Impact of Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill on Hart

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - RIP Shapley Heath

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – RIP Shapley Heath

Earlier this week, the Government launched the long awaited Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The full Bill, all 338 pages of it, can be found here. A summary of the proposed measures can be found here. The interviews carried out by Michael Gove and the Bill itself had a number of potential impacts on Hart.

  • National Housing Target
  • Five-Year Land Supply
  • Neighbourhood Plans
  • Duty to Cooperate
  • Enhanced Environment Protection
  • Mandatory Infrastructure Contributions
  • Regeneration

On first examination, these look to be positive proposals for Hart, particularly in that they appear to weaken the case for Shapley Heath. The proposals also strengthen powers to drive regeneration of town centres, which should be good news for Fleet and its businesses.

Let’s go through the detail.

National Housing Target

Michael Gove gave a number of interviews about the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. On BBC Radio 4, he was repeatedly asked about whether the Government was sticking to the national housing target of 300,000 new dwellings per year. He refused to give a clear answer each time he was asked, saying he didn’t want to be “tied to a Procrustean bed”. Yes, we had to look that up too. Essentially, it means an arbitrary target. He also said that that while “arithmetic is important”, he was not “bound by one criterion alone”.

On the face of it, the Government is backing away from this target, which means that Hart’s housing target should fall from the current 286dpa.  However, the Telegraph reported that a Downing Street spokesman stressed the target remained – while saying it was important to build the right sort of houses.

So, this is not something we can bank on yet. However, the current Local Plan calls for 423dpa. We are currently building far more than that. It seems unlikely to us that the current target of 286dpa will rise, so the upcoming Local Plan review ought to relieve pressure into the future. This will make the claims that Shapley Heath is required even more difficult to sustain.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Five-Year Land Supply

Related to the housing target, the new Bill proposes to scrap the requirement for Councils to maintain a five year land supply.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - Five-Year Land Supply Requirement scrapped

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Five-Year Land Supply Requirement scrapped

However, this is conditional upon the Local Plan being up to date. By this they mean adopted in the past five years. To benefit from this proposal Hart will have to have an updated Local Plan in place by April 2025. Our current Local Plan is front-loaded, with completions falling below target beyond around 2026/27. This proposal should help with that problem.

At the very least, this Bill should scupper CCH’s “suicidal” plans to build Shapley Heath at a rate of 500dpa.

Neighbourhood Plans

The summary of the proposals says that neighbourhood plans will be strengthened to have equal weight with other planning documents.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - Neighbourhood Plans given equal weight

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Neighbourhood Plans given equal weight

On the face of it, this is a positive development because is inconceivable that Winchfield Parish Council would include Shapley Heath in their Neighbourhood Plan. However, this must be tempered by statement in the full Bill that seems to prohibit Neighbourhood Plans reducing the amount of housing a Local Authority can deliver.

Neighbourhood Plans Cannot Cut Housing for the Authority

Neighbourhood Plans Cannot Cut Housing for the Authority

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Duty to Cooperate

The current duty to cooperate requirement will be repealed and replaced with a more flexible alignment test.

Duty to Cooperate Repealed

Duty to Cooperate Repealed

This is a positive development, because the current Local Plan includes an allowance to build housing for Surrey Heath. This allowance was already under question because the housing target for both Surrey Heath and Rushmoor has been reduced. Rushmoor is building far more than it is now required to do and could easily take any unmet need from Surrey Heath. However, the requirement to build houses for neighbouring authorities appears to fall away. This is good news in that it reduces Hart’s housing target.

Enhanced Environment Protection

The Bill also seeks to enhance environmental protections.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - Enhanced Environmental Protection

Enhanced Environmental Protection

We know that parts of the Shapley Heath contain significant areas that are at risk of flooding. On the face of it, these proposals will make it harder to build in such an area. Moreover, the area contains SSSIs, SINCs and other protected areas. Enhanced environmental protections ought to help fend off proposals for Shapley Heath.

Mandatory Infrastructure Contributions

The Bill proposes changes to infrastructure funding. A new mandatory infrastructure levy is proposed to replace S106 contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy.

New Mandatory Infrastructure Charge

New Mandatory Infrastructure Charge

On the face of it, this seems to close the loophole where developers converting office blocks under permitted development rights were able to avoid infrastructure contributions. This should help the council adopt a better attitude to brownfield development.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Regeneration

New compulsory purchase powers are proposed in the Bill. These should help Councils rejuvenate town centres and regenerate brownfield land.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - Strong Support for Urban Regeneration

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Strong Support for Urban Regeneration

Taken together, these proposals should finally end the ridiculous proposals for a new town at Shapley Heath. There will no longer be any excuses for Hart not to come up with bold new plans to regenerate Fleet, Blackwater and Yateley. These urban centres should be the focus of the updated Local Plan so we can make Hart an even greater place to live.

Not Another One – Winchfield Floods Again 6 July 2021

Not another one - Winchfield Floods Again 6 July 2021

Not another one – Winchfield Floods Again

Not another one – Winchfield floods again! Yet another 1 in 30 year event hit Winchfield again yesterday. The photo shows the railway bridge over Taplins Farm Lane.

This comes despite the sustainability assessment claiming:

There was some evidence of wet ground at the far east of SHL183, but “no other obvious evidence of current or past flooding”.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 1

The detailed assessment also says there’s only a one in 30 year chance of surface water flooding.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 3

This is of course complete nonsense. The area of Taplins Farm Lane near the railway bridge flooded in February 2019April 2018 and three times in 2016 alone. Evidence documenting the 2016 flood events can be found here (4 Jan) , here (7 Jan)here (9 March on Station Road) and here (28 March due to #StormKatie).  We are also informed that floods also occurred on 21 Dec 2019 (see below), February 2020 (see below) and 15 Nov 2020 but don’t have pictures to document that event. These Winchfield floods are obviously more than one in 30 year events.

Taplins Lane flood 21 Dec 2019

Taplins Farm Lane flood 21 Dec 2019

Queens head Pilcott Feb 2020

Queens head Pilcott Feb 2020

Queens head pilcott Feb 2020

Queens head pilcott Feb 2020

Dogmersfield floods

Dogmersfield floods

Dogmersfield floods 3

Dogmersfield floods 3

Dogmersfield floods 2

Dogmersfield floods 2

Surely, everybody can see this area is not suitable for new housing. Let’s hope the Baseline Studies the Council has commissioned for Shapley Heath pick up on the flood risk.

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: Eastbound travel perhaps requires new road

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: Eastbound travel perhaps requires new road

We first raised issues about the Shapley Heath sustainable transport goals here. That post focused on the minor roads within the area of search. This post examines the major road network surrounding the proposed new development and the gaps in the network. The Shapley Heath Survey has a number of questions about “sustainable transport”. Interestingly, there’s not even an option to request improvement to local roads or to rail services.  When many people think of sustainable transport they think of walking, running and cycling. This can be for fitness, leisure, work or even light shopping.  So, it is worth exploring whether the road network in and around the area of search is capable of delivering the basics such as pavements and cycle paths.

The conclusion for the major roads is that significant investment will be required to alleviate congestion and provide adequate pavements and cycle paths.  Here is the overall assessment, followed by an examination of each road one by one.

Shapley Heath Major Road Issues - Overall Assessment

Shapley Heath Major Road Issues – Overall Assessment

Having read the rest of this article, you might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. This is your chance to make known your concerns about the proposals. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. The guide can be found on the download below. The full survey can be found here. The survey closes on 5 July.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

Eastbound Travel

Starting with the those people who might want to travel to Crookham Village, Church Crookham, Fleet or further afield to Farnham, Farnborough or Guildford. We have already established that Chatter Alley, which is only single lane in places with no cycle path or pavement is totally unsuitable for a massive influx of new cars and people. Similarly, Pale Lane is too narrow. So, that raises the possibility of a new road from the eastern tip of the area of search to Hitches Lane. This would help access to Fleet and the Crookhams. This is shown on the image at the top of this post. It would need to be a proper 2-lane road with cycle paths and at least one pavement. Sadly, it would cut through part of the Edenbrook Country Park, but we can think of no other way of directing the extra traffic from 5-10,000 new houses eastbound.

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: A287

A287

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: A287

Moving clockwise, the next major road is the A287. The junction with the B3016 Odiham Road is already dangerous. So, there would need to be a new roundabout across the dual carriageway there. The rest of the road is suitable for busy 2-way traffic, but there’s no pavement or cycle path for much of the length of the road. That means this road would need to be widened to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. And the roundabouts to Odiham and North Warnborough would probably also need to be improved.

M3 Junction

M3 Junction

M3 Junction

Prior studies into a Winchfield new town have raised the possibility of a new motorway junction. This seems unlikely on cost grounds, which means that significant improvements to Junction 5 of the M3 will be required. There is a rudimentary pavement across the junction that can also be used by cyclists, but it is quite dangerous. The pavements on the approach roads are also poor with scant provision for cyclists.

Hook Roundabouts

Hook Roundabouts

Hook Roundabouts

There is little provision for pedestrians on the B3349 from the M3 to Hook and no cycle lane. The roundabout already gets busy so would probably require improvement if Shapley Heath gets built. The other roundabout on Griffin Way South has poor provision for walkers and cyclists and would also need to be improved. Similarly, the roundabout with the A30 would need to be improved, especially as more houses are already being built near there.

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: A30 London Road

A30 London Road

A30 London Road

The A30 does have a pavement/cycle path between Holt Lane and the turning for Borough Court Road. However, elsewhere the pavement provision is poor. There is room for a cycle path on the dual carriageway part, but not elsewhere. Presumably a new access road will be built to access the Murrell Green part of the development, so a new roundabout across the dual carriageway will be needed.

Hartley Wintney Junctions

Hartley Wintney Junctions

Hartley Wintney Junctions

There are pavements at each of the junctions in Hartley Wintney, but no cycle lanes. However, main road through Hartley wintney gets very busy already, so significant improvements will need to be made at the following junctions:

  • A30/Dilly Lane & Thackham’s Lane
  • A30/B3011 Bracknell Lane
  • A30/A323 Fleet Road

It’s not at all clear if there is enough space to make significant improvements such as adding extra lanes.

Shapley Heath Major Road Transport Issues: A323 Fleet Road

A323 Fleet Road

A323 Fleet Road

It is already almost impossible to turn right out of Church Lane on to Fleet Road, so this junction would need to be improved, perhaps with a roundabout. The stretch of the A323 from Hartley Row Park to the M3 bridge would need widening and improving because it has no pavements and no cycle lane. The junction with Pale Lane would also need to be improved, probably with a roundabout.

 

Walk for Winchfield

Walk for Winchfield

Walk for Winchfield

The CPRE, the Countryside Charity, has organised a “Walk for Winchfield” on 25th July 2021 at 2.30pm. The route covers much of the area proposed for the Shapley Heath Garden Community. This is a chance to appreciate wildlife and countryside that might be lost if this project were to go ahead.

It starts at the Basingstoke Canal car park opposite the Barley Mow pub. The walk starts along the canal (see map and detailed instructions on the download below). It later passes the delightful St Mary’s Norman church, then along Bagwell Lane and beside Odiham Common. After crossing the B3016, the walk continues to Totters Lane, up to the old railway bridge high over Winchfield cutting, then down the bridleway towards Murrell Green. It turns off through fields and woodlands back to the B3016, then on to Winchfield Station. The route then completes by going down Station Road to the footpath up to Taplins Farm, then along Taplins Farm Lane to Winchfield Hurst to complete the circuit at the Barley Mow. Most of the route is on footpaths, but there are a few stretches on quiet roads without pavements.

With the wet summer, long trousers and stout footwear are recommended. There will be a competition for the best photograph of views or wildlife that might be lost.

There is Facebook Event set up for the walk. Please indicate your interest, so the organisers can keep track of how many people want to come along: https://www.facebook.com/events/343895127298516/

There is also a not-for-profit online shop where you can purchase merchandise to express your support: https://shop.spreadshirt.co.uk/say-no-to-shapley-heath/all

We hope to see you there on the day.

A map and detailed route instructions can be found on the on the download below:

Walk for Winchfield

 

You might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. This is your chance to make known your concerns about the proposals. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. The guide can be found on the download below. The full survey can be found here. The survey closes on 5 July.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

Are Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Deliverable?

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Overview

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Overview

The Shapley Heath Survey has a number of questions about “sustainable transport”. Interestingly, there’s not even an option to request improvement to local roads or to rail services.  When many people think of sustainable transport they think of walking, running and cycling. This can be for fitness, leisure, work or even light shopping.  So, it is worth exploring whether the road network in and around the area of search is capable of delivering the basics such as pavements and cycle paths.

Sadly, the conclusion is a resounding “No”. Overall none of the roads into, out of or through the area of search are capable of sustaining busy 2-way traffic, a pavement on at least one side of the road and even a single cycle lane. Here is the overall assessment, followed by an examination of each road one by one.

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Overall Assessment.

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Overall Assessment

Having read the rest of this article, you might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. This is your chance to make known your concerns about the proposals. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. The guide can be found on the download below. The full survey can be found here. The survey closes on 5 July.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

B3016/Odiham Road

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals B3016 Odiham Road

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals B3016 Odiham Road

Starting with the busiest road in the area of search. The B3016/Odiham Road does have a pavement from the A30 to Station Road and this pavement is also designated as a cycle path. There is also a pavement from Bagwell Lane to the A287. However, for the rest of the length of the road, there is no room for either a pavement or a cycle path. There have been fatal accidents on this road, so it is questionable whether it is even suitable to take the extra car traffic from 5-10,000 houses.

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals: Station Road

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Station Road

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Station Road

There is a pavement for the short distance from the B3016 to Winchfield Station. The rest of the road is barely capable of taking two way traffic. Of course, there’s a narrow tunnel under the railway too. There is no room for a pavement or cycle path.

Bagwell Lane

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Bagwell Lane

Bagwell Lane

The road is barely suitable for occasional 2-way traffic. There’s no pavement and no room for a cycle path along any of its length. There is also a narrow bridge over a water course.

Taplins Farm Lane

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Taplins Farm Lane

Taplins Farm Lane

Overall Taplins Farm Lane is barely suitable for 2-way traffic. There is a narrow tunnel under the railway and a blind bend. The bridge over the M3 does have pavements. But there is no pavement anywhere else on the road. There is not enough space for pavements or cycle paths along the rest of the length of the road. When it becomes Church Lane and passes Hartley Wintney it remains a narrow road, with an awkward turning on to the A323.

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals: Pale Lane

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Pale Lane

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Pale Lane

Pale Lane is a narrow lane, barely capable of taking occasional 2-way traffic. There is a narrow tunnel under the railway and a narrow bridge over the River Hart. There is no space for a proper 2-way road and no room for pavements or a cycle lane.

Chatter Alley

"Shapley

The road out of the area of search towards Dogmersfield and Crookham Village is Chatter Alley. This is a narrow road with pinch-points to stop 2-way traffic. There is a short stretch of pavement near the school. There is no space for proper 2-way traffic and no room for a cycle lane or pavements along the rest of the length of the road.

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals: Pilcot Road

Shapley Heath Sustainable Transport Goals Pilcot Road

Pilcot Road

Pilcot Road is another narrow lane with a bridge over the River Hart and a pinch-point to stop 2-way traffic. The stretch up to Crookham Village does have a pavement, but the rest of the road doesn’t and there’s no room for a cycle path.

Totters Lane

"Shapley

This is a narrow road for most of its length and not capable of carrying 2-way traffic. There is also a tight, narrow bridge over the railway. The widest part of the road under the M3 does have a pavement.  However, the rest of the road is not wide enough for a pavement or cycle lane.

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

This article builds on our earlier post setting out the green case against Shapley Heath. We have been inspired by new research that shows the red list species that are found in Winchfield.  New analysis shows that 26 of the 67 bird species on the RSPB Red List have been spotted in Winchfield parish.

Clearly building 5-10,000 houses in the Shapley Heath area will endanger these important species. Hart Council’s survey about Shapley Heath focuses on biodiversity as a key issue. It is mentioned in questions 19, 20 and 21. However, they fail to mention the damage that a new community will do to the existing ecosystems and the threatened species found there.

This seems odd given that Hart has its own Biodiversity Action Plan. But it seems they haven’t kept up to date with their promised monitoring reports. The Council even has a page dedicated to biodiversity that promises to

[Set] targets for biodiversity achievement in planning, site management and monitoring and education and awareness

Having read the rest of this article, you might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. This is your chance to make known your concerns about the proposals. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. The guide can be found on the download below. The full survey can be found here. The survey closes on 5 July.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

Winchfield Notable and Protected Bird Species

The current Winchfield Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) shows on p47 the notable and protected species identified by the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC).

Winchfield Notable and Protected Bird Species

Winchfield Notable and Protected Bird Species

This shows a total of 64 different species.

RSPB Red List

The RSPB helpfully produce a red list of UK birds. This contains 67 separate species.  To place a bird species on the Red List, the RSPB apply a set of strict criteria:

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

RSPB Red List Criteria

The criteria include population decline and contraction in breeding range. Clearly, building all over the Area of Search will contract the available space and may well kill-off the local population of these birds. The red list contains 67 different species.

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

By cross-referencing these lists, you can see the red list birds that make their home in Winchfield.

Shapley Heath Endangers Red List Birds

Red List Bird Species in Winchfield Neighbourhood Plan

This list contains 26 different species. So, nearly 39% of the species on the red list have been found in Winchfield parish. It would be an act of pure malice to destroy the habitat of these important birds.

Mammals Need Protecting Too

The WNP (p44) also says that Winchfield is home to five species of bats. All species of bats are protected in the UK.

Pipistrelle Bat found in Winchfield

Pipistrelle Bat found in Winchfield

Winchfield is also home to brown hares.

Brown Hare Found in Winchfield

Brown Hare Found in Winchfield

Hares are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. They are also a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. Surely a council committed to biodiversity wold not put these important creatures at risk.

 

Shapley Heath Mapgate: Council map hides the reality

Shapley Heath Mapgate - Coalescence

Shapley Heath Mapgate – Coalescence

They say a picture paints a thousand words. However, sometimes, what’s missing from a picture can tell you more than what’s in it. As you may know, Hart has published a survey about the proposed Shapley Heath Garden Community. There is a map associated with the survey that is published on the dedicated Garden Community website.

Shapley Heath #Mapgate - Heart Shaped Love It

Shapley Heath #Mapgate – Heart Shaped Love It

Note the soft boundaries, the warm orange dots and the attempt to make the boundary heart shaped, so you will subliminally love it. Of course the OS map on which it is based doesn’t include the Edenbrook development on the western Fleet boundary.

To combat this propaganda, Winchfield Parish Council has published some maps of its own, showing the impact of Shapley Heath should it ever go ahead. The first, at the top of this post, shows the potential coalescence with surrounding towns and villages. If they build in the NE zone, it will effectively join Fleet to Hartley Wintney. On the other hand, if they build in the NW, around Murrell Green, then it will coalesce Harley Wintney and Hook. If they build both sides, then effectively, Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Hook and the new town will become a single, large conurbation. We have previously termed this Hartley Winchook.

Shapley Heath Mapgate: Central Land Not Available

Shapley Heath #Mapgate - Central Land Not Available

Shapley Heath Mapgate – Central Land Not Available

The next map shows land ownership in the area of search. The areas in green are under the control of the developers. Land that is potentially available to the developers – presumably not yet under option – is shown in blue. The red zone is land that is not and never will be under the control of the developers. Areas of ancient woodland, shown in brown, cannot be developed either.

As can be seen, there’s vast swathes of land in the area of search that cannot be developed. This means they have to build either in the NW area, the NE area or both. But none of those options allows for a single coherent settlement. All three options lead to coalescence.

Shapley Heath Mapgate: Additional Constraints

Shapley Heath #Mapgate - Physical Constraints

Shapley Heath Mapgate – Additional Constraints

However, the constraints don’t stop there. When you add on the additional environmental items such as the Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), then the area becomes even more constrained. The physical constraints of the high-voltage electricity pylons, the high pressure gas main, the M3, railway line and the former landfill all add further restrictions on what is safe or sensible to develop.

Conclusion

If you display an anodyne map to the general population, they will form one view of the site under consideration. When faced with maps that actually convey real information, then perceptions can change markedly. We wonder why Hart Council aren’t taking more heed of the Inspector’s words when he examined plans for a new town in the same area as part of the Local Plan (our emphasis):

I have a number of fundamental concerns with regard to the soundness of Policy SS3.

There is little evidence to demonstrate that a site can actually be delivered in terms of infrastructure, viability and landownership within the identified AoS.

Policy SS3 is not required for the Plan to be sound and, in light of my comments above, I consider that the most appropriate course of action would be to remove it (along with any other necessary subsequent changes) from the Plan.

I am also mindful that following further work, there can be no guarantee that the evidence would support it as the most appropriate long-term growth strategy or that Policy SS3 would be found sound.

All of these issues are known, yet the Council is pressing on spending money they don’t have, on a project we don’t need and probably won’t work anyway.

Having read this article, you might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. This is your chance to make known your concerns about the proposals. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. The guide can be found on the download below. The full survey can be found here.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

Shapley Heath survey launched by Hart Council

Hart Council launch Shapley Heath Garden Community Survey

Hart Council launch Shapley Heath survey

We are sure readers will be as delighted as we are that Hart have launched another survey about the proposed Shapley Heath Garden Village. The survey is exploring the potential to build a new garden community in the Winchfield and Murrell Green area, with the working title Shapley Heath. The survey runs from 26 May through to 5 July and is supported by a new project website – hartgarden.community.

Readers may remember that Policy SS3, the policy that paved the way for a new town in the Winchfield/Murrell Green area was thrown out of the Local Plan by the Inspector. Yet, Hart Council have resurrected the plans, outside of the Local Plan process. They applied for funding support from Government and received a £150K grant in 2019. That bid was clearly for a new town of up to 10,000 houses.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses.

Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses

The main bid document clearly stated that this development would be in addition to the requirements of the Local Plan.

Shapley Heath in addition to Local Plan

Shapley Heath in addition to Local Plan

However, the Council is now insisting that they are testing a new community of  “only” up to 5,000 houses.

They have couched the survey in terms of “exploring the opportunity”, so there aren’t many options to express the view that you do not want this development to go ahead. However, there are some freeform questions that allow you to express your actual opinion.

The survey is around 24 questions, so please allocate 20-30 minutes for your response. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. It can be found on the link below. The full survey can be found here.

Shapley Heath Survey with Suggested Responses

 

#StormDennis dissolves daft Shapley Heath idea

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#StormDennis has taken its toll on Hart District. As far as we can tell, the worst hit area is around the mooted Shapley Heath/ Winchfield new town.  Here we have evidence of yet another of these supposed 1 in 30 year events. We drove around there this morning and found:

  • The river Whitewater had flooded by the A30 opposite the Crooked Billet. This is the area that is supposed to be Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG). The sort of area earmarked for country rambles and dog-walking. Definitely not water-skiing.

  • Totters Lane flooded at the top for quite a distance
  • Bagwell Lane in Winchfield flooded
  • Station Road flooded
  • Pilcot Road in Dogmersfield flooded
  • Hitches Lane in Crookham Village flooded near the new roundabout for the Grove Farm development. Who knows how the new residents are supposed to get out of their new houses.
  • Taplins Farm Lane flooded again. We didn’t even attempt to drive through in a 4×4.
Taplins Farm Lane Flood. #StormDennis.

Taplins Farm Lane Flood

  • #StormDennis also flooded Pale Lane and the fields either side. The west side is also supposed to be SANG for the proposed Shapley Heath development.

This latest flood comes in addition to the other floods we have recorded in the area. We have recorded flood events on 15 January 2020 (#StormBrendan), 20 December 2019,  4 February 2019,  in April 2018 and three times in 2016 alone. Evidence documenting the 2016 flood events can be found here (4 Jan) , here (7 Jan)here (9 March on Station Road) and here (28 March due to #StormKatie).

The Whitewater Valley Society have also reported that North Warnborough has been badly hit.

The actual weather has once again refused to comply with the flood assessment carried out for Hart Council as part of its evidence base for the Local Plan. The sustainability assessment claimed:

There was some evidence of wet ground at the far east of SHL183, but “no other obvious evidence of current or past flooding”.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 1

The detailed assessment also said there’s only a one in 30 year chance of surface water flooding.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 3

As far as we can tell, the road through the proposed development area and all roads out of the area were affected by the floods. Both SANG areas were also flooded.  When will Hart District Council see sense and abandon this daft project?

Winchfield Flooding Returns with #StormBrendan

Winchfield Flooding returned on 15 January 2020 with #StormBrendan.

It does appear as though these one in 30 year events are turning into 1 in 30 day events. The video above is of flooding on Taplins Farm Lane.

The Winchfield flooding also affected Bagwell Lane, which relatively recently had new drainage installed.  It doesn’t seem to be working.

Of course this is not the first time it has flooded on Taplins Farm Lane. We have recorded flood events on 20 December 20194 February 2019,  in April 2018 and three times in 2016 alone. Evidence documenting the 2016 flood events can be found here (4 Jan) , here (7 Jan)here (9 March on Station Road) and here (28 March due to #StormKatie).

It seems that the actual weather is stubbornly refusing to comply with the flood assessment carried out for Hart Council as part of its evidence base for the Local Plan. The sustainability assessment claimed:

There was some evidence of wet ground at the far east of SHL183, but “no other obvious evidence of current or past flooding”.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 1

The detailed assessment also said there’s only a one in 30 year chance of surface water flooding.

Winchfield Strategic Assessment - Flood Risk 3

Taplins Farm Lane and Bagwell Lane are in the middle of the proposed Shapley Heath development. The proposal to spend £150-650K of taxpayer funds does not include any work to assess or mitigate flood risk.

Shapley Heath work-plan doesn’t look at flood risk

Let us hope for a more sensible approach prevails. We are working on a revision to the Hart Local Plan. These will mean we avoid a new settlement anywhere in Hart, and won’t need large urban extensions either to at least 2041. Plus we get improved facilities in our urban centres.