Fleet and Crookham groups fail to oppose ridiculous housing target

The Scream - Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA

Fleet and Crookham groups fail to oppose ridiculous housing target

The responses to the draft Local Plan consultation have finally been published and it is clear that groups from Fleet and Church Crookham groups have failed to oppose the ridiculous housing target.

We have looked at the responses from the following groups and can find no mention of their objection to the housing target:

  • Face IT
  • Fleet and Church Crookham Society
  • Church Crookham Parish Council
  • Fleet Town Council

Many of these groups strongly oppose the now withdrawn Cross Farm proposal that was included as a strategic site in the draft Local Plan. Their message seems to be: go ahead and build thousands of houses we don’t need, but don’t put them in Fleet or Church Crookham.

Councillors fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Completely Concrete Hart CCH fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Community Campaign Hart CCH councillors fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Moreover, three Community Campaign Hart councillors have responded to the consultation without opposing the ridiculous housing target of 10,185 in the draft Local Plan:

Between them, these councillors argued for:

  • Fewer homes at the brownfield site Hartland Village (Pyestock), which would add to pressure for green field development
  • Dropping Murrell Green in favour of Winchfield East, even though the Murrell Green sites were in the area of search in the 2015 consultation (see image below)  and the Winchfield East sites fared less well in testing.
  • Removing Cross Farm from the Local Plan. This application for this site has now been withdrawn.

No wonder they are being nicknamed Completely Concrete Hart

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Area of search for Winchfield new settlement opportunity

Brian Blewett of the Liberal Democrats has also responded, supporting the position of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council and Neighbourhood Plan group. Neither of these groups opposed the housing target. As far as we can tell, Hook and Crondall Parish Councils did not oppose the housing target either.

We struggle to understand the logic of this position. We can’t understand why members who purport to stand for the good of the whole of Hart support the ridiculous uplift from the SHMA total of 8,022. The Government consultation is clear, Hart’ new housing need is going to be 6.132 units. The remaining target can be met from brownfield sites alone.

Some councillors and local groups oppose the ridiculous housing target

In better news, Andrew Renshaw, member for Hartley Wintney argued for a lower overall housing target. As did the following groups:

  • Crookham Village Parish Council
  • Dogmersfield Parish Council
  • Eversley Parish Council
  • Hartley Wintney Preservation Society
  • Odiham Society
  • Rotherwick Parish Council
  • Rural Hart Association
  • Whitewater Valley Preservation Society
  • Winchfield Action Group
  • Winchfield Parish Council

Alastair Clarke, chair of the Hart District Association of Parish and Town Councils (HDAPTC), also opposed the housing target in his personal response.

It’s great that such a diverse set of groups has seen the logic of opposing the ridiculous 10,185 housing target.

Conclusion

It is time all parishes and groups within Hart united behind the opportunity that the new Government consultation brings. This will benefit the whole of Hart and help stop the needless playing off of one parish against another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban areas not taking their fair share of development 2001-2032 Part 3

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Dispersal 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Dispersal 2001-2032

Our previous posts (here and here) about the level of development that will be faced by the different parishes under the different development proposals put forward by Hart District have been criticised for two reasons:

  1. That the parishes are grouped in to clusters and,
  2. That the analysis does not go back far enough in time

The answer to the first point is that unfortunately, Hart have only provided the development from 2011-2015 in the parish groupings shown, so there is no other way of presenting the data and still maintaining accuracy.

In answer to the second point, we have now incorporated the census data from 2001 into the calculations, so now it is possible to see the percentage increase in the same parish clusters from 2001-2032 and from 2011-2032.  The results in graphical and tabular form are shown above and below. This data for dispersal shows that Fleet, Church Crookham and Crookham Village will not take more proportionate development than many other areas of Hart such as Hook, Hartley Wintney and the “Other” rural districts.  But it does show that Yateley and Blackwater have taken least proportionate development over both time periods and the smaller rural districts would take a very large proportionate increase if this strategy were pursued to the fullest extent.

First, the dispersal approach, the graph is shown above, and the table below:

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Dispersal Table 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Dispersal Table 2001-2032

Second, the urban extension approach below. This shows that Hook will take the largest proportionate development using this approach over both time periods and Crookham Village will also see a very large proportionate increase in housing. Again Yateley and Blackwater are relatively unscathed, with the smaller rural districts taking relatively little proportionate development.  This would point towards a need for some more dispersal towards those districts, but not to the full extent described above:

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Urban Extensions 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Urban Extensions 2001-2032

 

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Urban Extensions Table 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District Urban Extensions Table 2001-2032

And finally, the new town approach. This shows again that Hook parish would bear a large proportionate increase in housing, plus the Winchfield part of “Others” would also bear a massive increase in housing, with Winchfield enduring a 6-fold increase during the plan period, with much more thereafter.

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District New Town 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District New Town 2001-2032

 

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District New Town Table 2001-2032

Proposed percentage increase in dwellings by parish in Hart District New Town Table 2001-2032

To us, this points to the need to redouble efforts to rebalance the housing proposals and redouble efforts to find a brownfield solution.

If you would like to ask Hart to abandon the new town and urban extension ideas and create a brownfield solution to our housing needs, 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 updated our 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

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

 

 

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.

Winchfield Action Group and We Heart Hart submit objections to Hart’s consultation process

Designated area of outstanding natural profitability

Designated area of outstanding natural profitability

As you may know, Hart Council is about to embark upon a new consultation about our housing options as part of the Local Plan process.  We Heart Heart and Winchfield Action Group (WAG) have significant concerns about the way this consultation has been constructed and submitted a number of detailed points to the council.  In addition, WAG will be making a statement at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow. Please do get involved with this consultation and respond to it using our guide on our dedicated page about this consultation here.

The main thrust of the objections is as follows:

  • Overall the consultation is too complicated and the instructions are not clear.  Given that a large number of submissions to the last consultation were invalid, this is a serious concern that needs to be addressed.
  • The Council have not explained why they have reduced the brownfield capacity of the district to 400 units when they said there was 1,800 as recently as October. The consultation also makes no reference to the fact that the Council is currently seeking more brownfield sites across the district.
  • The consultation unfairly biases its whole analysis towards the conclusion that we must build a new town in Winchfield.

There are also a number of other points made in the detail.

The statement and the detailed point can be found on the downloads below.

Statement to Hart Cabinet
 
Detailed feedback on Housing Options Consultation

Independent Expert says we are being asked to build too many houses

Time to celebrate we don't need so many houses

Time to celebrate: Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath don’t need so many houses

An independent expert, Alan Wenban-Smith has taken a look at our housing needs assessment and concluded that Hart District is being asked to build too many houses.  He says that the overall house-building rate for the combined area of Hart, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor should more than halve from 1,180 dwellings per annum (dpa) to 558 dpa, and that for Hart should fall from 370 to 268dpa.  This would reduce the overall housing need for the housing market area from 23,600 to 11,160 and that for Hart from 7,500 to around 5,500.  This calls into question the validity of carrying out a new “Housing Options” consultation now when there is serious doubt about the accuracy of the housing numbers we need to deliver. Please do get involved with this consultation and respond to it using our guide on our dedicated page about this consultation here.

This is very good news in that if this analysis is upheld at inspection it should lead to the following conclusions:

  • We can meet all of our remaining housing need from brownfield sites alone.
  • We definitely would not need a new town in Winchfield or anywhere in Hart, nor would we need any urban extensions.
  • The risk of needing to build 3,000 houses to cater for the unmet needs of Surrey Heath and Rushmoor should fall away.
  • There may be an opportunity to ask Surrey Heath and Rushmoor to build more houses for Hart, so we could keep our beautiful countryside.

Mr Wenban-Smith’s full report was commissioned by We Heart Hart and Winchfield Action Group can be downloaded here:

Critique of Hart SHMA

Critique of the Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA by Alan Wenban-Smith

The summary of his argument, together with the implications is discussed below:

The starting point for assessing housing need in Hart used the 2011-based population projections from the Government and then made a series of changes to extend those projections out to 2031; adjust for higher inward migration estimates and for smaller average household size.  These 2011-based projections have been superseded by more recent 2012-based figures that already make projections to 2031 and already include the adjustments made above.  The effect of this is to reduce the start-point considerably.

Hart has already commissioned a review of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) to take account of these latest Government figures and so should include this reduction.  We should know the results of this work early in 2016.  However, this does call into question the validity of conducting a new consultation now when the numbers are subject to such a large degree of change.

Then Mr Wenban-Smith challenges the jobs forecasts in the SHMA, concluding that the level of jobs growth we achieved in the period 1998-2008 would be a “good result” and the increases in jobs and houses needed to support economic growth should be reduced.

Finally, he then goes on to say that the level of house need shown in the SHMA cannot be delivered by the market.  If the amount of land required to meet the need is allocated by the council, then this will lead to housebuilders cherry picking the best sites and building at a rate that gives them most profit,  not at the rate required to meet the needs. So, he concludes that the level of housing proposed is unsustainable, and therefore contrary to the NPPF and should be reduced.  This is in-line with current guidance about SHMAs from the Planning Advisory service that says:

Based on these reasons, we conclude that the OAN should be principally understood as a measure of future demand rather than aspiration. Accordingly we propose a working definition as follows:

‘The housing that households are willing and able to buy or rent, either from their own resources or with assistance from the State’.

Housing targets systematically over-stating housing need

Is this what we want Hart to turn into?

Is this what we want our countryside to turn into?

A review of a sample of Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs) across the south of England has indicated that on average, local planning authorities are being asked to plan for 41.9% more houses than the needs identified by DCLG population projections. The consequence of this is it is likely that far more green field land is being allocated for housing than is necessary to meet our housing need.

Regular readers will know that for some time we have been concerned about the overall level of housing Hart District is being asked to deliver.  To this end,  we have been analysing our Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), and together with Winchfield Action Group (WAG), we have commissioned an independent look at Hart’s SHMA.

However, we have also been inspired by the work of Alan Wenban-Smith criticising the Vale of the White Horse SHMA. This has led us to take a look at a number of SHMAs around the area, comparing the starting point of the official Government population and household forecasts to the end point of the recommended housing need after taking into account a number of additional elements like additional inward migration to the area, affordable housing, changes in average household size and jobs forecasts.

The findings are quite alarming and lead to a number of conclusions, some of which should be relevant for national planning policy.

We have looked at 6 SHMAs covering large areas of Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Oxfordshire.  Overall the total “starting point need” for these areas is 272,200 houses, and the end point “need” is 386,286 houses, or an uplift of 41.9%.  This is shown in the table below:

 

SHMA AreaLoca Authorites coveredAuthorStarting year yearEnd point yearStarting point "need"Ending point "Need"% Uplift over starting pointNotes
Total27220038628641.9
HRSHHart, Rushmoor Surrey HeathWessex Economics20112031158002360049.4Starting point is 2011 DCLG and SNPP projections
South HampshirePortsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Chichester, Bognor Regis, Southampton (West Centre), Southampton (East), Winchester, Eastleigh, Lymington, Totton, HavantGL Hearn201120368710513161151.1Starting point is 2011 DCLG and SNPP projections
East HampshireEast HampshireNathaniel Lichfield & Partners201120288105960518.5Start point 2010 SNPP
WaverleyWaverleyGL Hearn201120317670940022.6Start point 2011 SNPP and CLG projections
BerkshireBracknell Forest, Reading, West Berks, Wokingham, Slough, South Bucks, RBWMGL Hearn201320369577211201017.02012-based SNPP
OxfordshireCherwell, Oxford, South Oxon, Vale of White Horse, West OxonGL Hearn201120315774810006073.32011-based projections

 

The DCLG population and household forecasts “are statistically robust and are based on nationally consistent assumptions“, so the net effect of adjustments across all SHMAs should be close to zero.  If this sample is indicative of what is going on across the country, then councils will be planning for far more houses than we need and as a consequence will be allocating for development far more green field land than is necessary to meet our housing requirements, with disastrous consequences for our countryside. Current housing delivery is around 150K per annum, and the DCLG figures suggest an underlying need of 220K per annum. If my analysis of this sample is indicative of what is going on across the whole country, councils will end up planning for about 312K houses which would be a big waste of national resources.

We would like to see this analysis repeated on a national basis.  However, an FOI request to the DCLG has not been successful because they don’t collate this data at a national level.  For a Government that wants to focus on brownfield development, this looks to us to be a reckless omission.

The SHMAs on which this analysis is based are:

Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath, here.

South Hampshire, including Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Southampton, Eastleigh and Havant, here.

East Hampshire, here.

Waverley, here.

Berkshire, here.

Oxfordshire, here.

 

 

Hart District Council Offices, We Heart Hart. We Love Hart

Power over the Hart Local Plan concentrated in urban councillors

 

Hart District Council Offices

Hart District Council Offices

It has emerged from answers to Winchfield Action Group’s questions at last week’s Hart District Council meeting that the Hart Local Plan Steering Group (LPSG) is made up largely of urban councillors and all of them voted in favour of keeping Winchfield as the only new settlement option for testing back in November 2014.  The full Q&A can be found here.  The question and answer about the composition of the LPSG is shown below:

Question 2

Could the Council confirm who are the members of the core strategy team in HDC, both elected and officers, who are formulating the Local Plan and their respective responsibilities?

SP response

Local Plan Steering Group comprises:

Cabinet Member for Planning (Chairman) Stephen Parker (Con)
The Leader of Council As above
Cabinet Member for Housing Stephen Gorys (Con)
Chairman of Planning Committee Simon Ambler (CCH)
Political Group Leaders David Neighbour (Lib Dem)

James Radley (CCH)

Officers:

  • Joint Chief Executive – Daryl Phillips – Project Sponsor
  • Planning Policy Manager – Daniel Hawes, (supported by a  Principal Planning Policy Officer and a Planning Technician) – responsible for delivery of [the] local plan

All of the councillors above, except for Stephen Gorys (Odiham, Hampshire ward), represent urban areas in the district.  It is also worth noting that Stephen Parker is council leader, the cabinet member for planning and leader of the Conservative group and so takes 3 of the 7 available positions on the LPSG as just one person.

This looks to us like an unhealthy concentration of power in too few hands and the members of the LPSG cannot be said to be representative of the whole of Hart.  Moreover, the Local Plan project is massively behind schedule with more delays announced only last week.

Surely, it is time for the composition of the group to change to bring in more fresh ideas, project management experience and achieve a better balance between urban and rural councillors.

 

Hart District Council ‘brownfield first’ commitment in tatters

Vacant brownfield Block at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hart District, Hampshire

Vacant Office at Ancells Farm, Fleet, Hampshire

In an astonishing admission, Hart Council have said that they do not track planning applications for brownfield site developments separately to green field developments.  This comes on top of their insistence that they do not need to build a register of brownfield sites in the district and their inadequate classification of sites in the SHLAA.

Taken together, these make a mockery of the council’s supposed commitment to a ‘brownfield first’ strategy.

The admission came in answers to questions put to the council by Winchfield Action Group at the council meeting last week on 24 September.  The full Q&A can be found here.  The brownfield topic is quoted below in full (my emphasis added):

Question 8

How many units have been applied for or granted or identified, and their locations and categories, as possible conversions or developments on brownfield sites since October 2014?

SP response

With regards solely to conversions allowed through permitted development rights:

At 14th September 2015, there were 258 dwellings approved through the permitted development/prior approval notice procedure the bulk of which are conversions from offices to residential.  5 units were completed in the year 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.  This information is published on Hart’s website.

These figures exclude brownfield sites that require planning permission, because those are not currently split between greenfield and brownfield developments.  We do need to be mindful that as yet the PDR regime closes next May, and it is now way too late for a developer complete any such conversion if not already started.  You will however note the brownfield provisions on today’s council agenda, which we will be discussion later this evening.

You will note that the question was not properly answered.  It was designed to get the council to confirm the figures we have put together regarding the available capacity on brownfield sites.

However, in better news, it emerged that there are only 2,900 dwellings left to grant permission for up to 2032.  This almost certainly means that there is now more brownfield capacity than the remaining housing target in the Hart Local Plan.

Question 9

Of the 7534 housing target set out in the SHMA, what is the residual requirement left that need to be granted planning permission?

SP response

At 14th September 2015 the residual requirement to 2032 was approximately 2,900 dwellings needed to meet Hart’s housing needs as identified in the December 2014 SHMA, although we will be required to refresh this document before we go to Examination.  However I should point out that this figure does not allow for any unmet need arising in Rushmoor and Surrey Heath that we may have to meet under the provisions of the Duty to Cooperate.  Rushmoor currently say they have a 1,600 dwelling shortfall although as I have said previously, Hart has challenged that figure

It is clear that we don’t need a new town in Winchfield, Hampshire or anywhere else.

 

Hartley Wintney councillors furious over Hart Council news ‘propaganda’

Fury over council news propaganda Fleet News and Mail

Fury over council news propaganda

Councillors for Hartley Wintney ward, Anne Crampton, Andrew Renshaw and Tim Southern have expressed their fury to the Fleet News and Mail about the way Hart  District Council expressed a preference for a new town in Winchfield in the latest edition of Hart News, even though the testing process is not yet complete.

Hart Council said in their article about the Local Plan:

[Winchfield] has an existing station, and it is relatively free of environmental contraints. It is also close to the motorway which could also possibly allow for a new junction onto the M3.

Clearly major infrastructure improvements would be needed and it would be a large scale project that would fundamentally change that part of Hart

The councillors think that edition of Hart News should be pulped because they think it inappropriate for the council to be putting out only one side of the story when they are preparing to engage the public in another round of consultation about housing options.

Not only that, Hart have done very little work to quantify the infrastructure costs of such a development, but our estimate of £300m, taken together with the existing funding deficit of £78m would mean a new town is simply undeliverable.

This comes hot on the heels of the article by Hampshire County Councillor David Simpson in the local Liberal Democrat newsletter where he says “Winchfield is the wrong place for major development”

Hart Council cabinet is due to debate their response to the We Heart Hart petition tomorrow night at Hart Offices at 7pm.  Please do come along and support us.  Facebook invitation here.

Large image of the article here.

UPDATE: Same story now covered in GetHampshire