Grove Farm development approved at appeal

Breaking News: Hart needs to build 1,500 fewer houses for the Local Plan

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) development allowed on appeal

The planning inspector has granted outline planning permission to the Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) development, between Fleet and Crookham Village. This comes as a blow to those of us who oppose green field development, so our commiserations go to those most affected by this decision.

Grove Farm - Netherhouse Copse appeal decision

The full decision can be found here.

Impact of Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) decision

It is early days to come to firm conclusions, but here are a few thoughts:

  • Costs. The appeal decision doesn’t talk about the costs of the appeal, but at the very least the council will have to meet its own costs. These are likely to be of the order of £100,000. This is a self-inflicted wound as it was the council itself that failed to make a decision on the planning application. This left the developer with little choice but to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.


  • Local Plan. This decision adds 423 houses to the housing supply that weren’t in the draft Local Plan. Theoretically, this could free up other sites that are in the Local Plan. Of course, if the council adopts the new Government methodology for calculating housing need, we certainly won’t need a new settlement now, and it is questionable whether even Hartland Village will be required. [Update 2] The finding that the polices are out of date and the level of housing supply is irrelevant makes it imperative that the council gets the Local Plan and associated policies in place ASAP [/Update 2].


  • Community Campaign Hart (CCH). This party will be particularly angry and disappointed at this decision. They also suffered setbacks with the recent decisions at Watery Lane, Crookham Park and Edenbrooke. However, to our knowledge, CCH have never challenged the ridiculous housing target. Now they are putting in place obstructions to brownfield development. Perhaps now is the time to rethink their strategy. They should focus on a sensible housing target and brownfield development.

We will provide further updates as we find out more information.

[Update 1]

Detailed findings from the Inspector

The decision rested on a number criteria. First, the inspector found limited impact on the Local Gap between Fleet and Crookham Village. Here is the Inspector’s summary:

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Local Gap decision

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Local Gap decision

Second, the inspector found no grounds to reject the application based on highway safety:

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Highway Safety decision

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Highway Safety decision

Third, the inspector found it to be very significant that most of the policies that the council relied upon for its defence were out of date:

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Out of date policies

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Out of date policies

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Out of date policies 2

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Out of date policies

Fourth, the inspector didn’t determine one way or the other whether the council has a five year land supply. Essentially, the five year land supply is irrelevant.

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Housing Supply Irrelevant

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Housing Supply Irrelevant

In summary, the inspector found significant economic benefits, and that the potential harms would not outweigh those benefits.

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Summary of decision

Grove Farm (Netherhouse Copse) Summary of decision

[/Update 1]


Posted in Brownfield Sites, Hart Local Plan, We Heart Hart Campaign, We Love Hart Campaign and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Hampshire plan challenges need for new Hart school places | We Heart Hart

  2. Sue, it’s a bit unclear. But Grove Farm is now extra supply into the LocalPlan, and Cross Farm has been withdrawn. It’s a net gain to the LP, so theoretically something else could come out.

    But the bigger impact is the new Government methodology for calculating housing need. This cuts 4,000 houses off what was in the LP. If that new method is adopted, we might not even need Hartland Village until the 2030’s.

  3. How will this affect the process of the LP David? Will these houses need to be added in to the draft, and Cross Farm and 300 others taken out before it goes to next stage of process. Will there be another consultation ?

  4. Once the new sewage installation in Hitches Lane was complete I thought the Grove Farm development would proceed because one of the grounds for refusing the initial application was inadequate sewage provision. The revised application was submitted a matter of weeks after the sewage thing was completed – says it all really.

  5. I wonder why the developers withdrew the cross farm appeal? Based on an, admittedly quick read of the outcome of this, they probably would have succeeded. There must be something going on?

  6. It was always going to be allowed. It was already written in stone. Those at the top have financial interests along with others. The whole debate and the appearance of a democratic decision is all a sham. It’s futile fighting it. Nothing comes in the way of profit, including the well being of an area and the striking beauty of our landscapes and wildlife. They couldn’t give a thought for any of that.

  7. To be honest, whilst always wishing the opposite, I did always think this would be granted. The application was recommended by officers and the council didn’t make a decision on time.

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