Hart Council’s Cabinet last night voted unanimously to terminate the collaboration agreement it has had in place with developers since February of this year.
The vote was taken on an amendment to the published papers for the meeting. The original recommendations were as follows:
- A Local Plan review assessment is carried out once any ‘Planning Bill’ has passed through Parliament and the Government has issued any associated updated guidance.
- That the Shapley Heath Garden Community Project is concluded with immediate effect but that existing baseline studies and surveys proceed to completion and be published early in the new year.
- Cabinet agrees to the principle of seeking the commissioning of a ‘Settlement Capacity and Intensification Study’ to be funded through a drawn down from the Local Plan reserve.
At this stage we only have video evidence of the amendment to Recommendation 2 fom the meeting. We will update this post once the minutes have been published. The video below is edited to show just the amended recommendation and the eventual vote.
[Update:] Thematic Group Members Email [/Update]
Hart Terminates Shapley Heath Collaboration Agreement: Impact
The impact of this decision is very positive for the We Heart Hart Campaign. Not only have they stopped the Shapley Heath project, they have now also ended the agreement with developers.
They also voted to begin a process to review the Local Plan, in line with legislation. At this stage they are going to assess what might need to be done to the Local Plan in 2025. At the very least they will have to update the housing target numbers with the up to date numbers from the housing need methodology. This should reduce the annual requirement from 423dpa to 286 dpa. However, updated household projections, based on the 2021 census won’t be published until 2023. Each time new projections have been published, Hart’s housing target has been reduced. So, we can hope for even lower numbers.
The Cabinet also voted to undertake a “Settlement Capacity and Intensification Study”. This will look at how much of our additional housing could be built within the settlement boundaries of our existing urban centres. We have been calling for such a study for years, so welcome this about face from the Council.
However, it is clear that the Lib Dem/CCH coalition are carrying out these actions under duress. There was certainly no enthusiasm in their voices as they voted to end the project and terminate the collaboration agreement. They are still wedded to the idea of Shapley Heath.
No doubt the proposal will be back in the Local Plan review.
The video of the full item is shown below. Viewers may note the sometimes bad tempered exchanges as the Conservative Councillors observing the meeting tried to get to the bottom of how much Shapley Heath has cost. They also asked about when we are finally going to see the output.