000 up to 2032) on brownfield sites – all that is required is for a planning application to be made and granted for at least 1,500 dwellings at Hartland Village (Pyestock), which will more than cover our remaining requirement.
  2. Further efforts should be made to identify further brownfield sites in the brownfield register to build up a backlog of unbuilt sites ready for future decades.
  3. The Council should make clear that it will turn down the existing and forthcoming planning permissions at Netherhouse (Nether House) Copse (Grove Farm), Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase), Rye Common and Murrell Green on the grounds that they are not required to meet our housing need.
  4. The 5-year land supply calculation should be revised without delay, because the reduction in overall housing requirement means we have over-built for the past few years and need to build fewer houses into the future, so the number of years of land supply will increase dramatically.

The full press release can be downloaded below:

Hart needs to build 1,500 fewer houses

Hart Council loses Moulsham Lane, Yateley Appeal Decision

Proposed development at Moulsham Lane Yateley Hart District Hampshire GU46 7RA

It has been announced that Hart Council have lost the developer’s appeal about the proposed development at Moulsham Lane in Yateley.

The significant part of the decision is that the inspector has decided that Hart’s five year land supply is not sufficient grounds to turn down the application.  This is contrary to the decision made by the inspector in last year’s Owens Farm, Hook appeal.

The other worrying aspect of the appeal is that the inspector has ruled that the council’s RUR2 policy which seeks to limit development in the countryside has been ruled to be out of date and partially inconsistent with the NPPF so will not offer significant protection until the new Local Plan is in place. This puts at risk place like Winchfield, Hares Lane in Hartley Wintney, Hook and Pale Lane Farm.

This decision shows the damage that can be done by the council not having a Local Plan in place. They have missed all of their self imposed deadlines as documented here. A new draft Local Plan is due to be published next month, but as we have not yet even seen the new SHMA, which was originally promised for February, then May, this timeline needs to be called into question.

We can only hope that they do get a plan published and that it focuses on the plentiful brownfield sites that will more than meet our requirement for decades to come.

Hart’s Brownfield Register fails to meet expectations

 

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

Brownfield site: vacant offices at Ancells Farm Business Park, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire.

Hart District Council has at last published its register of brownfield sites in the district. Sadly, the register has failed to live up to expectations. The full register can be downloaded on the link below.

The purpose of the brownfield register is to provide house builders with up-to-date and publicly available information on all brownfield sites available for housing locally. The register is supposed to help housebuilders identify suitable sites quickly, speeding up the construction of new homes. Hart Council was one of the pilot local authorities participating in the national brownfield register scheme as announced back in March 2016.

At first glance, the register identifies 3,542 potential units on brownfield sites, which might be considered good news.  However, closer inspection of the register reveals:

  • All but two of the sites already have planning permission, indeed a number of them have already been built (e.g. Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Church Crookham, Landata House in Hook, and Monachus House in Hartley Wintney).
  • Some of the sites are not even brownfield sites, for example Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney.
  • None of the sites that Hart Council itself identified as brownfield sites in the recent consultation are recorded in the register.
  • None of the other potential sites that have not yet been permitted on Ancells Farm or along Fleet Road have made it on to the register.
  • Very few, if any, of the brownfield sites in the SHLAA that we identified in our brownfield solution, most particularly sites like the former police college at Bramshill have made it into the register.
  • Over 2,000 of the units in the register have already been granted planning permission, with 1,500 units at Hartland Village (aka Pyestock) and 16 at another site yet to be granted permission.

We have contacted the council to find out the reasons why this important opportunity has been botched. We have been told this is a temporary blip due to lack of SANG capacity.  We are far from convinced of this reason as the register itself has a column for constraints.  The purpose of the register should be to identify all of the sites and not miss some out because SANG capacity is not yet available.

We do hope that Hart Council gets to grips with this, because a robust brownfield register will be a significant piece of evidence, as part of the Local Plan, to help fend off the proposals to build at Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) and Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse). The register of brownfield sites  becomes a statutory obligation next year.

Hart Council Brownfield Register

Two wolves and a lamb vote on what to have for lunch

1st preferences for new town by location Hart Housing Options consultation Q4

Hart Council have published the results of the recent Refined Housing Options consultation.  The summary of the results can be found here, and a geographic analysis of the results of questions 4 and 5 can be found here.

There was strong first preference support for a new town at Winchfield, as can be seen in the table below:

 

Responses to Hart Housing Options Consultation Q4

However, there was strong second preference support for the dispersal and urban extension options. The geo-analysis of the responses to Approach 3 are shown in the image at the top of the page, where it is clear there was very strong support for a new town in Winchfield from Hook and Fleet. This is analogous to two wolves and a lamb getting together to vote on what to have for lunch, as there are clearly fewer people in Winchfield to vote against the new town proposal. However, there was clearly very strong opposition to the new town coming from Hartley Wintney.

Responses to Hart Housing Options Consultation Q5

There was a very mixed bag of opinion on how to combine the options.

As we have said before, these results are largely irrelevant now that the Pyestock (aka Hartland Village) brownfield site has come forward with capacity for around 1,500 homes. Hart Council have said that brownfield development will be the preferred strategy over any green field development. Not only that, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) will be revised soon and we hope the overall numbers will be revised downwards. Although we must be vigilant, because at least three developers are arguing that our housing target should be revised upwards by a very significant amount – more on that soon.

Hart Council are playing down the results, saying:

…the outcome of the Refined Housing Options Consultation should not be seen as determining which strategy the Council should follow to deliver its need to deliver new homes. The Options are still being tested against the evidence base which will include a refreshed SHMA, unmet need in neighbour districts, a sustainability appraisal, transport assessment, water cycle study, Habitats Regulation Assessment, and Adams Hendry site assessment report that will also help inform suitability of sites. It will be this information, when assessed as a whole, that will be used to assess which is the appropriate strategy to follow.

Greens set out their position on Winchfield, Pyestock and housing policy

Green Party Logo

The local Green Party have been in touch, setting out their position on the key planning issues impacting the Hart Local Plan and some ideas on broader housing policy.  In short, all of the candidates oppose Winchfield New Town and support redeveloping the brownfield site at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park). This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

We have updated our summary page, and table of candidates accordingly.  The detail of their response is reproduced below.

In brief I can confirm that the local [Green] party, and all its candidates in these elections are opposed to the Winchfield new town, but support the latest proposal for redevelopment of housing in Pyestock.
1. Winchfield – No. It is not required to meet Hart’s own housing targets and  by concreting over such swathes of green space, would be the destruction of Hart as we know it for generations to come. In addition, Winchfield simply does not have the infrastructure to support a New Town – it would put strain on GPs, schools, roads and quality of life – not just in Winchfield but also in Hook, Fleet, Hartley Wintney, etc.
2. Pyestock for housing – Yes. By developing brownfield sites such as Pyestock, Hart’s housing targets can be met through dispersal of home building, and lessen the burden on roads and facilities in a concentrated area. Additionally, such developments are eligible for central Government grants towards infrastructure and do not leave HDC at the mercy of council tax hikes and s106-shy developers.
Our more detailed response will include demands for any new housing to be zero- or negative-carbon and high density, and any new roads to incorporate cycle lanes. But more importantly, we don’t see this as being just about whether or not to build the Winchfield development and need to address the broader policy – how the housing need projections are worked out and allocated. If this area continues to be put under pressure to build new houses, taking in allocations from outside the area, other beautiful rural areas will be hit.
We need to emphasise the importance of rural, countryside for everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to live in villages/ rural areas. There are genuine benefits for non residents too – loads of research on mental health benefits, conservation, getting children engaged with nature, air quality etc.
And we  need to be offering alternatives, and to acknowledge the problems lots of people have in getting onto the property ladder. Is continuing to build in the over-developed South East really the answer? Should we be pushing for a more equal distribution of investment, for example, promoting business growth and sustainable development in northern England?
Consequently we are developing a vision starting with what the area should look like in 2030, and then how to get there.
We Heart Hart welcomes the stance of the Green Party on the local development issues in Hart and broadly accept many of their ideas on wider housing policy.

Prices of new homes out of reach of Hart residents

Bewley Homes 3-bed semi detached Hartley Row Park Hartley Wintney Hampshire

Bewley Homes has released the prices of the new houses it is building at Hartley Row Park, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, also known as Rifle Range Farm.

The lowest price for a 3-bed semi-detached home is set at £465,000. The lowest anticipated price of the 2-bed homes due to be released later in 2016 is £370,000.

This compares to the median incomes in Hart set out in Figure 4.8 of the SHMA, which is £40,200.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath Median Incomes Figure 4.8 of SHMA

This means that the cheapest 3-bed house is 11.5 times median income, and the cheapest 2-bed home will be 9.2 times median incomes.  The cheapest new properties will be totally out of reach of middle-income families in the district.

We have argued for some time that these types of new developments such as Hartley Row Park, Edenbrook (in Fleet), the proposed new town at Winchfield and the newly proposed urban extension at Pale Lane deliver the wrong type of housing to meet the needs of local people.

We need more smaller, more affordable properties and more specialist accommodation for the elderly. Development of brownfield sites for the remainder of our Local Plan period are much more likely to deliver more cheaper properties that will give our young people more chance of getting on the housing ladder.

Wates Developments seeks Environmental Assessment of Pale Lane site

SHL 52 SHLAA Site - Pale Lane, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District Hampshire

Wates Developments has submitted an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report on the Pale Lane site (known as SHLAA site SHL 52 and strategic site STR009) that straddles Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney parishes.

Wates have made a presentation to Elvetham Heath Parish Council, and plan to make further presentations to interested groups.  A copy of the slides used can be found on the download below.

The site lies to the west of the existing Elvetham Heath development, and is bounded to the north by the M3 motorway and to the south by the main railway line to London.

Wates Homes Pale Lane Development Proposal, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District, Hampshire.

As part of their submission, Wates have given an indicative layout of the final scheme (reproduced above), that will, if eventually approved, contain around 700 new houses, a local community centre, a new primary school and be called Elvetham Chase.

We don’t oppose an Environmental Assessment being carried out, but we would be very disappointed if this development went ahead because:

  1. Hart currently has a 6.7 year land supply, based on the existing inflated Strategic Housing Market Assessment
  2. The Housing Market Assessment is currently being reviewed, and the expectations are our housing allocation will be reduced
  3. Hart District Council is participating in a Government pilot scheme to create a register of brownfield sites,
  4. Hart has initiated a study to identify the brownfield capacity of the district and
  5. Our figures suggest there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites (including Pyestock aka Hartland Park) compared to only 2,500 further houses need to be permitted to meet our current housing target up to 2032.

So, we see no need to concrete over any more of our greenfields for decades to come.

We also note that Adams Hendry’s assessment determined that there were significant transport issues with the site and suggested that Pale Lane might have to be closed to vehicular traffic saying:

Primary vehicular site access would almost certainly be provided onto the A323, with a potential secondary access to the south on Pale Lane. However, the Pale Lane access is severely constrained by being a single track lane with a narrow single-track tunnel under the railway and single track bridge over the River Hart. If it were to provide an effective access point for development at the site, all of this infrastructure would need to be upgraded, not least to ensure effective and safe pedestrian and cycle access between the site and the Hitches Lane Country Park to the south of the railway. However widening the tunnel under the railway and the bridge over the river are likely to be very costly. Therefore, it would be sensible to test closing Pale Lane to all vehicular traffic as an alternative that would ensure safe pedestrian and cycle access could be achieved.

 

Wates presentation to Elvetham Heath PC about Pale Lane

link

 

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.

[/Update]

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.

 

 

Lib Dems come out against Winchfield New Town

Liberal Democrat Focus Hartley Wintney + Eversley Spring 2016

The local Liberal Democrats have published a newsletter for Hartley Wintney and Eversley (also covering Bramshill, Heckfield, Mattingley and Winchfield) strongly condemning the idea of a new town at Winchfield.  A full image of the newsletter can be found here. This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

They are silent on their position on the new brownfield site at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park).  It isn’t clear whether this is a unified position of all Lib Dems across the district, or just the position of those standing in Hartley Wintney ward. In particular, it isn’t clear whether this represents a reversal in the position of those Lib Dems who voted in favour of the new town in November 2014.

We have contacted the NE Hants Lib Dems to ask for a full position of the current candidates on both the new town and Pyestock, but have yet to receive a reply.  Nevertheless, we have updated our summary page to update the position of the Hartley Wintney candidate. We will update the other candidates once we hear from the NE Hants Lib Dems or if anyone sends us leaflets from other wards outlining the Lib Dem position.

[Update] The Lib Dems have issued a leaflet, supporting Pyestock [/Update]