Housing allocation for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should reduce by 6,560 according to new DCLG figures

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

The housing allocation for the combined Housing Market Area (HMA) of Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath should be reduced by by 27.7% or 6,560 houses, taking away the risk that Rushmoor and Surrey Heath will ask Hart to build 3,000 houses for them and ensuring Hart’s own requirement can be built on brownfield sites only according to new population projections that have been released by the DCLG.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F Figure 2

Figure 1: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix F

The SHMA worked by taking as a starting point earlier Government figures that showed the combined population of the HMA would be 307K (PROJ 2 circled in Figure 1 above) and this was inflated by increasing the assumptions on inward migration, average household size and jobs growth to arrive at a final figure of 322K (PROJ 5 circled in Figure 1 above).

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 1

Figure 2: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Interestingly, revised population forecasts were published by the Government as the SHMA was being finalised that showed that the start point population forecast should be reduced to 295K (circled in Figure 2 above), but amazingly these changes were not used to reduce the assessed housing need.  If they had been used, the total amount of housing that would be required for the HMA would have reduced by 208 per annum (see Figure 3 below), or a total of 4,160 dwellings out of a total objectively assessed housing need (OAHN) of 23,600.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G Figure 2

Figure 3: Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA Appendix G

Now the latest DCLG figures (Table 426) have reduced the population forecast for 2031 for the whole HMA down to only 289K, a reduction of 6,000 people, which equates to a reduction of a further ~2,400 houses (@2.5 people per property).

Taken together these reductions in population forecasts would reduce the whole housing need for the HMA by 6,560 houses of the 23,600 or a reduction of a stunning 27.7%.

We wonder when Hart Council, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath councils will take these new figures into account in the Local Plan.

 

Hart household projections fall according to new figures from DCLG

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Do we want to lose our cows to concrete?

In a piece of good news, revised population projections published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that Hart will have fewer households in 2031 than were assumed in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA).  This should have the effect of reducing the housing requirement being imposed on Hart District as part of the Local Plan.  This might reduce the remaining 2,900 houses left to grant permission for and make it more likely we can meet all of the remaining need from brownfield sites.

 

Local Authority2011 householdsSHMA start point for 2031 using 2011-based population projectionNew projection for 2031 using 2012-based population projectionChange between 2011-based and 2012-based projectionsSHMA end-point for 2031
Hart357574222040618-160243291
Rushmoor365594083042362153246381
Surrey Heath33632381703832115140689
Total10594812122012130181130361

 

However in other news, the same new figures for Rushmoor and Surrey Heath show higher projections for households up to 2031 than were assumed in the SHMA.  This might increase the housing requirement for Surrey Heath and Rushmoor and they may ask that Hart builds those houses for them.

What is clear is that the SHMA then makes several dubious adjustments to the baseline DCLG projections that add a further 9,000 or so houses to the total for the housing market area that need to be challenged.

The DCLG figures can be found here and here.  The SHMA can be found here.

If SHMA adjustments were applied nationally we would be building too many houses

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA adjustments applied at national level

Figure 1: Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor SHMA adjustments applied at national level

Evidence presented at the examination of the Vale of the White Horse Local Plan has demonstrated that if the adjustments made to the baseline DCLG housing projections were applied on a national basis, they would increase the national output of housing to double the DCLG estimate of what is needed and triple the recent output of housing.

Applying a similar approach to the Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA shows that on a national basis, we would be delivering 54% more housing than we need on a national basis, see Figure 1 above.  Surely it cannot be right that we are being asked to build at a rate that would lead to a surplus of housing.

England housing delivery actuals and projected 1946-2031

Figure 2: England housing delivery actuals and projected 1946-2031

The baseline DCLG projections for the combination of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor call for 790 houses per annum (SHMA Figure 7.3).  This equates to the DCLG projection of 220,000 houses per annum nationally (see figure 2 above).  This compares to recent performance of around 150,000 houses per annum.

The final SHMA, after taking into account past under-delivery, amount to a total of 24,413 houses (see table below), or an increase of 54.6% over the DCLG baseline figures.  The duty to cooperate might mean that Hart District has to build more houses than either Surrey Heath or Rushmoor as part of our Local Plan.

 Hart DistrictSurrey Heath BoroughRushmoor BoroughTotal Housing Market Area
Original SHMA7,5347,0579,82224,413
Proposed Transfers3,022(1,400)(1,622)0
New Total10,5565,6578,20024,413

If the same 54.6% uplift were applied to the DCLG projection, we would be building over 340,000 houses per annum nationally, more than double recent performance.

In recent years Hart has built more houses than it has been required to do and built at a rate above regional and national averages (SHMA Table 5.11).  It is beginning to look like the total of the local SHMAs are much larger than the overall requirement as defined by the DCLG. Surely it cannot be right that we are being asked to build at rate more than 50% higher than the DCLG suggests we need to meet overall demand.

Latest jobs growth figures well short of SHMA estimates

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

Hart Surrey Heath and Rushmoor Jobs Growth rates 1998 to 2013 compared to SHMA

The Government have released the revised BRES job numbers for 2013 and these show that the jobs growth rate we have achieved since the recession ended in 2009 is still much lower than the jobs growth rate assumed in the SHMA for the period 2011-2031, during which period it is inevitable we will experience at least one more recession.  This comes at a time when the UK is creating more jobs than the rest of the EU put together, so can hardly be described as a normal set of circumstances.

The flawed jobs growth rate in the SHMA adds 5,100 extra houses to to the overall housing allocation to the combined Housing Market Area of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.  The impact of this is that it pushes up Hart’s own allocation and forces Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to ask Hart to become a sink for 3,000 extra houses for them. Furthermore, these jobs forecasts lead to over-estimates of the amount of employment land we need and so constrains the amount of land that might be made available for housing.

Hart becomes Housing Sink for Surrey Heath and Rushmor

Hart becomes sink for 3,100 houses from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor

If these errors in the SHMA growth rate were corrected the threat from Surrey Heath and Rushmoor would evaporate and Hart’s own housing allocation for the Local Plan would come down from 7,534 to around 6,750, which would definitely mean the remaining requirement could be made from brownfield sites alone.

How long before the penny drops with Hart District Council and the other Hampshire boroughs that they need to revise the SHMA to a more realistic number?

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield

Ranil says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

Ranil Jayawardena says no to Winchfield new town and yes to brownfield development

In a very welcome move, local MP for Hampshire North East, Ranil Jayawardena has come down strongly against proposed large scale green field developments such as Winchfield New Town, and asked Hart Council to produce a register of brownfield sites and be more active in using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) on brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.

In a week where Conservative MP’s have been spat at on the streets of Manchester, I think the only risk to Ranil after publishing his article is that he will be showered with kisses from his local constituents.

In response to questions from his constituents, Ranil has set out his views on planning and development.  Ranil has also set up a petition  saying brownfield development must be more strongly prioritised by Local Planning Authorities and Neighbourhood Plans must continue to be respected, both in the absence of Local Plans and by Local Planning Authorities when devising Local Plans.

Sign Ranil's Petition

The key passage from Ranil’s article is re-produced below:

I believe unused and redundant commercial buildings should be brought forward for regeneration before any more greenfield sites are allocated anywhere in North East Hampshire. That includes Grove Farm, Hop Garden, Winchfield, the Urnfield – and any other greenfield site for that matter – unless a locally-led Neighbourhood Plan wants to build homes to meet local needs.

I’ll go further. I’m against these developments – indeed, this sort of large-scale top-down volume-led development generally – as I do not believe they are necessary to deliver the housing we need in our area. Looking at Hart District specifically for a moment, as the largest part of the constituency, I believe that the local housing demand can be met on brownfield sites. This has the massive advantage of, often, improving an area; instead of vacant office buildings on Fleet Road, for instance, why not have modern apartments for young professionals who can’t otherwise buy a home in our area?

In July 2015, the Chancellor set out in the budget that, to reinforce our commitment to making best use of brownfield land, legislation will grant permission in principle for housing on suitable sites identified in the new statutory brownfield register. (Interested folk might recall that Hart District Council was previously asked to create a register, but chose not to. There will now be one.) Brownfield redevelopment will also be supported by strengthened advice for authorities on the release of land earmarked for employment purposes where it is no longer needed. Whatever your politics, I hope you’d agree that the Government – while still protecting the rights of local Councils to determine the future of their own area – is being clearer than ever that brownfield land must be prioritised.

I’d even suggest, perhaps unusually for a Conservative, that Councils should be more active in their use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) where brownfield sites exist and it is clear that it would be a good site for housing, but the landowner is standing in the way of development, or the site as a whole is currently in multiple ownership. Not only would this deliver properly thought through regeneration, maximising the potential of brownfield land but, done right, it would also be good for local taxpayers, as the receipts from such a scheme on the eventual sale or rental of properties would help to keep Council Tax low in future…

Of course, the National Planning Policy Framework has always made clear that “planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land)” and that local Councils “may continue to consider the case for setting a locally appropriate target for the use of brownfield land”. I’ve spoken with Government Ministers and others about this policy, which applies across the country. I was pleased that the Prime Minister included a £1billion ‘brownfield regeneration fund’ in the Conservative Party manifesto, which will help make more brownfield regeneration happen, while now requiring Councils to bring forward 90% of suitable brownfield sites for housing by 2020, both of which will help protect our countryside.

Needless to say, We Heart Hart is delighted by Ranil’s article as it reiterates many of the points we have been making for some time about brownfield capacity and the need to establish a proper database of brownfield sites as part of a different approach to the local plan.

It remains to be seen whether Hart District Council’s Conservative administration will heed the advice of its local Conservative MP and the express wishes of the Conservative Government when preparing the forthcoming coming consultation paper on housing options for the Local Plan.

Of course, Ranil’s intervention also increases the pressure on Rushmoor Borough Council who are needlessly protecting 96 hectares of brownfield land when there is a massive surplus of employment land whilst at the same time asking Hart to build 1,600 houses for them.

 

Local NHS budget gap of £47m per year adds extra pressure to infrastructure funding

Frimley Park Hospital

Frimley Park Hospital

Get Hampshire has reported that Leaders of the North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body responsible for the NHS in our area, have said that demand for services is rising much faster than their budgets and that in five years time there will be a funding gap of £47m per year.

This comes on top of Hampshire County Council’s £1.9bn infrastructure funding gap and Hart’s own £78m budget shortfall.  We have estimated the costs of the infrastructure required for a new town at £300m, based on Hart’s own ideas of what new infrastructure will be required compared to around £40m that might be expected as developer contributions.

It is simply astonishing that as part of the Local Plan, Hart District is being asked to build over 7,500 houses and Rushmoor Borough Council over 9,800 houses (Rushmoor itself has an £80m funding gap) to increase congestion and add even more pressure on infrastructure and health services when it is clear that there simply isn’t enough money to fund even current demand let alone the new demands from the extra housing.

This is contrary to NPPF para 177 that says there must be a “reasonable prospect” of delivering the required infrastructure alongside housing:

“It is equally important to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect that planned infrastructure is deliverable in a timely fashion. To facilitate this, it is important that local planning authorities understand district-wide development costs at the time Local Plans are drawn up. For this reason, infrastructure and development policies should be planned at the same time, in the Local Plan”

Surely it is time to put a moratorium on any further major developments unless and until the infrastructure funding issues are resolved.

Remaining Hart District housing target can be met from brownfield sites alone

Vacant block at Bartley Wood in Hook, Hampshire

Bartley Wood Estate in Hook

New facts have come to light since Hart Council planning department put together their estimate of brownfield capacity which show that Hart’s remaining housing target can be met from brownfield development alone. Please support us in getting a brownfield only option included in the forthcoming consultation by attending the Hart Cabinet on 1 October where Hart’s response to the We Heart Hart petition will be agreed.

Last November, the council’s estimate of brownfield capacity over the entire plan period was around 750 units (taken from parts 1 and 3 of the SHLAA as per the FOI request we made) out of the then remaining 4,000 units to build (or grant permission for) up to 2032.

Since then, a number of interesting things have happened:

  • An important study by Stonegate Homes has shown that brownfield capacity is much larger
  • Planning permission has been applied for or granted on other sites that were either not in the SHLAA or were not counted as brownfield sites.
  • New potential sites have come to light that were not included in the SHLAA
LocationNumber of Dwellings
Guillemont Park Phase 1 (not included as brownfield site in SHLAA) 150
Guillemont Park Phase 2320
Ancells Farm, Fleet370
Bartley Wood, Hook200
Fleet Road, Fleet220
Bramshill House350
Fleet Police Station50
Extra dwellings at Landata House28
Total1,688

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

The Bramshill House and Fleet Police station sites were not included in the SHLAA.

The Stonegate report identified 370 units at Ancell’s Farm in Fleet, 200 units at Bartley Wood in Hook and a further 220 units on Fleet Road in Fleet.

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

Derelict Offices in Fleet, Hampshire

However, the proposals for Ancells Farm cover only 7 of the 23 office buildings in the business park which shows that there is additional capacity there.  Moreover, there are even more vacant office blocks in Hook so there is more capacity there too.  Of course, across Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor, there is currently 500,000 sq m of vacant office space, and forecasts for even more vacancies, so there is no danger of restricting jobs growth by redeveloping offices.

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

Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

Brownfield site: Hartland Park (Pyestock) near Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire, warehouse development not started

Moreover, these figures do not include the massive potential of the 119 acre Hartland Park (or Pyestock) site where planning permission for a big warehouse was given years ago, but no activity is visible.  Surely, the developers of this site want to earn some return on their investment and would change to residential.

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

It is clear that it is easily possible to meet the entire remaining of 3,574 from brownfield alone.  It will take some creativity and energy, but a combination of increasing density and allocating more vacant offices is easily within reach, so we don’t need a new town and can protect our countryside.

We have put proposals to Hart Council to include a formal brownfield option in their forthcoming consultation on the Hart Local Plan.  Please support us by coming along to the Hart Cabinet on 1 October where Hart’s response to the We Heart Hart petition will be agreed.

Petition Response: We don’t need a new town

Cows in Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

Do we want to lose our cows to concrete?

As we posted earlier, we have submitted the We  Hart petition with 2,130 responses to Hart District Council and the council have set out the process by which they will consider the petition.

We have drafted some suggestions as to how the council should respond  and sent them to Council leader, Stephen Parker.  We have a chance to put these ideas to Cabinet on 1 October at 7pm.  Please tell us if you are coming along to give us your support and please e-mail your councillors to ask them to support these proposals and incorporate them into the forthcoming consultation about the Local Plan.

The full set of suggestions can be found here.

If the council implements all of the ideas we have put forward, there will simply be no need for a new town, in Winchfield or anywhere else. Especially if you consider the following:

 

Petition Response: Make the most of brownfield land

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Old Police Station in Fleet, Hampshire

As we posted earlier, we have submitted the We  Hart petition with 2,130 responses to Hart District Council and the council have set out the process by which they will consider the petition.

We have drafted some suggestions as to how the council should respond  and sent them to Council leader, Stephen Parker.  We have a chance to put these ideas to Cabinet on 1 October at 7pm.  Please tell us if you are coming along to give us your support and please e-mail your councillors to ask them to support these proposals and incorporate them into the forthcoming consultation about the Local Plan.

The full set of suggestions can be found here.

The suggestions in this post relate to making the most of the brownfield opportunity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the light of this, we welcome the paper that has been put before Cabinet, signalling the more positive approach that the council proposes towards building housing on previously developed land.

We would ask though, that you consider some further steps from our 5-point plan:

  • Creating a new, formal “reasonable suitable alternative” option of meeting the remaining housing allocation solely through brownfield development.  This option should appear in the consultation paper.
  • Creating a complete database of all of the potential brownfield sites in the district, including those not in the October 2014 SHLAA and those not yet formally promoted to the council, including sites such as Bramshill House, Pyestock, Sun Park, Ancells Farm, Bartley Wood, Fleet High St, Fleet Police Station and all of the run down town centres (e.g. Fleet, Yateley, Blackwater and Hook).
  • Inviting leading architects to compete to produce some visionary outline schemes of what a “brownfield solution” might look like for the district, taking into account changing demographics, changing shopping habits driven by the internet and achievable housing densities.
  • Organising a conference with the architects, land owners, developers and local community representatives with the objective of identifying the art of the possible for brownfield development amongst the competing solutions from the architects.

 

 Employment Space (sq m)
Overall Requirement to 2032 (a)266,368
Current vacant space (b)527,840
Sites with planning permission (c)338,187
Surplus in 2032 (b+c-a)599,659

 

 

We Heart Hart to present to Odiham Parish Council

Odiham High Street, Hart District Hampshire

Odiham High Street, Hampshire

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

We Heart Hart presentation to Odiham Parish Council

link