Hart Housing Target increased to 10,000

Hart Council goes through the looking glass as it ups the Hart housing target to 10,000

Through the looking glass as Hart housing target increases to over 10,000

We have gone through the looking glass as the Hart Housing target has been increased to over 10,000.

Hart has now published the document that will be discussed at Cabinet on Thursday 9 February. The main headlines are as follows:

  1. The Hart housing target has been increased to 10,077, with shall we say, questionable justification
  2. The proposed housing allocations are outlined, including a new settlement at Murrell Green

Hart housing target increased

The housing target has been increased to 10,077 as per the table below. This represents a 125% uplift on the 2014-based demographic projections.

ItemItem totalTotal
Housing demand as per 2016 SHMA8,022
Affordable housing rental uplift520
Rural exception site delivery50
Starter homes/shared ownership285
Market housing1,200
Total "Need"10,077
Completions 2011-2016(1,830)
Commitments (to 31 Jan 2017)(3,385)
Remaining to meet need4,565

This is a very questionable increase. The SHMA already factors in a 53% uplift on the ‘natural’ demographic projections, which would give a total requirement of 5,334 dwellings. But if they had used the more up to date 2014-based projections, the start point would fall to 4,473. If we were to use the raw 2014-based figures as our total housing target, we would have already built or permitted the total requirement.

Second, the justification to increase the total to 10,077 is to build 855 extra affordable/starter homes. But the overall increase is set at 2,055 because they don’t expect to build more than 40% affordable properties. This is simply absurd.

Figure 12.2 Stages of Objectively Assessed Need Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA

Third, the SHMA has already made allowance for extra affordable homes (as can be seen above), and then this has already been uplifted for extra so-called jobs growth, which themselves will deliver more affordable homes.  Hart Council seems to be adding uplift on top of uplift in a quite random and arbitrary way. We have already analysed the SHMA here and here.

Fourth, the paper itself says there is no well proven evidence-based formula to uplift the housing target. There is nothing in National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that requires the target to be uplifted in a mechanistic way. Nor that the requirements have to be met in full.

No need to increase the Hart Housing Target to meet afordable homes requirement

Hart Affordable housing uplift

In short, the proposed uplift is double counting uplifts that have already been made that we are under no obligation to meet anyway.

If we were to build at this inflated rate, then this would be carried forward and compounded in future demograpgic projections.

Housing Allocations

The paper sets out the proposed allocations to meet this fictitious target, including 1,800 new houses at Murrell Green.

Housing allocations to meet the Hart Housing Target

Hart District housing allocations

No mention is made of Bramshill or Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse), which are currently under consideration by the COuncil. Indeed we understand that the developers have appealed the Grove Farm application on the grounds of non-determination. Hart were already late in considering the application in December and cancelled the January meeting. Grove Farm is not on the agenda for the February meeting. It is difficult to see how they can defend the appeal.


Hart District Council is in a very perilous position. If it doesn’t get a Local Plan in place soon, it will lose around £2m per year in New Homes Bonus.

So everyone has a strong incentive to get a Local Plan. But by increasing the target to over 10,000 houses, everyone loses for decades to come.

It is difficult to work out the best way forwards. We could either wait until the Regulation 18 Consultation comes out in March and hope that we can influence matters for a better outcome. Alternatively, we can fight now for radical change of both the plan and the people running the process.

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


  1. Pingback: How should we deal with the 'housing crisis'? | We Heart Hart

  2. I worked with the Hart planning department for three years – yes that’s THREE YEARS – to try and build the solar farm and experienced delay, delay, delay, box ticking, demand for largely unnecessary expensive reports and at the end downright shenanigans and trivial obections designed to stop me – which they did. They know what I’m talking about because it’s all in writing. I complained bitterly in my appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

    I have talked to local developers who have been denied infill planning permission for what they consider nonsensical reasons and again delay, delay, delay on new builds. If there is even a sniff of bats you can expect delays, surveys and expense for such things as bat inspectors sitting outside the property for weeks on end.

    I don’t know what’s going on here but there doesn’t seem to be the will to serve the community.

    I am currently working on two solar installations in Kentish Town involving 18 apartments and everything seems to happen at lightning speed. In fact they effectively put me under pressure to get things done. Earlier this week I was given 7 days to install 500 metres of cable. It will be done by next Tuesday. Crane licences are granted within days. That’s London.

  3. Dystopian future, as authored by HDC. Probably leant on by a Conservative government to help deliver promises they cannot actually deliver. Quite why we need to appease HMG and build their bidding if there are empty speculative purchase apartments lying empty elsewhere?

  4. I should add that my 28 year old son has to commute from Fleet to Leadenhall Street every day because despite being a major player in reinsurance he still hasn’t accumulated enough cash to allow him to move to London where he obviously needs to be.

  5. Just listening to the Today programme where the research indicates that surplus housing is now at an all time high and we don’t need any more housing. It sounds counter-intuitive but when you consider that there are enormous unoccupied apartment blocks in our major cities owned by overseas speculators it becomes obvious. If we had a Trump this would be sorted out in a day.

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