Fleet and Crookham groups fail to oppose ridiculous housing target

The Scream - Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath SHMA

Fleet and Crookham groups fail to oppose ridiculous housing target

The responses to the draft Local Plan consultation have finally been published and it is clear that groups from Fleet and Church Crookham groups have failed to oppose the ridiculous housing target.

We have looked at the responses from the following groups and can find no mention of their objection to the housing target:

  • Face IT
  • Fleet and Church Crookham Society
  • Church Crookham Parish Council
  • Fleet Town Council

Many of these groups strongly oppose the now withdrawn Cross Farm proposal that was included as a strategic site in the draft Local Plan. Their message seems to be: go ahead and build thousands of houses we don’t need, but don’t put them in Fleet or Church Crookham.

Councillors fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Completely Concrete Hart CCH fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Community Campaign Hart CCH councillors fail to challenge the ridiculous housing target

Moreover, three Community Campaign Hart councillors have responded to the consultation without opposing the ridiculous housing target of 10,185 in the draft Local Plan:

Between them, these councillors argued for:

  • Fewer homes at the brownfield site Hartland Village (Pyestock), which would add to pressure for green field development
  • Dropping Murrell Green in favour of Winchfield East, even though the Murrell Green sites were in the area of search in the 2015 consultation (see image below)  and the Winchfield East sites fared less well in testing.
  • Removing Cross Farm from the Local Plan. This application for this site has now been withdrawn.

No wonder they are being nicknamed Completely Concrete Hart

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Area of search for Winchfield new settlement opportunity

Brian Blewett of the Liberal Democrats has also responded, supporting the position of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council and Neighbourhood Plan group. Neither of these groups opposed the housing target. As far as we can tell, Hook and Crondall Parish Councils did not oppose the housing target either.

We struggle to understand the logic of this position. We can’t understand why members who purport to stand for the good of the whole of Hart support the ridiculous uplift from the SHMA total of 8,022. The Government consultation is clear, Hart’ new housing need is going to be 6.132 units. The remaining target can be met from brownfield sites alone.

Some councillors and local groups oppose the ridiculous housing target

In better news, Andrew Renshaw, member for Hartley Wintney argued for a lower overall housing target. As did the following groups:

  • Crookham Village Parish Council
  • Dogmersfield Parish Council
  • Eversley Parish Council
  • Hartley Wintney Preservation Society
  • Odiham Society
  • Rotherwick Parish Council
  • Rural Hart Association
  • Whitewater Valley Preservation Society
  • Winchfield Action Group
  • Winchfield Parish Council

Alastair Clarke, chair of the Hart District Association of Parish and Town Councils (HDAPTC), also opposed the housing target in his personal response.

It’s great that such a diverse set of groups has seen the logic of opposing the ridiculous 10,185 housing target.


It is time all parishes and groups within Hart united behind the opportunity that the new Government consultation brings. This will benefit the whole of Hart and help stop the needless playing off of one parish against another.








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


  1. The problem is that this is not the government guidance but a consultation on draft government guidance. The consultation closes tomorrow 9th November. Therefore the earliest that we are likely see the next set of proposals will be late Q1 or probably Q2 2018 e.g. after we submit our local plan. Our local plan goes before a planning inspector and we all know the weight that a planning inspector puts on draft guidance under consultation from the Grove Farm appeal. Zero weight.
    That leaves us three options Use lower numbers and gamble that the guidance comes out before the inspector looks at the plan and does not change; delay the local plan until Q2 or 3 next year in the hope that the numbers are lower (which opens the door and we will have Pale Lane and Owens Farm at Hook via appeals); go with the numbers agreed by all the parties in the current draft local plan
    Given that the objective is to build more houses where they are least affordable and 85% of the country is more affordable that Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath I find it difficult to believe that the next set of proposal will say build less houses in area when they are least affordable. I hope it does but I would even bet your money in it.

    • Looking at Dorset and Leeds both appear to have an adopted local plan. They would then be looking at their local plan to see what impact the consultation might have on their in date adopted local plan. We do not have a local plan and are about to go through an examination in public. Very different case.
      At last Thursday council meeting there were two separate comments about the government consultation. One from the Chief executive who was at a meeting with the housing minister and the second from Councillor Parker who had been at a meeting with other local government representatives. I paraphrase their inputs;
      1. The Appendix A “the new numbers” show some 260,000 houses per year and the chancellor has set a target of 300,000 therefore expect an uplift.
      2. The numbers are the starting point not the end point.
      3. Particularly from Councillor Parker the numbers in the appendix are “indicative and cannot be relied on”.
      I would welcome lower numbers but not at the expense of delaying the local plan if we do delay we will already have given planning permission to the higher numbers, in the locations where the developer wants to build them rather than the people of Hart.

      Urban extension by stealth.

    • Now Calderdale reduce numbers Tony Gower-Jones …. how many more need to reduce numbers before Community Campaign – Hart and Lib Dems revisit the numbers in Hart’s draft LP?

  2. Surely, now we have guidance from government we should act upon it, my understanding was that Hart were always scared that Government would overrule hart for not delivering high enough numbers and the paranoia drove the high numbers. We now have clear guidance that removes this fear. Whatever the argument about where residual numbers come from surely all parties can agree that the lower number is better for all.

  3. Tony Gower-Jones. Hi Tony, you are of course right that it is ‘just’ a consultation. However, the feedback I have been getting from a number of sources is that the Government are very keen to push forward with this method of calculating housing need.

    It should work quite well with the expected timeline of the Hart Local Plan. The Reg 19 consultation won’t start until mid-Jan, probably running to end Feb. I cannot see a submission version emerging before early April at the earliest.

    As I see it Hart could follow two options:

    1) As a start, drop the idea of the 2,163 uplift to the SHMA. This would avoid the need for a new settlement anywhere, and also remove the need for any more new urban extensions, be they Pale Lane or Owens Farm.

    2) Plan for the 6,132 (plus a few hundred for Surrey Heath, giving a round number total of say 6,544). This would remove the need for a new settlement and urban extensions and even Hartland Park. 5,594 had been built or permitted as of 31 Jan 2017. Under this scenario, that would leave 950 left to plan for. This could be made up of 320 from Sun Park, 423 from Grove Farm (sadly). This would leave 207 to go. This could be made of of the 130 or so due to be applied for at the Rawlings depot in Hook, plus 77 or so from other brownfield sites form almost anywhere: Hartley Wintney, the proposed extension to Winchfield Court, or office redevelopments (as opposed to conversions) in Fleet or Hook. They could even resurrect the housing corporation idea in the last iteration of the corporate plan and deliver some social housing.

    If I were the, I would be running both options in parallel and seeking advice from Government on how to proceed with the numbers. I might even put both options in the Reg 19 version, and make the final decision at the point of submission, when the Government intentions should be clear.

    The whole ‘affordable’ uplift idea is nonsense. Even James Radley acknowledged that building more houses won’t reduce prices. All it will do is build more houses we don’t need, and attract more buyers from London. None of these big developments deliver enough funding for proper infrastructure: building more just increases the funding gap. And even though the parties reached a consensus at a point in time, doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. ANd now things have moved on, it makes even more important that the overall numbers are challenged for the benefit of everyone in Hart.

  4. The Governments’ paper is a consultation and consultation only – it will not become approved until after our local plan is submitted. To use lower numbers speculates about the outcome. If the speculation is wrong then the local plan will be rejected on housing numbers. Without a local plan we are as you say sitting ducks for Owens Farm, Pale lane and Winchfield. Therefore I believe that as objectively assessed housing need for Hart remains at 382 new homes/annum but all parties agreed with the previous conservative administration that an affordable housing uplift is essential and that we should be planning to deliver at least 485 new homes/annum. 85% of the country is more affordable than Hart according to the BBC affordability calculator.

    • It is a consultation Tony but indications are that it is now appropriate to -as a minimum- properly consider it, and likely posdible to use these lower numbers, based on the government timings and the dates for Hart’s LP. It wasn’t previously, but is now.

      That is why we have asked the LibDem CCH cabinet to consider it but they are currently refusing which will force more localdevelopment.

  5. If I remember correctly CCH candidate was only voted in at last local election by a handful of votes for Crookham Village. Perhaps they realise Concrete Campaign Hart is not working in their interests either

  6. Please share with groups calling for excessive housing and of course Community Campaign-Hart Facebook Page, it is important residents know Concrete Campaign Hart strike again

  7. I can only imagine FACE IT is dominated by CCH. Why would a group that includes many in Crookham Village want excessive housing where it would particularly impact on them?

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