Secret Winchfield New Town plan emerges

Winchfield Consortium Preferred Development Option

Winchfield Consortium Preferred Development Option

A secret Winchfield new town plan has emerged from Hart District Council.  The document was produced in February 2015 by the Winchfield Consortium who appear to be promoting land around Murrell Green (as Pearson Strategic) alongside the land promoted by Barratts in Winchfield to create the Hartley Winchook settlement.  The document, which is available for download below, contains a number of interesting points that appear to undermine the case for a new settlement at those sites:

First, the total capacity of the proposed ‘settlement’ is 4,883 units (which is somewhat below the minimum size of 5,000 units for new eco-towns) spread across four loosely connected development zones.  One would have to be quite generous to term this type of development a new ‘settlement’ as there is no defined centre, or heart.

Second, the infrastructure contribution looks to be very limited, with the document talking of the “majority of the infrastructure will be delivered through S106 agreement”, with the infrastructure being defined as a spine road, a primary school, the secondary school and the local centres. This appears to mean that the Winchfield Consortium/Barratts/Pearson Strategic will contribute only 50.1% of the cost of these specific elements.  It is notable that there is no mention of healthcare or sports facilities, no upgrades to the connecting road network and no upgrades to the railway station. And of course, these contributions will do nothing to address the infrastructure deficit in out existing settlements.

Third, it is clear that the Murrell Green sites, which are largely in Hook parish, are required to make the proposal work, and these sites are in the first phase of development (see pages 26-27), contrary to the expectations of the Hook community groups.

Fourth, this is now the third document (others here and here) we have seen that shows a proposed secondary school adjacent to the Mildmay Oaks hospital.

Compare Flood Risk to development sites

Comparison of development sites to flood risk areas

Finally, comparing Hart’s strategic site assessments to this document shows that much of the proposed development is in an area susceptible to varying degrees of groundwater flooding.  We have seen only this week the dangers of building close to flood zones.

Development site on a Flood Plain near Whalley, Lancashire

Development site on a Flood Plain near Whalley, Lancashire

The Winchfield Concept document can be found on the download below:

Winchfield Consortium Concept Paper

If these plans concern you, 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

link

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)
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
Total359.8

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.

 

Would a new town be safe for our children?

500m M3 exclusion zone near Winchfield Hampshire

Proposed new town in Winchfield and Hook, Hampshire with 500m exclusion zone around the M3

Many councillors are doing their utmost to promote the supposed benefits of a new town – Hartley Winchook, but it is clear that the plans have not been properly thought through.  For instance, what is the impact on  the health and well-being of our children?

First let’s take a look at site of the proposed new town in the image above or on this link.

As can be clearly seen the M3 and the railway go straight through the middle of the proposed sites.  However, a number of medical studies have been carried out in a number of countries such as the US, Germany and Holland that highlight the dangers to children’s health of living close to major highways such as motorways.  Examples can be found here, here and here. The highlighted risks include cardiac and pulmonary risks, wheeziness in children, shorter lifespans, premature births, asthma and cancer.  It is worth noting that a new school is proposed just north of site 83 on the map above, meaning the children living in the new town would both live and go to school very close to the motorway.  In the light of these studies, Councillor Dr. Anne Crampton has proposed that there should be a 500m exclusion zone for new housing around the M3 (shown in yellow hatching on the map).  The implication of this, as can be seen from the map, is that many of the proposed sites would be rendered unsuitable if Dr. Crampton’s proposal was adopted and in fact, the whole new town proposal would fail.  So, it seems we have  choice: protect our children or concrete over the green fields.

There’s another issue too.  The proposed site of the secondary school is between the motorway and the Mildmay Oaks hospital that was housing child sex offenders (one of whom escaped) and other patients who were violent towards staff. Originally, this school site was proposed in the Barratts Vision document that some councillors have since  disowned. But, amazingly, this location is still proposed for the secondary school in the site assessments from Hart District Council (HDC) – see image from this document below – Mildmay Oaks is inside the pink blob towards the middle of the image and the boundary for the school is shown in blue.

Potential school next to MIldmay Oaks Hospital Winchfield Hampshire

Potential school next to Mildmay Oaks Hospital Winchfield Hampshire

It is clear that this new town proposal has not been well thought through at all and if this is no longer the proposed site for a school, then the council should say where the school would go.  Would it be within the proposed 500m exclusion zone?

It is worth noting also, that if this 500m exclusion zone were applied, it would also reduce the brownfield capacity at Ancells Farm, so we would have to seek out some additional sites and the urban extension at Pale Lane would also be deemed an unsuitable site.

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

Hart New Town plan proposes school next door to child sex offender unit

Mildmay Oaks Hospital next door to proposed school

Proposed school next door to Mildmay Oaks Hospital that held escaped child sex offender

Most residents in Hart District will have heard of the recent escape of a convicted child sex offender from the Mildmay Oaks hospital in Winchfield (formerly known as the Vistacare hospital). Fortunately, the patient has been found and detained in another establishment.

However, what many may not know is that the Barratt Homes plan for a new town at Winchfield included a secondary school right next door to the Mildmay Oaks hospital and a further primary school only a little further away.  The image above is taken from the Barratts Vision document with an illustration added to highlight the proximity of the hospital adjacent to the proposed schools.

It seems beyond the bounds of credulity that anyone would consider that a suitable location for a secondary school was right next door to a hospital looking after convicted child sex offenders, especially when the unit failed CQC inspection twice whilst under the management of Vistacare and now has suffered a serious security breach under the new Partnerships in Care management.

The constraints placed by the location of the hospital have not been considered in the on-going testing of the new town location.

Surely it is time now for Hart Council think again about its absurd new town plan.