We have been in touch with sources close to the Hart Planning team and received an update on what is intended to be published next week in the version of the Local Plan that will be used for the Regulation 19 consultation.
Here are the key bullet points:
- The planning period will be changed from 2011-2032 to 2016-2032, a period of 16 years.
- Hart will adopt the new Government approach to calculating housing need, but with some modification
- The housing target for the new planning period will be 6,208
- If all goes to plan, we won’t need a new settlement at Murrell Green or Winchfield. We also won’t need urban extensions at Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) or Owens Farm (West of Hook).
- There will be important council meetings to agree this plan on 2, 3 & 4 January, with a view to going to Regulation 19 consultation in mid-to-late January and submission to the Inspector by the end of March.
Overall, we believe this to be very good news. However, there are some risks that we will discuss below.
[Update]: We understand that the hybrid planning application for the first phase of Hartland Village has been withdrawn, and will not be heard at tonight’s planning meeting. We don’t know what impact this will have on the Local Plan outlined here. More details when we get them. [/Update]
[Update 2]: We have now heard Hartland Village might now be back on the agenda. Who knows what is happening. [/Update 2]
Hart Local Plan: new housing target
Regular readers may recall that the annual housing target for Hart in the Government consultation was 292 dwellings per annum (dpa). This was based upon 218 dpa from the raw ONS household projections, plus a market signals uplift to arrive at 292 dpa. The scale of the uplift was capped in the consultation. Hart believe this cap will be lifted to give an annual target of 310 dpa. Over the plan period this would result in a total of 4,960 new houses.
Because there is some uncertainty about the status of the consultation and whether we need to build some additional houses for Surrey Heath and/or Rushmoor, Hart believe it is prudent to uplift this target by 25% to give a planning target of 6,208.
We think this uplift is a bit too generous, but will support it, because it gives us the best chance of the plan being approved by the Inspector.
Hart Local Plan: Housing supply
We understand this housing target will be met by the following:
|Built to from 2016 to 6/10/17
|Other sites like to be granted
|Hartland Village (deliverable in plan period)
Eagle eyed readers will note this does not include Murrell Green, Winchfield, Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase) or Owens Farm (West of Hook).
Hart Local Plan: Risks
The big risk to this plan is Hartland Park (Pyestock). The developer has proposed only 20% affordable housing in their plan compared to Hart’s target of 40%. We understand that Hart are trying to persuade the developer to agree to periodic viability reviews. This would force the developer to be open about how much profit it is making. If it makes more money than planned, then it could be asked to build more affordable homes in the rest of the development.
If agreement on this cannot be reached, then it may not be possible to include Hartland Village in the draft Local Plan and the shortfall would have to be made up from some combination of Pale Lane (Elvetham Chase), Owens Farm (West of Hook), Murrell Green or Winchfield. We will see what happens over the coming days.
Hart Local Plan: Timetable
The finalised version of the draft Local Plan will be published on 19 December. This will be followed by:
- Review by Overview and Scrutiny on 2 January 2018
- Approval by Cabinet on 3 January 2018
- Approval by full Council on 4 January 2018
The intention is then to move to Regulation 19 consultation in mid-to-late January for a six week period. The consultation needs to close by mid-March. This is to give enough time to make minor tweaks before submission by the end of March. This deadline is driven by Government guidelines and the Council purdah period prior to the Local elections in early May.
It is hoped that the Government will make clear its intention regarding the consultation on how to calculate housing need in January. It is also hoped that the draft NPPF is published in early January. This is to allow time for any tweaks to be made to the draft Local Plan in the light of this new information,
There are also three other documents due to be published alongside the Local Plan:
- Transport Assessment
- Sustainability Assessment
- Habitat assessment
We believe the council is taking a pragmatic approach to the Local Plan, and that this approach should be supported. If we don’t support it, then the Local Plan will be delayed. This would significantly weaken the Council’s hand in relation to Pale Lane and Owens Farm.
Let’s hope this approach finds favour with councillors and we can all look forward to a Happy New Year.