Hart Local Plan still in disarray


Hart Local Plan still in disarray

The minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 5 January sadly show the Hart Local Plan is still in disarray.

Lack of clarity on extra 2,000 houses

The ‘topic paper’ about the extra 2,000+ houses sprung on members late last year has not yet been produced. It appears that the requirement for the extra houses was decided by an officer on his own initiative. However, it should more properly be a policy decision for members.

Uncertainty on testing of Winchfield New Town

There is still uncertainty about the level of testing that has been carried out in relation to the potential Winchfield New Town. This was the only option recommended for testing at the fateful council meeting in November 2014. The Local Plan Steering Group (LPSG) on 13 December 2016 agreed:

Further testing of a new settlement option would take place and be brought back for consideration

When challenged about this at Cabinet, the leader said:

Testing is a continual process as further information becomes available to us. The officers had tested a new settlement option, however officers had been asked to benchmark against work already completed for this site.

This sounds like bureaucratic gobbledygook and gives no clarity at all. Back in October, the unoffical news was that Winchfield New Town had failed testing. One wonders what exactly has been going on for the past two years.

Litany of Hart Local Plan delays

Apparently, the already delayed Local Plan, will be delayed by a further 4-6 weeks whilst this new ‘testing’ is carried out. Presumably, the consultation will not now happen until March or April this year.

This is the latest in a long line of delays:

In October, 2013, when the earlier version of the Hart Local Plan was rejected by the planning inspector, the council said:

“Cllr Parker said that while the council operates under the interim strategy, it is working on an updated Local Plan.

“We expect to put this out for consultation early next year, and would look to submit it to an inspector next autumn[2014],” he added.”

In April 2014, the plan was to have a resubmission plan ready for consultation in October 2015.

By February 2015, the plan was to have a resubmission plan ready for Autumn 2015.

The plan was delayed yet again in April 2016, with the timetable clearly stating that a draft version of the Local Plan would be published in September 2016.

When we reached August 2016, the timetable slipped again, pending the arrival of the new SHMA.

Finally, in November 2016, the consultation version of the Hart Local Plan was due to be published on 3 February 2017.

Our best estimate of of the timetable, with the plan and slippage since April 2016 in brackets is as follows:

Consultation Draft Hart Local Plan – March/April 2017 (Summer 2016, 8 months slippage)

Submission Plan – July 2017 (Autumn 2016, at least 8 months slippage)

Submit to Secretary of State – TBA (Winter 2016, unknown slippage)

Examination – TBA (Spring 2017, unknown slippage)

Adoption – TBA (Summer 2017, unknown slippage)

Education funding climb down

In other news, Hart District Council was forced into a humiliating climb down on its stance on S106 contributions for education. All funds raised from developers must now be remitted to Hampshire County Council (HCC). HCC will now be a party to all agreements about education funding.


The minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 5 January 2017 can be found here.

The minutes of the LPSG held on 13 December 2016 can be found here.

The paper about S106 education provisions can be found here.


Posted in Hart District Council, Hart Local Plan, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , .


  1. Pingback: New SHMA published: housing target rises despite falling population projections | We Heart Hart

  2. Is there am Ombudsman that covers council mismanagement? Who regulates a council? I think it’s time to try and force them to stop acting in self interest and do what is right for Hart

  3. Surely this can’t be allowed to go on any longer. How do we force these jokers out? These councillors obviously don’t have the knowledge or skills to do the job. If this was a business they’d have been sacked months ago.

    • Is it the councillors, or the planning department/planners that are responsible for this disgrace? Whoever/whichever they are, they should all be held to account. Sadly, if the councillors were all dismissed, would anyone bother to vote in a local election to replace them? If the planners were to be sacked, how could we be sure that anyone better would be appointed? I have always believed that it is our elected representatives who carry local opinion to the council officers who ‘should’ carry out the electors’ wishes! Pipe dream! Bunch of inefficient folk here, I’m afraid.

  4. It is quite shocking that this is allowed to continue. The waste of our council tax money is a disgrace. Sadly there seems to be no accountability. Personally I would sack the lot and have an election – I have absolutely no confidence in HDCs ability to manage anything.

  5. thank you David, this was an interesting early morning read! As someone who is interested in the education system (but thankfully has only a limited participation in it – time-wise) it is a little concerning that the free school system seems to be encouraged in a slightly underhand way. I believe that they (free school) were intially announced as being ‘power to the parents’, where parents and other interested parties could set up schools based on their educational preferences. This document suggests that free schools and free school funding should be built/sought wherever and whenever there are insufficient school places. I did wonder how the proposed Pale Lane development justified a new primary school, given that there are plans for only 700 houses, which would, at the very most, fill a 1 form entry school, and very likely not have enough children. I’m guessing that free schools don’t operate under the same financial constraints that ‘normal’ state schools do.

    • As I understand it, Free Schools are funded directly from government. They do, however, need to be organised by parents and other interested parties(!) and plans have to be submitted to the relevant government departments before permission to start-up is agreed. So, in the meantime, given a development of, say, 700 houses (or even 4,000!) families will have to find somewhere for their children to be educated. This alternative would mean the ‘normal’ state schools as you suggest. In our case, Hampshire County Council would be the provider and who knows if they have the funding to build extra school places, both primary and secondary. Furthermore, schools need teachers – a rare commodity in this part of Hampshire where property prices are so high and salaries barely meet living costs.

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