Hart Cabinet sell us down the river as they plan for 10,000 houses

Hart Cabinet sell us down the river by planning for far more houses than we need

Hart Cabinet plan for houses we don’t need

Hart Cabinet sold us down the river on Thursday night as they voted to plan for 10,000 houses to be built in Hart District in the period up to 2032.

Aside from vote on the paper some other interesting information was disclosed on a number of subjects:

  • Hart Cabinet vote on the 10,000 houses?
  • Do we need a secondary school?
  • Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) update
  • Hart Cabinet and Council politics

Hart Cabinet vote on the 10,000 houses?

Well, the short answer is we don’t. Our statement was received without challenge and was described as “informed” by the joint Chief Executive. There really is no answer to the points about double counting, nor the extra 1,200 houses on top of the alleged additional affordable housing requirement. To his credit, Ken Crookes asked some challenging questions. He didn’t really receive satisfactory answers.

The cabinet chose to plan for the extra 2,000 houses on top of those set out in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), even though Ken abstained.

The plan was supported by two cabinet members from Hook. They apparently favour a new settlement that will deliver more houses in Hook Parish. But they vehemently oppose the proposed new development to the west of Hook, that is outside the Thames Valley Heath SPA zone of influence.

There is a risk that Hart will no longer have a five year land supply, now it has agreed an uplift to 10,000 houses. Apparently, officers are working on a new document.

The leader and joint chief executive will now proceed to produce a draft Local Plan. A new consultation will be held on this draft will begin some time in March.

Do we need a new secondary school?

One of the justifications for the new settlement at Murrell Green is that the district needs a new secondary school. You may recall that the council voted on a resolution to include a secondary school in the Local Plan.

However, in his statement to cabinet, the joint chief executive said that although:

Hampshire County Council (HCC) welcome the principle of a new school site, the scale of growth envisaged in the Local Plan is not one that would require the delivery a new school in the planning period.

HCC is responsible for planning school places. But HCC is not responsible for delivering new schools as they will now be delivered as free schools, outside local authority control.

Apparently, Hart has also been offered secondary schools by the developers of Winchfield, West of Hook and Rye Common.

In other words, Hart has acted outside its responsibilities in resolving to deliver a site for a school and the authority responsible for planning school places don’t believe we need a new school. So, we are creating a new settlement to create capacity for houses we don’t need and a school we don’t need either.

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) update

In conversation we found out more about the Grove Farm application. The developer has now appealed this case on the grounds of non-determination.

Community Campaign Hart (CCH) screwing up Hart Planning since 2004

To re-cap, the Community Campaign Hart (CCH) chair the planning committee and failed to make a decision on the application at last December’s planning meeting. The council officers has recommended approval.

Hart is going to fight the appeal, probably on the grounds of wishing to maintain the Local Gap between Fleet and Crookham Village.

If Hart does lose its five year land supply, then this will make things difficult at appeal.

Apparently, the risk of losing £1.6m of New Homes Bonus has been mitigated because the indications from Government are that they are no longer going to push through those proposals.

However, there is still a significant risk that Hart will lose this appeal. The expectation is the appeal inquiry will be held in June, with a decision in August.

Hart Cabinet and Council Politics

We have now heard from several sources that one of the reasons Hart Cabinet appears to be so dysfunctional is that the ruling Conservative Party fears a vote of no confidence over the summer. This would entail CCH bidding to oust the Tories, presumably to be replaced by some sort of CCH/Lib Dem coalition. Maybe, the CCH coup is dependent upon the outcome of the Grove Farm appeal.

So, it appears as though we are planning for the extra houses to deliver a new settlement and secondary school we don’t need to appease CCH, who would prefer the new settlement at Winchfield.

It does seem very odd that we are having a new settlement forced upon us by dysfunctional politics.



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


  1. Is it not time that WE raised the funds to get professional advice on the legalities and planning numbers which would genuinely reflect Hart’s housing needs? Hart District Council planners and councillors are certainly not up to the game. David, you’ve done most of the work, it wouldn’t be too much for it to be legally presented to those who seemingly are unable to do the job.

  2. The peter principle applies to the boomerang, seesawing, discombobulated running of our ‘council’ and their -I say in the loosest context possible- planning ability. In a business environment they would be OUT.

  3. The whole thing is an absolute stitch up by people who have been promoted into jobs that are way beyond their level of competence. They flip from one “solution” to another without a clue, wasting time and our money. We need experts to sort this out, not career politicians. Do the maths, admit there is no need for 10,000 houses, that there is a brownfield solution, that any new town option requires investment in infrastructure before it’s built as our roads, rail and health services are beyond capacity already!

  4. Is it time for the people to rise up? Just who do they think they represent? Recent events show us what happens when those in power are out of touch with the electorate. ??

  5. This figure cannot be for Hart’s needs alone. Can this figure be subject to a legal challenge? Hart Dystopian Council members claim to love the place, then set about making sure the open spaces that make this place different to the likes of Reading, Basingstoke and Bracknell are lost. What are they thinking?

  6. Who knows. There would be a big risk they would have to re-write it, and that would be another delay. I don’t think there’d be much sympathy for them anywhere other than their Church Crookham heartland. But even there, if council tax goes up to fund lost New Homes Bonus, they would be in trouble.

  7. Assuming a CCH coup in the summer (however that would happen) would they have the ability to delay the local
    Plan even further and have it rewritten to remove Murrell Green and reinstate Winchfield?

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