Local Plan misses opportunity to regenerate urban centres

Hart Local Plan to regenerate urban centres

Hart Local Plan to regenerate urban centres

The consultation on the Draft Local Plan misses an opportunity to regenerate urban centres in Hart District.

This is contrary to Para 131 of the Plan that says “The delivery of town centre redevelopment opportunities must be a priority”. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) indicates (paragraph 23) that planning policies should promote competitive town centre environments and set out policies for the management and growth of centres over the plan period.

This can be best illustrated by using Fleet as an example.

Fleet is the lowest density town of its size in the country. The chart below that there is significant scope for increasing development density in Fleet.

Fleet housing density versus towns of similar size

Fleet housing density versus towns of similar size


The retail offer in Fleet is poor, the cultural facilities (e.g. Harlington Centre) are outdated and there is no proper cinema.

Fleet Health score versus benchmarks

Fleet Health score versus benchmarks


However, Fleet has the highest average earnings per person of comparative towns by quite a large margin (eg 9% more than Camberley). High earnings should give Fleet a significant advantage over the comparison towns.


Fleet earnings versus competitors

Fleet earnings versus competitors

The Local Plan Vision and Objectives fail to take advantage of the opportunity to modernise Hart’s urban centres while at the same time protecting Hart’s countryside.

We believe that the Vision for the Local Plan should be centered on the proposition that Fleet and other urban centres will be re-generated. With Hart District Council’s full and active support, a plan based on urban regeneration would achieve the following benefits:

  1. An ambitious Hart Urban Re-generation Project (HURP) would attract private investment and thus be affordable
  2. Private investment would allow for Hart’s infrastructure to be upgraded in line with the urban re-generation
  3. Good urban design principles would achieve a higher population density in the urban centres while at the same time providing an improved ‘sense of place’ and making the urban centres more desirable places to live.

A similar approach could be adopted in Yateley to provide a proper retail-led centre and improvements could be made to Blackwater. The requirement for additional retail facilities in Hook, identified in the Local Plan could also be met.

Apparently, Hart did have a plan to conduct a brownfield study to evaluate the ‘art of the possible’ in our urban centres. This project has not delivered.


In addition, Yateley lacks a defined centre, Blackwater is indistinct and Hook lacks good quality restaurants and shopping facilities.

The council should be setting out a bold plan to improve the retail, cultural and recreational amenities in the district. We should also develop plans for a theatre and cinema in Fleet as part of an attractive mixed-use redevelopment. There will be significant cash available from developers to fund such an ambitious plan.

Moreover, the council should work collaboratively with developers to regenerate other urban areas such as Blackwater and redevelop the centres of Yateley and Hook.

Please ask the council to think again  by downloading the link below and review our suggested comments on the draft Local Plan. Please do make amendments into your own words and submit it to [email protected] before the deadline of 5pm on 9th June 2017. All of the Council’s consultation documents can be found here.

Response to the Hart Draft Local Plan Consultation
Response to the Hart Draft Local Plan Consultation
Posted in Hart District Council, Hart Draft Local Plan Consultation, Hart Local Plan, Urban Regeneration, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. The buildings next door to those shown are having something done to them, but those two buildings pictured are, if anything, in a worse state than when I took the picture. I drove past this morning to check.

  2. Agreed, that is a common good approach and one I support David in. What I find unhelpful are the posts that keep aiming the bulk of the development in east hart. Even the picture that keeps getting used to emphasise Fleet needing redevelopment is out of date as that row is already being redeveloped.

  3. All towns and villages should take a proportion in comparison to their population growth, you would not expect Fleet to take London’s growth and why should smaller villages in Hart take Fleet’s growth. Also people do need to Accept Fleet is one of the biggest “Urban” Settlements in the area. I expect as well that per person per hectare your probably find Winchfield is probably denser, as villages tend to be.

  4. However I do support some proportionate development in our villages. For instance I didn’t oppose Rifle Range Farm, Monachus House or Dairy Walk in Hartley Wintney.

  5. I believe the common good is served by preserving our green fields for everyone to use as an amenity. Decades of suburbanisation hasn’t worked. And it won’t work.

    The alternative to brownfield is urban sprawl.

  6. As a resident of Fleet, I quite like the low density. But you have given me an idea. Instead of pouring more concrete in Fleet, why don’t we pour the concrete in Hartney Whitney and perhaps Winchfield and increase their population density? After all, I don’t suppose they have a high density at present, perhaps even less than Fleet? Seriously, better still, let’s stop this obsession with imposing all the development misery on eastern Hart (and Fleet in particular) and work together for the common good. If you took this approach you might find you get a lot more support.

    • But your version of the common good is to poor concrete in Winchfield and join it up with HW . It’s not a witty ‘idea’ of yours, it is the actual proposal of e.g. CCH.

    • It’s not a witty idea of mine at all, I agree. It’s just merely a way of pointing out that the continual argument for east hart being the dumping ground for all the major developments, blighting the lives of the people of eastern Hart so that central and west hart can maintain their rural idylls is not a great way of getting support from east hart. The people in the east deserve to maintain their low population density, as much as anybody elsewhere in Hart.

    • Chris Blake since when has east fleet been the dumping ground for all major developments? If you are referring to pyestock then it is already developed. Factory, distribution centre or housing are the only realistic options. There is no chance it will restored back to green fields.

    • Just to clarify, east hart, not east fleet. As for Pyestock, it was a factory and is now an empty space that was slowly returning to nature. Developing it on the scale that is being proposed will damage a nature reserve and SSI, put more pressure on an area that struggles to cope with its population and generally blight many 1000s of peoples’ lives. The right thing to do is scale back the housing development and hand over much of the land to the nature reserve and support the developer in finding a more appropriate area. There was no chance while the conservatives were in power, and probably not a big chance of change now they aren’t. But there is a chance, however slim. If we all took the “no chance” approach, then groups like this would not need to exist because we’d all just roll over and accept what was imposed on us.

    • Chris Blake but that won’t happen. The owners won’t give it up and the council can’t afford to buy the land. Also where are the more appropriate areas? Green Fields? Some one else’s SSI? Unless the total numbers are reduced it will be green fields somewhere, and then the argument boils down to one NIMBY vs another.

    • James Renwick – I agree, which is why I continually argue on this group (which is supposed to be about Hart) to stop the nimby west vs east hart arguments and posts like the link that started this one. Just as I don’t want these over the top developments in the east, I equally don’t want to see them in the west.

    • Chris Blake don’t see how this article can be seen a nimby. Fact is Fleet is the biggest town in hart and compared many other towns of a similar size the town centre is not good. It does need redeveloping.

    • Interesting … this is the first time I’ve seen potential development as west vs east Hart! We should all be in this together, the green fields of North East Hants are vital to our well-being, surely the folk of Fleet and its surrounds enjoy the proximity of the countryside. If you pour concrete on it, then it’s gone … for good! Or, of course, we could get by with huge housing developments and wait until no one wants to live there anymore and it can crumble and, like, Pyestock, ‘return to nature’. Don’t think so.

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