Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose Winchfield new town

Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose WInchfield new town

Hartley Wintney residents turn out to oppose Winchfield new town

About 150 concerned Hartley Wintney residents came out to hear about Hart Council’s Local Plan consultation this morning at Victoria Hall.  It was very pleasing to see such a large number of people opposing the plans for a new town at Winchfield.

We Heart Hart is very grateful to Hartley Wintney Parish Council for organising the event, and for letting us speak. We had many messages of support and encouragement, before. during and after the meeting.  We only ask that these messages of support are converted into actual votes in the consultation.

We reiterated our main points that:

Hart is being asked to build too many houses. Hart councillors should be thorough in their analysis of the revised Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), and be robust in challenging the housing numbers and in asking Rushmoor and Surrey Heath to meet their own needs.

Second, there is a brownfield solution to our housing needs, even if we accept the current housing numbers.  We showed how a combination of the brownfield SHLAA sites and the disused offices identified by Stonegate, can be used to meet our remaining housing need in full.

Third, there is a lot of misinformation being spread about the supposed infrastructure benefits of a new town.  We currently have a £78m infrastructure funding deficit which a new town will do nothing to address, and of course, Hart Council have not been able to explain how they will fund the £300m costs of a new town.

Finally, a new town won’t meet the needs of the elderly and won’t deliver starter homes for the young.

Councillor Steve Forster did turn up to speak as well, but was politely asked to sit down again after alienating most of the people in the room.  Some interesting insight and support for We Heart Hart ideas was also given by COunty Councillor David Simpson and district councillor Andrew Renshaw.  Tristram Cary of Winchfield Action Group also spoke, setting out four key reasons to oppose the new town, in line with our thinking.

If you would like to join these Hartley Wintney residents in objecting to the new town idea, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

 

Floods in Winchfield, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Crookham Village cast doubt on new town plan

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Bravehart donned his waders and took to his canoe yesterday to take pictures of the widespread floods across the country roads in Winchfield and the roads in and out of the proposed new town in Hartley Wintney, Hook and Crookham Village.

As you can see from the carousel below the floods were severe and widespread, and that is without all the surrounding green fields being concreted over.  Imagine what it would be like if the capacity of the soil to absorb water was reduced by building 5,000 houses.

Bravehart found floods in the following areas:

Winchfield, Hook, Crookham Village Floods 3 January 2016

Winchfield, Hook, Crookham Village Floods 3 January 2016

  • Church Lane, Hartley Wintney near St Mary’s Church
  • Taplins Farm Lane, near the farm and near the bridge over the M3
  • Taplins Farm Lane, just below the Internet car showroom, along the road through the railway tunnel up to near Hurst Farm
  • The Hurst and Pale Lane in Winchfield
  • Extensive flooding along Station Road from the Hurst to Bagwell Lane and again through the railway tunnel
  • The bottom of Bagwell Lane, Winchfield and at many places along the lane towards Odiham Common
  • Totters Lane under the M3, near the bridge over the railway and near the A30 in Hook parish
  • On the A30 between Murrell Green and Phoenix Green
  • On the B3016 Odiham Road near the junction with the A30 and under the M3
  • On Pilcot Road near the junction with Hitches Lane in Crookham Village

Yesterday’s events demonstrate the evidence in the site assessment that the area is very susceptible to groundwater flooding.

Winchfield Flood Risk

Winchfield Flood Risk

We find it difficult to believe that anyone can conclude that these sites and these roads are a suitable location for a new town of 5,000 houses.

[Update]

This story covered in Get Hampshire January 4 2016: Floods will worsen if green fields are concreted over for new Winchfield town, campaigners warn

And covered in Fleet News and Mail January 6 2016: Flooding proves new town idea will not float says campaigner

[/Update]

If you would like to make your voice heard and object to the new town idea, we urge you to respond to the Hart District Council consultation about the Local Plan and ask them to think again. We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided. It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes
Flood Church Lane Hartley Wintney 3 January 2016

Flood Church Lane Hartley Wintney 3 January 2016

 

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Potbridge Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

Flood Potbridge Road Winchfield 3 January 2016

 

Flood Totters Lane Hook 3 January 2016.

Flood Totters Lane Hook 3 January 2016.

 

Flood Bagwell Lane Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood Bagwell Lane Winchfield 3 January 2016.

 

Railway bridge at Station Road WInchfield. Floods at Winchfield, Hook and Crookham Village 3 January 2016

Railway bridge at Station Road Winchfield. Village 3 January 2016

 

 

Flood Hitches Lane/Pilcot Road Crookham Village 3 January 2016

Flood Hitches Lane/Pilcot Road Crookham Village 3 January 2016

 

Flood B3016 Odiham Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Flood B3016 Odiham Road Winchfield 3 January 2016.

Which parishes have seen most development Hart District?

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

Elvetham Heath near Fleet, Hampshire

There has been much controversy about how much development there has been in Hart District over the past few years, so inspired by a post on the Winchfield Action Group site, we thought we’d take a closer look at the data.

We have compiled a list by parish and ward of the number of dwellings in each area in 2001 and 2011, according to the census and the results are shown in the table below:

ParishWard2001 Census (Dwellings)2011 Census (Dwellings)% Increase
Total34170373369.3
Blackwater & Hawley177218675.4
Bramshill9863-35.7
Church Crookham330933280.6
Crondall6887387.2
Crookham Village156316304.3
Dogmersfield1241283.2
Eversley5996508.5
Ewshot2292352.6
FleetCentral2235256514.8
FleetCourtmoor188819282.1
FleetNorth (inc Elvetham Heath)13602947116.7
FleetPondtail182018984.3
FleetWest185719786.5
Fleet Total91601131623.5
Greywell1041040
Hartley Wintney212622224.5
Heckfield137135-1.5
Hook2718311114.5
Mattingley2322382.6
Odiham & Long Sutton271228806.2
Rotherwick2052123.4
South Warnborough21326223
Winchfield2392587.9
Yateley79427959.2

It should be noted that the data only runs up to 2011 and so misses out most or all of certain developments such as QEB in Church Crookham, Dilly Lane and Rifle Range Farm in Hartley Wintney, Edenbrook and the planned new developments at Hawley Park Farm, new development to the North East of Hook and at Watery Lane.

It does show that the area with the largest increase is what was known as Fleet North, which has now been split after incorporating Elvetham Heath.

It is not really for us to point fingers at different areas of the district.  We will let readers make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions from the data.

If anyone finds an error in any of the data, then please do get in touch and we will make any corrections that are needed.

[Update]

I was asked to provide updated data of the permissions and completions since 2011.  There is no easy way to get this data.  This is a copy of what I received:

The majority of the information (with details of location and parish) on housing completions and permissions for the next few years can be found in the following two published documents :

Appendix 2&3
http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/Hart%205%20yr%20supply%20statement%20at%201st%20October%202015.pdf

And http://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/4_The_Council/Policies_and_published_documents/Planning_policy/Final%20Dwelling%20Completion%20Figures%202014-15_for%20website.xlsx

It’s regrettable  that you only used figures from the superseded five year land supply (2001-2011) calculation in the Interim Housing Delivery Strategy which was superseded by the Five Year Land Supply Position Statement:
Five Year Housing Land Supply Position Statement, 1st October 2015
2014-15, and the Completions list from Hampshire County Council (1st April 2015) both of which were linked on the  council website “Current planning policy and guidance” referring to the local plan consultation, and also discussed at a council meeting.

I’m glad got said you’d incorporate the latest numbers, and look forward to seeing this. I believe you’ll find disproportionate housing allocation to the North and East of the region whilst minimal development in the centre, West or south.

I can confirm that I used neither of the Housing Land Supply documents to produce the table above.  As the original post says, the source for the above is the census.

The link to the pdf just gives a long list of sites in a form that it is impossible to analyse in any meaningful way, least of all by parish.  The spreadsheet contains a list of starts, completions and losses for 2014-2015, a summary of which by Parish is shown below.

Dwellings started completed and lost in Hart District 2014-15

[/Update]

The case for a brownfield solution to Hart’s housing needs

Which would you rather preserve - derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

Which would you rather preserve – derelict eyesore or our wildlife?

As you know, Hart Council has begun a new consultation asking us where we would prefer to build the remaining 2,500 houses we are being asked to build as part of the Local Plan. This has generated some lively debate with some councillors and community groups favouring a new town. Whilst We Hart has a lot of sympathy with the residents of Fleet and Church Crookham, who have suffered from some poor planning decisions over the past years, we aim to show why it would be wrong to consider a new town or urban extension now and make a bad situation even worse.

We have to deliver over 370 houses per year up to 2032.  If these were to be built on green field sites it would mean we would be concreting over the equivalent of 25 football pitches each and every year for 20 years.  This is simply not sustainable, and it is clear something needs to change.

Eminent architects such as Richard Rogers, academics such as Professor Dieter Helm and journalists such as Simon Jenkins have called for our green spaces to be protected and for more building on brownfield land.  The Government is also actively encouraging brownfield development.

The benefits are clear, in that less infrastructure investment is required to support this type of development, urban living makes better use of scarce resources, so is kinder to the environment and town and city dwellers use their cars less and so don’t cause as much congestion.

So, having established the general case for brownfield over green field development, what about the specifics of the proposals before us in Hart?

First, it can be done. We have gone through Hart Council’s data and shown that there are sufficient sites to meet our remaining needs on brownfield site alone, and if we can bring Pyestock into play and Hart are successful in their quest to find even more sites, we will have a surplus of brownfield sites.

Supporters of a new town point to the supposed infrastructure benefits, but we believe this argument is flawed.  There is no doubt that there is a need for more infrastructure investment in our existing towns and villages, as is shown by the current £78m funding deficit.  Even Hart Council acknowledge that new schools would cost £80-100m, but then when you add up the costs of new and improved roads, roundabouts, bridges, sewage works, and railway station, it is clear that a new town will require over £300m of infrastructure spending before you even get to providing new sports and community facilities. But a reasonable expectation of developer contributions is only around £50m.  So, it is clear that a new town, or indeed an urban extension, could not get the infrastructure it needs and more importantly, would not do anything to address the problems in our existing communities .

By contrast, properly designed brownfield redevelopments (not office conversions) would generate developer contributions for local communities and if Hart Council followed Ranil Jayawardena’s advice, they could use compulsory purchase powers to buy up some of these sites and use the profits from development to fund even more local infrastructure.

When you look at travel to work patterns of Hart residents, it is clear that many people work in Fleet, Surrey Heath, Rushmoor and Waverley.  So, residents of a new town will need to travel through Fleet, Church Crookham and Hartley Wintney adding to congestion.  Other workers will travel through Hook to get to work in places like Basingstoke.  Dispersal throughout the district will ease the congestion problem, and brownfield development to the east of Fleet will place workers closer to their jobs and offer greener transport alternatives.

Our housing needs assessment calls for 60-70% of new build properties to be 1 or 2-bedroomed and also calls for over 2,000 units of specialist accommodation for the elderly to be built up to 2031.  A new town or urban extension is likely to continue to build predominantly larger properties at prices of over £500,000 which will no doubt be attractive to those who want to move from London, but will be out of reach of middle income households in Hart and so do nothing for local people.  Well planned development of smaller properties on brownfield sites will do more to help our young people to get on the housing ladder and help older people when they want to down-size to free up their larger properties for growing families.

Of course planning for a new town or urban extension would also open us up to building 3,000 houses for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath.  Whereas a vision and strategy to protect our green lungs in the heart of Hart would offer us some protection.

We also have to challenge the viability of the new town and urban extension plans.  The new town would coalesce our villages into a massive urban sprawl that would effectively become Hartley Winchook.  The proposed urban extensions would add further unwelcome development outside existing settlement boundaries. The professionals who have looked at the new town proposal have said “it would be challenging to plan a compact nuclear settlement on this site”, and of course there are other significant constraints such as lack of mains gas or sewage, flood risk and environmental damage.  All of the new town and urban extension sites have been classed as “not currently developable” by Hart Council.

It is time to make a break from the past mistakes and change to a more sustainable strategy, with a planning horizon of 50 years ahead and realise that more and more housing estates in the countryside are simply not sustainable.  We need to go for dispersal of our housing needs on brownfield sites across the district to build more affordable homes for our young people, create better specialist accommodation for the elderly and generate much needed infrastructure funding for local communities.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

Winchfield Action Group covered in Fleet News and Mail

New town is Hartley Winchook say Winchfield Action Group

New town is Hartley Winchook say Winchfield Action Group

We are pleased to note that Winchfield Action Group were covered in Fleet News and Mail yesterday.  A large image of the article can be found here.

The article notes the big risk of effectively coalescing Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant conurbation that we have termed Hartley Winchook, leading to a massive increase in congestion and strain on public services as well destruction of habitat and our environment.

It is worth noting again that the proposed new town will be roughly three times the size of Elvetham Heath, more than twice the size of Hartley Wintney and about twice the size of Hook.  We don’t need a new town when there is a brownfield solution.

Show me the money – how will new town infrastructure be funded?

Show me the infrastructure money

Show me the infrastructure money

Hart District Council have made much of the supposed infrastructure benefits of  a new town in Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook parishes to create a new Hartley Winchook conurbation.  But they have so far failed to spell out the infrastructure costs and not disclosed where the money would come from.  It is our belief that these alleged infrastructure benefits are a mirage and would not solve the acknowledged infrastructure issues in Fleet and Church Crookham. Any infrastructure money we get would be better spent regenerating our town centres and this can only be achieved with properly planned redevelopment of the numerous brownfield sites in our town centres.

Our estimate of infrastructure costs is over £300m, with the potential developer contributions of around £50m for a 5,000 house new town.  On its own, this delivers a funding gap of at least £250m, on top of the existing £78m infrastructure funding deficit.  The detail of our workings is shown below.  It is clear that despite two years of work since the last Local Plan failed, the proposals for a new town simply have not been thought through, so it would be madness to vote for a new town in the consultation.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Cost estimate:

Infrastructure item Number requiredCost per unit (£m)Cost (£m)
Total359.8
Roundabouts
Roundabout (A30/B3016)144
Roundabout (A287/B3016)144
Roundabout (B3016/New Town)22.55
Roundabout (Pale Lane/A323)12.52.5
Roundabout (A287/Crondall Road)12.52.5
Roundabout (Pilcot Road/Hitches Lane)12.52.5
New Motorway Junction1100100
New roundabout on to A30 for SHL sites 126,136 & 169144
Sub-Total Roundabouts124.5
Bridges
Bridge widening/strenghening River Hart at Queens Head11.51.5
Bridge widening/strenghening River Hart Pale Lane11.51.5
Railway bridges widening and strengthening3515
Sub-Total Bridges18
Roads
New roads into new town (1.5km)1.52.13.15
Widening Bagwell Lane from new road to Station Road (1.5km)1.52.13.15
Widening Taplins Farm Lane/Church Lane to Barley Mow (2 km)22.14.2
Widening Station Road to the Hurst (2km)22.14.2
Widen Pale lane from Barley Mow to A323 (2km)22.14.2
Widen Chatter Alley/Pilcot Rd from Barley Mow to Hitches Lane (2km)22.14.2
Access road improvements to new station around Totters Lane22.14.2
Sub-Total Roads27.3
Schools
Secondary School16060
Primary schools31030
Sub-Total Schools90
Sewage Works
New Sewage works off Pale Lane to west of Edenbrook12525
Sub-Total Sewage Works25
Electricity Pylons
Bury cables underground2.52050
Sub-total Electricity pylons50
Railway Station
New Railway Station at Murrell Green12525
Sub-Total Railway Station25

The sources for these numbers are as follows, with some references to HDC’s Infrastructure Delivery Update:

  • Roundabouts.  Cost of A30 improvements at Blackbushe is around £4m.  Roundabouts at either end of the B3016 will cross a dual carriageway and will likely require some element of approach road improvement, so reasonable to assume the cost of each change will be about the same.  There will also no doubt need to be a new roundabout on to the A30 at Murrell Green. I have scaled down this number for the additional roundabouts needed as they are simpler.
  • Bridge improvements estimated.  Both bridges over the river Hart (at the Queens Head pub and on Pale Lane) will need to be completely replaced and widened to cope with two way traffic and probably some road adjustments too.  The work on the railway bridges will be considerable to widen them to cater for two way traffic underneath, and potentially to strengthen them for double decker trains.  Plus the Barratts new town plan for Winchfield shows a new footbridge over the motorway that hasn’t been individually costed. The bridge on Totters Lane over the railway will also need improvement, but we understand it is listed, so that will be difficult.
  • Road costs estimated from this  2006 report from Imperial College London give a cost of £2.13m/km  of new single carriageway road.  Road lengths above taken from Google Maps.  The infrastructure delivery update indicated that a new M3 junction may be required, although it is unclear where that would be located, nor is it clear where they would build the access roads.   It is difficult to see how a brand new junction will give much change from £100m (despite Hart’s estimate of only £30m in the consultation papers), given a new junction at Birmingham airport will cost £250m.
  • Schools.  Hart Council have quoted £80-100m for new schools.  I have chosen the mid-point of that estimate in the figures above. Note that the secondary school (according to both the Barratts vision document and the Hart strategic assessment of the Winchfield site) is within a couple of hundred metres of the M3 and next door to Mildmay Oaks hospital where a convicted sex offender escaped earlier this year and one of the primary schools is located between the M3 and the railway, hardly a suitable environment for children to grow up in.
  • Electricity Pylons.  No-one is going to want to live underneath high voltage electricity pylons, and two lots of high voltage pylons cross the planned area for the new town.  Presumably they were put there originally because they weren’t near where people live.  It costs £1.6m/km to lay new pylon runs and £20m/km to bury cables.  The infrastructure delivery update indicated that burying the cables may be required “if these sites are to be developed optimally”, so I have used that figure in the calculations.
  • Railway Station.  It cost  over £8m to upgrade the facilities and car-park at Fleet, and even more expensive works would be required at Winchfield: it also cost £4m to extend the platforms at Bedford station.  But the infrastructure delivery update indicated that Winchfield station may be relocated and expanded, most likely to the west (north of the M3). The potential advantages of this approach would be that the existing station could continue to operate until the replacement station opened.  We have therefore estimated a cost of £25m for a new station and believe that this may well be an understatement, because the land will also need to be purchased and big road improvements would be needed on say Totters Lane to allow access to the new station.

Contribution estimate

We might expect around £50m from developing 5,000 new houses that have not yet received planning permission in the local plan.  This is based on only 3,000 houses being eligible for a CIL charge as 40% of what is built has to be “affordable” and does not attract a CIL charge.  If each house is 95 sq m, and the charge per sq m is £175, then this results in CIL funding of ~£50m.  If they use S106 instead of CIL, the yield can be expected to be broadly similar.

If anyone wishes to put forward an alternative or better estimate, with sources, we will gladly update our estimates accordingly.

 

Is the ‘tin-man’ new town plan viable?

Tin Man new town has no heart

Tin Man new town has no heart

The new town, which might be termed Hartley Winchook is Hart District Council’s preferred option to meet our housing needs, but it is not clear whether the proposals are at all viable.

First, if you look at the sites put forward to make up the new town (see below), it is clear they are a mish-mash of disconnected sites bisected by the M3 and the railway, with no clear heart from which to build a successful community. This is recognised by HDC’s planning consultants who have said “It would be challenging to plan a compact nuclear settlement on this site”. In short, this is a ‘tin-man’ proposal for a new town, that Hart Council themselves ruled out back in 2012 and we urge you to oppose it in the consultation.

 

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Second, there are a large number of significant constraints, many of which will be very difficult to overcome. We have set these out below, pulling the quotes from the official HDC evidence base.

Finally, both Hart and the Government have said that new towns need to be at least 5,000 dwellings. We have taken a look at the housing capacity below, and conclude that it is going to be a struggle to achieve this goal because HDC has not yet taken proper account of the need for SANG, schools, sports facilities, roads, car parks and shops.

We do wonder quite what has been going on inside Hart Planning Department, when last year the new town proposal was the preferred option ‘subject to testing’.  Where are the results of the testing?

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

 

 

Constraints to housing

The first point to note is that each and every site put forward to be part of the new town is listed as “not currently developable” in all of the SHLAA documentation.  There are many constraints noted for the sites, including:

  • The road infrastructure  has limited capacity for additional traffic.
  • There are a number of significant nature conservation features and designations either adjacent or in close proximity to the site.
  • Some part of the site are subject to area based TPOs, particularly to the north of the site, near to Winchfield House.
  • The Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan Policies Map indicates that parts of the site contain areas subject to minerals safeguarding
  • Characterised as attractive rolling countryside… The potential for new development within this area to negatively impact on landscape character is considered to be significant.”
  • Potential to cause considerable harm to landscape character.
  • It is possible that the site contains some ʻbest and most versatileʼ (BMV) agricultural land
  • There are a variety of Listed Buildings within and adjacent to the site
  • Significant parts of the site are subject to the risk of groundwater flooding at the surface”.
  • The nature of the site, split, with substantial areas of farmland, as well as Winchfield Station between the two halves is considered to significantly influence how a new settlement could be planned.
  • Development at the north of the site risks leading to settlement coalescence with Hartley Wintney”.
  • Overhead power lines traverse the site and may represent a constraint”.
  • The extent to which environmental noise from the motorway and railway impacts on the site should be ascertained.

Housing Capacity

The capacity put forward for each site by Hart Council for the sites in Winchfield, Hook and Hartley Wintney Parishes is shown below.

Parish/Ref Site Assessment Capacity (Low) Site Assessment Capacity (High)
Hook 1,458 1,458
SHL126 450 450
SHL136 663 663
SHL169 345 345
Winchfield 5,039 6,039
SHL124 500 1,500
SHL133 396 396
SHL135 55 55
SHL167 772 772
SHL168 46 46
SHL182 600 600
SHL183 150 150
SHL184 850 850
SHL185 450 450
SHL186 350 350
SHL187 600 600
SHL188 200 200
SHL83 10 10
SHL84 60 60
Grand Total 6,497 7,497

HDC and the Government have said that the minimum size for a new eco-town is 5,000 dwellings. However, many of these sites have not yet been fully assessed by officers to verify the housing capacity claimed by developers.  Of particular note is that only ~50Ha of land has been assigned to SANG (part of SHL183).  A development of 5,000 houses would require 100Ha of land (minimum of 8Ha per 1,000 people), so a further 50Ha at least is required.  At Hart’s usual planning rule of thumb of 30 dwellings per hectare, this would reduce the available capacity by 1,500 units.

A new settlement would also require space for sports facilities.  Hartley Wintney has three football pitches and a cricket pitch, and it is less than half the size of the proposed new town. So, let’s assume a new town would need 6 football pitches and 2 cricket pitches.  Hartley Wintney FC (with three pitches covers some 3Ha and the cricket pitch some 1.5 Ha) – together say 9 Ha.

HDC say the new town would also need 4 new schools, one secondary and three primary.  Robert Mays’ site is around 5 Ha (measured on Google Maps) and the site of Greenfields School at Hartley Wintney is around 2.5Ha, so the four schools would need around 12Ha between them.

Then of course, there would need to be a new supermarket and other shops, medical facilities and other employment space. Tesco in Hook takes up about 1 Ha, but the new town is to be around twice the size of Hook, so a bigger store would be needed. So let’s say a conservative 10Ha in total for supermarkets, shops, surgeries and car parks.

Then of course, we need space for new roads, a sewage works and the new railway station.  Fleet station is around 2 Ha, and the old sewage works at Branshott Farm was around 2 Ha.  New roads and a motorway junction will further reduce capacity.

That brings the total up to around 35 Ha.  That takes off space for a further 1,050 dwellings.

As can be seen, when you take into account the need for SANG, schools, shops, sports facilities, new station and sewage works, the available capacity drops by around 2,550 units, taking the low end estimate of housing capacity to ~4,000, well below the minimum 5,000 and the high end just below the boundary of viability.

A number of the sites are unlikely to ever be suitable for housing, and other sites have very real issues with the potential for groundwater flooding which would further reduce capacity. For example, site SHL167 has just been refused permission for even a solar farm, and SHL133 is borders two SSSI’s and a significant part of it is subject to flooding. And sites such as SHL182, 184, 186, 187 and 188 do not yet appear to have had their capacities factored down by officers to take account of the constraints.

And of course, Dr Anne Crampton has called for a 500m exclusion zone around the motorway, which would render the whole scheme unviable.

 

Impact of a new town on Fleet and Church Crookham

Fleet and Church Crookham

Impact of new town on Fleet and Church Crookham

I have a great deal of sympathy for residents of Fleet and Church Crookham who have suffered a great deal of development in recent years with insufficient investment in infrastructure.  However, a new town in Winchfield, Hook and Hartley Wintney parishes is not the panacea for Fleet residents that that many of the Hart Councillors would have you believe.
There will be negative impacts in 4 main ways:

  • Starvation of infrastructure funding
  • Extra traffic and congestion
  • Lack of affordable homes
  • Destruction of amenity space

Infrastructure Funding

Hart Council currently has a £78m infrastructure funding deficit, much of it in Fleet, Church Crookham and Hook. This does not include healthcare where there is a forecast £47m funding deficit in five years time.  A new town will need about £300m of infrastructure spending to make it work, but a realistic assessment of developer contributions is £40-50m.  This leaves a further gap of ~£250m.  There are already complaints about long waiting lists at doctors and lack of other amenities.  It is clear that a new town will be under-funded with consequent impact on other parts of Hart District, where there will be no spare money to address the deficit that already exists in all areas of Hart including Fleet and Church Crookham.

 

Congestion

Where Hart Residents Work

Where Hart Residents Work, SHMA Figure 13

Let’s have a look at where Hart residents work, using the evidence of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).

A bit less than half of them work in Hart – 45%. So of the 12,500 new people in a new town, 45% of those of working age will work in Hart. The biggest employment centres are in Fleet and Hook. So a significant proportion of the new town workers will go to work in Fleet. They are not all going to work in a new supermarket in the new town.

A significant proportion will also work in Rushmoor (Farnborough and Aldershot), Surrey Heath (Camberley) and Waverley (Farnham) – some 18% in total.

The most obvious travel to work route for many of these people will be along Pale Lane, through Elvetham Heath/Fleet or along Chatter Alley, through Dogmersfield, Crookham Village and Church Crookham.  But these roads are narrow and a difficult to upgrade due to bridge constraints, so maybe a new road out of the new town on to Hitches Lane will be required.

A big portion – 6.2%, will use the train to go up to London from a station that is already full, on a line that is operating at or above design capacity.

Another group will go to Hook directly, or through Hook and/or Hartley Wintney to get to Reading or Bracknell adding to existing peak time congestion on the A30.

Pretending a new town will have no impact on congestion in Fleet and the Crookhams is plainly wrong.

Surely much better and more sustainable to direct housing development to the east of Fleet at Ancells Farm, Bramshott Farm and Pyestock (some of them brownfield sites) with a cycle route to Fleet station and a cycle route to the Cody Tech centre or the Farnborough airport complex.

Affordable Housing

 

Vacant Office Admiral House, Harlington Way, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Admiral House, Harlington Way, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

As of 26/11/15, the cheapest 1-bed and 2-bed new homes available within 1 mile of Fleet are available at prices of £215,000 and £235,000 (Rightmove). Median household incomes for Hart are £40,200 per Figure 4.8 of the SHMA. This means that the cheapest new homes are between 5.3 and 5.8 times median incomes and out of reach for the average household, so something should be done.

The SHMA calls for 60-70% of new build to be 1 and 2-bed properties across the Housing Market Area.  The developers are going to want to do what they always do, that is to build 3-5 bedroom detached houses in the new town which will be no doubt attractive to those moving from London, but will do nothing to meet the needs of ordinary people living in Hart.

Surely, it would be better to build smaller, starter properties on brownfield sites such as Ancells Farm, Fleet Road, Harlington Way in Fleet and Bartley Wood in Hook to give younger people a more affordable first step on the housing ladder.  This iwll do far more to meet the actual need outlined in the SHMA, and be more sustainable for our environment.

Destruction of amenity space

The Heart of Hart, the area around Winchfield, is used as an amenity area for walking, cycling, watching wildlife and other recreation. Concreting it over and joining together Hartley Wintney, Winchfield and Hook into a giant Hartley Winchook conurbation will lead to lack of amenity for everyone.  Hart Council is yet to report on the consultation it ran earlier this year on how we value our amenity space.

If you are concerned about the impact of a new town, we have created two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2-minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

New town plan transforms Winchfield into a concrete jungle

Winchfield SHLAA Sites in Hart District Hampshire

Winchfield SHLAA Sites in Hart District Hampshire

The combination of the sites put forward for the Winchfield new town will put more than half of the beautiful countryside at the Heart of Hart under concrete with devastating impacts on the ecology and environment.  But readers should also note that around a quarter of the planned houses will be in Hook parish, with some of it in Hartley Wintney next to the Dilly Lane development, many houses on the boundary with Odiham Parish and of course the eastern boundary of the site will directly abut Fleet and be very close to the Edenbrook estate.

The notion that this is in any way “sustainable development” is total nonsense and the notion that there will be limited impact on other areas of the district is also nonsense.

If you want to protect our countryside you must vote for Approach 1, a dispersal strategy in the Local Plan consultation and ask Hart Council to find again the 1,400 sites they lost.  Our remaining needs can be met from brownfield sites alone.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes

Do we really want to create a giant Hartley Winchook conurbation?

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Hartley Winchook New Town proposal for Hart District in Hampshire

As you may know, Hart District Council has embarked on a new consultation about the Hart Local Plan.  One of the approaches put forward is for a “new settlement at Winchfield”.  However, this is misleading because a number of the sites that form part of the proposal are in the Hook and Hartley Wintney parishes.  This new town proposal is really a plan to create a single conurbation of Hartley Winchook that will damage the distinct identity if each of the existing settlements.

Moreover, there are also sites in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment that further encroach on the parishes of Hartley Wintney and Hook.

Let’s take a look at Hartley Wintney parish first:

Hartley Wintney SHLAA sites in Hart District

Hartley Wintney SHLAA sites in Hart District, Hampshire

As can be seen, many of the proposed new town sites adjoin the Hartley Wintney parish boundary and site SHL 124 actually adjoins what will become phase 2 of the St Mary’s Park Dilly Lane development.  Moreover, the pink rectangle that is bisected by the Hart Parish boundary where it adjoins Fleet and Elvetham Heath is the site of a proposed urban extension to the Elvetham Heath community.

Now, let’s take a look at Hook:

Hook SHLAA sites in Hart District

Hook SHLAA sites in Hart District, Hampshire

As you can see, sites 126, 136 and 169 already make up part of the proposed new town and they are in the Hook Parish and 1,458 houses are proposed.  More than half of SHL167 is also in Hook Parish, delivering a further 400 houses to Hook, giving a total of around 1,850 dwellings.  These are very close to sites 1&2 where Hart Council has already resolved to grant planning permission and to sites SHL 3 & 4, which so far have been rejected, but the capacity is between 1,000 and 2,800 houses.  It is surely only a matter of time before voracious developers start to lobby for sites 3 and 4 to be included in the package to make the whole thing “more sustainable”, as if concreting over our green fields is in any way sustainable.

The only way to combat this urbanisation of our countryside is to vote for Approach 1, dispersal in the current consultation about the Hart Local Plan, and make comments saying you want Hart Council to find again the brownfield sites they said were “readily quantifiable”.

We have created a dedicated consultation page and two guides to responding to the consultation that are available on the downloads below. The comments are designed to be cut and pasted into the boxes provided.  It will be very powerful if you could edit the comments into your own words. Please do find time to respond to the consultation and play your part in saving our countryside.

Full version:

Responses to Local Plan Consultation

2 Minute version:

Respond to Local Plan Consultation in 2 minutes