We are therefore asking all residents who like us, want no more forced housing in Hart, to support us on a call to central government, via our MP Ranil Jayawardena, to remove Hart from any future government housing allocation.
Many of us have thought for some time that CCH displayed quite authoritarian tendencies. But this is virtually a declaration of independence on housing policy. Something tells us that Ranil won’t be receiving many emails.
So, we are building more than is required by both the Local Plan and more than the Government housing target.
Shapley Heath will Add to the Excess Building
Yet, they are still planning Shapley Heath. The most recent housing trajectory for this project has housing delivery starting in 2024. The steady state housing trajectory is 360 dpa. Even on its own, Shapley Heath delivers far more than the Government housing target.
Shapley Heath Housing Trajectory Sept 2020
All of the housing delivered by Shapley Heath will be in addition to the Local Plan.
Shapley Heath in addition to Local Plan
Adding it all up, over the period that Shapley Heath will be built, it will deliver about 2,400 houses in excess of requirements.
CCH seek opt out from housing targets as they plan Shapley Heath to build more than Local Plan requirement
Perhaps it would be better for CCH to spend their time getting their own house in order instead of indulging in ridiculous grandstanding.
Shapley Heath Survey
You might like to respond to the Shapley Heath survey. We have produced a handy guide with suggestions as to how you might choose to answer the freeform questions. It can be found on the link below. The full survey can be found here.
CCH have released their latest newsletter. They follow their usual path of being economical with the truth. There are some quite astonishing claims in there, that need to be answered.
False Pale Lane Claim
The Local Plan has already demonstrated its value by being part of the successful defence against inappropriate urban extensions in Hook and most notably at Pale Lane, on farmland adjacent to Elvetham Heath. Even as a draft, it has significant weight when considered at a planning appeal.
The very calculation the government use to reach our `Objectively Assessed Housing Need’ is expected to be radically modified in the near future. Any material change in this calculation of our housing numbers would render the Local Plan `out of date‘ and require Hart to fundamentally review its Local Plan….
There is some truth in the claim that Hart will run short of housing around 2025/26, as we covered here. But there is no evidence that the new formula for calculating housing need is going to be “radically modified”. Indeed their implication that housing numbers will rise is false. In fact, if Hart were to conduct an early review of the Local Plan, our annual housing target would be reduced from 423 dpa to 251 dpa. But, in Hart’s answer to our latest question, they have ruled out an early review.
Shapley Heath Justification
CCH then go on to justify the need for Shapley Heath:
That is why the Community Campaign support the approach of carefully evaluating the possibility of a new eco-friendly garden village within walking distance of Winchfield station. Only if needed, this development could be used to deliver the bulk of any additional housing that may be required by central government in the period from 2026 onwards. As such, it must be very carefully planned to deliver all the necessary infrastructure.
Note how Shapley Heath has now become “eco-friendly”, despite the fact it is entirely unnecessary and building it will likely emit 1m tonnes of CO2.
CCH Newsletter: Fact Checking the myth busting
CCH’s newletter includes a section on “myth-busting” Shapley Heath.
First on housing need.
A new settlement is not needed as part of the new Local Plan. This is all about funding (with government grant support) a project to see what is possible. If the future government housing targets do not require such housing to be built – it will not be built. This is an insurance policy against Hart having to take on a higher housing quota in a few years’ time.
If they really wanted an insurance policy they would be conducting a immediate review of the Local Plan to take advantage of the lower housing target from the latest Government methodology.
Then on the size of Shapley Heath. They claim that they are only considering a development of 5,000 houses. But the bid they submitted to Government was for up to 10,000. The flawed viability assessment was for 5,300 houses.
Shapley Heath: Vision Document 10000 houses
Shapley Heath Garden Village Viability Summary
So, they are wrong again. They then go on to make some false claims about infrastructure.
Bolt-on urban extensions don’t deliver infrastructure. They don’t present the economies of scale to permit major road improvements, nor building a new secondary school, or doctors surgeries.
Their plans simply do not stack up to even cursory scrutiny. They go on to make extraordinary claims about the features of Shapley Heath.
Shapley Heath’ is being investigated using government grant funding designed to promote eco-friendly garden villages. This is about learning from the disasters of the past and building semi-rural communities which are sympathetic to and supportive of, the local and wider ecology and climate. There will be integrated transport, rainwater harvesting, centralised heat and power plants, carbon efficient housing design, an emphasis on renewables and truly sustainable living.
Let’s for a moment ignore the fact that this isn’t needed, so the 1m tonnes of CO2 produced during construction will also be an unnecessary. But even the Planning Inspector criticised the claims for a district heating system.
Option 1b has been ranked the highest under the category climate change. This is as a result of the potential for the proposed new settlement to deliver a district heating system. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this is a feasible or realistic option that is being actively pursued by the site promoters. I consider this raises doubt about the appropriateness of such a ranking.
The viability study only made allowance for standard build costs. No allowance was made for the additional costs of “carbon efficient housing design”. Their claims are simply marketing fluff that aren’t backed up by anything.
Ostrich approach to Fleet Revitalisation
The CCH newsletter then goes on to discuss Fleet. They claim that Fleet “isn’t all that bad”. This is despite the council’s own bid for Future High Street funding saying:
The council quotes a prior report that says a “do nothing scenario would not be viable in Fleet”.
Fleet faces a number of key challenges.
88% of people say Fleet doesn’t meet their retail and leisure needs.
52% of people would not recommend a visit to the town centre.
67% think the poor retail offer reflects badly on the town centre.
The confidence of local businesses is extremely low.
Fleet unable to compete with neighbouring towns.
Major retailers identify Fleet as an investment risk.
Lack of affordable housing is identified as a key issue by 27%
Fleet is falling behind its local competitors. Most of the surrounding towns are attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of investment. Fleet isn’t getting anything.
Fleet falling behind neighbouring towns
CCH Newsletter – Regeneration untruths
CCH then go onto claim that revitalising our town centres must mean “high-rise” flats. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed high-rise developments do not deliver good places to live, and we oppose them. They offer no vision on how to address the issues facing Fleet. We will give further details on our ideas in further posts.
In the meantime, please do challenge CCH to come clean on their mendacious claims.
The CCH Rhetoric Machine went into overdrive at Thursday’s Cabinet. After claiming their untrue statements about Shapley Heath were just rhetoric, they went on to make more spurious claims in the Cabinet meeting (report here). We have produced a short video to tackle the main claims:
Since then , they have produced a defence of their position on Facebook. Below is their post, together with the RHA response in red.
CCH rhetoric machine goes into overdrive
This post is in response to accusations made against CCH Councillors on certain fb pages.
Do they mean us? Surely not.
If you would like to see for yourself what was said and how it was said, please see the link below for HDC’s live streaming of last night’s cabinet meeting and, Paper H relating to the Garden Community that was to be discussed.
Please take the video to 37 minutes to begin at the start of the Garden Community debate.
Alternatively, you can read our post, with edited highlights from the meeting here.
CCH have been accused of:
– being rude to members of the public.
Not by us. There are many words we could use to describe CCH’s attitude, but on the night they weren’t particularly rude to anybody.
– being prejudicial towards a new settlement.
Not true. Prejudicial has no meaning in this context. The accusation in the QC opinion is of CCH being of ‘closed mind’ and thus having a predetermined attitude to matters relating to Shapley Heath.
– wanting to build houses Hart doesn’t need.
Well, this is true. Their own Local Plan said that the new town wasn’t required. The inspector agreed and threw out Policy SS3. The Garden Village bid document said the same thing. Yet, they still bid for Government money for an unnecessary Garden Village. Now they have agreed to spend up to £650K to flesh out the plans for it having committed to Government that it would deliver 5,000 homes above local requirements with an indication that there is capacity “…for a development of 10,000 homes…”.
– wanting to build 10,000 new homes.
Up to 10,000 houses is stated both in the bid and the accompanying Vision Document.
We say, we were assertive in demonstrating our reasoning, were reactive to correct misinformation and were defensive, when necessary, of ourselves and, the people we represent.
As you decide for yourself, we would like to draw your attention (see below) to just one member of the public’s statement as it has bearing on one of the accusations made against us (We believe this refers to the RHA statement):-
Rural Hart Association (RHA, made up of 3 predominately Winchfield groups),
Not true. WAG is based in Winchfield. We Heart Hart is based in Hartley Wintney and NE Hants Greens are district-wide. In addition, other Hart-wide groups support RHA.
state they want to regenerate Fleet Town Centre and, have ‘given developers the Hart Centre’.
True. RHA does want to regenerate Fleet and the other urban centres to keep up with neighbouring towns like Camberley, Aldershot, Farnham and Wokingham. RHA came up with several options for regeneration of Fleet. Hart Shopping Centre was put forward as one of these options to developers by RSH.
They then state that their developers will not carry out any work on this ‘regeneration’ scheme ‘unless HDC takes the Garden Village off the table’.
Not true. The developers won’t invest time and money in urban regeneration when the Council has such an obvious bias towards the new town and clearly no interest in looking at urban regeneration.
Is this prejudicial by residents of Winchfield wanting future development away from them and for it to continue in and around Fleet?
Again ‘prejudicial’ has no legal meaning. Residents aren’t the people who actually make planning decisions, so they can’t be predetermined. Of course, they can oppose proposals they disagree with. The Local Plan itself identifies the decline of Fleet as a key issue, yet the policies to address this are feeble. It is the interests of all Hart residents for the countryside to be preserved and for all of the urban centres of Fleet, Hook, Blackwater and Yateley to thrive. Private money is clearly available to support such schemes as evidenced by the regeneration of Camberley, Farnham, Aldershot and Wokingham.
If you live in Fleet, Church Crookham, Crookham Village, Elvetham Heath and Hook, you will know they’ve seen the majority of urban expansion over the last decade.
Compared to their size, Hartley Wintney and Odiham have also seen big new developments. In addition, Fleet has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of retail, leisure and public amenities.
Do you ‘really’ want more development tagged on, using existing infrastructure… roads, schools, doctors, station that already cannot cope?
No. A masterplan for all of our urban centres will address these issues and should also deliver infrastructure funding in the places that need it. Remember the infrastructure plans for the new settlement were described by the Inspector as “not of any great substance”. Plus, a new town won’t deliver any new infrastructure for existing settlements. At least urban regeneration would deliver funds for infrastructure in the areas that are already creaking under the strain.
Do you want to live in town where it’s centre is high rise apartment blocks offering no outdoor space for families?
The LSH proposal for the Hart Shopping Centre utilised existing sightlines and in no sense was it “high rise”. Additional regeneration opportunities such as the Civic Campus could also deliver outdoor spaces.
That’s what RHA are proposing for you.
More rhetoric that you shouldn’t take too seriously.
We will look at all options open to us but, CCH want to deliver our future housing needs in a way that is high quality, sustainable and right for the majority of Hart not, just for the few.
But you clearly aren’t looking at anything other than a new settlement. The Paper explicitly rules out looking at alternatives. There is nothing ‘high quality’ about any of the new town proposals delivered so far. For instance, three locations for a secondary school have been proposed. One was next to a mental health unit housing sex offenders, the second was directly on top of a high-pressure gas main and the third was under electricity pylons. And of course, the Inspector threw out the last proposal because he wasn’t convinced it was deliverable.
And, as we have said many times before, reiterated by Councillor “it’s only rhetoric” Radley last night, if we don’t ‘need’ to build more houses then we ‘won’t build any more houses.
The CCH Rhetoric machine is up and running again. The bid to Government committed you to building over and above the local requirement. The new town isn’t needed to meet requirements. So, why are you spending £650K of taxpayers money?
Some great news emerged on Monday afternoon. The Pale Lane Appeal has been quashed by the Secretary of State. This means there won’t be any development in that location at least up until 2032. The complete decision document can be found here.
The Secretary of State examined a number of of issues in coming to his decision.
The issue that carried the strongest weight was the Hartley Wintney Neighbourhood Plan (HWNP). The Pale Lane site falls partially within the Hartley Wintney Parish. It was not allocated for development within the HWNP and this carried “significant weight”. So, we must thank Hartley Wintney Parish Council on their efforts that saw the Neightbourhood Plan “made” only last month.
Other issues considered included:
The emerging Hart Local Plan, which also does not allocate Pale Lane. However, despite being close to being approved only carried “moderate weight”.
He also considered that even if Pale Lane were refused, there would still be more than five years land supply.
The potential loss of Best and Most Versatile agricultural land was considered “moderate weight”.
Sadly, the highways, health, education and quality of life issues raised by the Stop Elvetham Chase group carried no weight.
It seems the lesson here is to focus on the real planning issues and get Neighbourhood Plans in place if we want to combat further unnecessary and undesirable greenfield development.
Our local MP, Ranil Jayawardena has now come out unequivocally against large scale green field development. This includes Shapley Heath, Rye Common and West of Hook. He has produced a constituency charter. We ask that you consider signing his charter that can be found here. This complements his call for bold regeneration plans.
The Rural Hart Association has obtained a QC’s Opinion that shows CCH’s predetermination of the Shapley Heath Garden Village proposal. Their predetermination was revealed in their letter to Ranil Jayawardena MP about Pale Lane/Elvetham Chase. It is ironic that on Bonfire Night, CCH’s own vanity has led to their plans for Shapley Heath going up in smoke.
Back in July all CCH Councillors wrote to Ranil, lobbying him about the upcoming Pale Lane/Elvetham Heath decision by the Secretary of State. In that letter they claimed that 5,000 houses had been “secured for the next planning period” at Shapley Heath.
Of course, this was a misleading statement, because in no sense have any houses been “secured” at Shapley Heath. For instance, the planning Inspector ripped apart their proposals in the Local Plan examination. The only sensible inference that can be made from their statement is that they have closed their minds to a proper consideration of Shapley Heath and alternatives. In Andrew Tabachnik QC’s opinion, this amounts to predetermination.
The consequences of this finding are that Community Campaign Hart Councillors must either:
Recant their statement and demonstrate they have a genuinely open mind on the matter or,
Recuse themselves from any further decisions about Shapley Heath.
In short, CCH have snookered themselves as far as Shapley Heath is concerned. If they don’t recant then they should be excluded from discussion and voting about Shapley Heath at Overview & Scrutiny, Planning, Cabinet and Full Council. Indeed, their participation in the September O&S might be inappropriate. We can keep an eye on all of their public statements and actions from now on in the light of this opinion. There is the option of further legal proceedings if they step out of line.
The Rural Hart Association will be making a statement at Thursday’s Cabinet and recommending actions that the CCH councillors should take to retract the sentiments in their letter and demonstrate an open mind about Shapley Heath.
The full QC’s Opinion can be downloaded from the button below:
The supporting detail that led to the opinion follows:
CCH Letter to Ranil
The full letter to Ranil was published on the Facebook page of some of the CCH councillors. It can be found on here (page 1) and here (page 2). The incriminating passage is shown in the image below:
CCH Predetermination: 5000 more houses secured at Shapley Heath
Excerpts from QC Opinion that shows CCH Predetermination
4. I am asked to advise whether the above letter – and in particular the reference to “5000 more homes secured for the next planning period through Shapley Heath” – is relevant to the participation of the four Councillor signatories identified above in the Cabinet’s forthcoming decisions concerning Shapley Heath.
5. In my view, for reasons explained below:
a. The relevant assertion to Mr Jayawardena MP is totally misleading. There is no sense of the word in which Shapley Heath has been “secured for the next planning period”. Quite the opposite, as matters currently stand. Nothing at all has been “secured” for the “next planning period”. Further, the Local Plan Inspector’s 26 February 2019 letter sends Shapley Heath back to the drawing-board, with clear findings that it has not been justified as sound on its own merits nor is there a robust assessment of its comparative qualities as against reasonable alternatives.
b. Regrettably, the only sensible inference is that the authors of the letter have shut their minds to a fair and proper consideration of the individual and comparative merits of Shapley Heath, and have pre-determined decisions in respect of Shapley Heath, which they regard as “secured” already.
c. Absent the clearest evidence going forward that the relevant Councillors recant the misleading and pre-determined approach to Shapley Heath as “secured for the next planning period”, their participation in future decision-making of the Council (including when Cabinet grapples with Paper D in early November 2019) would render such decisions susceptible to being quashed by way of application for judicial review.
d. In my view, the relevant Councillors must publicly acknowledge the misleading character of the words used in the letter and must publicly disassociate themselves from the sentiment in question (that Shapley Heath has been “secured for the next planning period”), and their future conduct in so far as they desire to have further involvement in relevant Council decision-making must (and not as mere “lip service”) positively demonstrate a genuine willingness to consider matters with an open mind. Where a relevant Councillor is unable or unwilling to adhere to the foregoing, the natural inference will be that the closed minds evident from the July 2019 letter have infected the decision in question.
e. A relevant Councillor who is unable or unwilling to take the foregoing steps, must recuse themselves from Council decision-making which is related, directly or indirectly, to Shapley Heath.
Hart Council finances are in disarray. First, the auditor has been unable to complete their work on time, because Hart, and its service provider Capita has not met the deadlines to produce accurate figures. Second, Hart’s accounts have had to be published without an audit opinion, with 8 material issues and 6 significant issues outstanding. Finally, Hart’s own Overview and scrutiny committee has condemned the accounts as “incomprehensible”.
The audit was supposed to be complete by the end of July and will not now be completed until September with no specific date yet set. CCH cabinet member and deputy leader, James Radley, is responsible for finance, so he must carry the can for this fiasco.
The scale of these issues makes it difficult to believe the accuracy of the unaudited reported accounts.
Overview and Scrutiny on the case of Hart Finance Fiasco
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee picked up on this in July. O&S criticised Hart’s revenue accounts saying that:
It was disappointed with the format,
The accounts were incomprehensible and
Without a clear and transparent auditable link from the appendix to the main report recommendations.
Hart Finance Fiasco: Overview and Scrutiny disappointed
CCH cabinet member, James Radley in charge of Finance was quizzed about his role at the recent full Council meeting. Minutes can be found here.
Councillor Radley quizzed on his role in the Hart finance shambles
Here is the header of the report:
Report published in name of James Radley
It does seem rather odd that Capita are not obliged to produce auditable accounts by the required deadline.
Joint CEO’s: Nothing to report
Quite remarkably, at last week’s council meeting, the joint-CEO’s had nothing substantive to report. Yes, that’s right, the accounts are incomprehensible, unaudited, not auditable and will have to be published without an audit opinion and they have nothing to say.
Hart Finance Fiasco – CEOs nothing to report
Detail of Hart Finance Fiasco
We have looked at the detail of the reports examined by O&S. The main report suggests an underspend of £369K in the revenue accounts. But the supporting appendix shows an overspend of £713K, but miraculously, this changes to a surplus of £27K after adjustments. But this relies on the budget being adjusted to -£27K, with only £1 of actual expenditure. None of these figures can be reconciled to the reported £369K surplus.
Recommended Underspend of £369K.
Recorded overspend of £713K adjusted to £27K surplus.
The difference between the £713K deficit to the reported £369K surplus is more than £1m on an overall revenue budget of ~£6m. We struggle to see how our money is being effectively controlled.
This is clearly an embarrassment for service provider Capita. We also question the competence of CCH Deputy Leader James Radley who takes responsibility for Finance and the joint Chief Executives.
It remains to be seen how they sort out this mess. Apparently, Capita are presenting to Overview and Scrutiny on 20th August.
The complaint produces evidence to show the Community Campaign Hart councillor has significant undeclared links to Barratt Developments. Councillor Delaney declared her partner’s significant shareholding in Barratt Developments. However, her 50% ownership of the company she jointly owns with her husband was not disclosed. Nor was it disclosed that her company lists Barratts as a client.
The complaint shows that Councillor Delaney attended the recent Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. That meeting covered the role of the developers (which include Barratts) in the new town governance arrangements. Of course, the developers will benefit greatly if the proposal to build 5,000 houses is approved. Her links to Barratts were not declared at the meeting. It is alleged that this breaches the Hart Council Code of Conduct. The failure properly to declare her interests may also be an offence under the Localism Act.
Councillor Delaney is one of the founders of Stop Elvetham Chase. We have supported her campaign, but have always been puzzled by the contrast in Councillor Delaney’s positions. She has been strongly opposed to Elvetham Chase (aka Pale Lane) and been a passionate advocate of the Winchfield new town. Elvetham Chase is promoted by Wates. Wates is apparently not a client of her company. However, Winchfield New Town, that is adjacent to Elvetham Chase is promoted by Barratts, Gallagher Estates and Lightwood. Barratts is listed as a client of her company, St Swithins Construction.
Elvetham chase adjacent to Winchfield New Town
The evidence in the formal complaint is reproduced below.
Angela Delaney Declaration of Interests
Councillor Delaney declared her interests in May 2018. These included her employment with St Swithins Construction.
Angela Delaney employed by St Swithins Construction
Councillor Delaney also declared her partner’s significant shareholding in Barratt Developments
Angela Delaney’s partner owns shares in Barratt Homes
However, she failed to declare her 50% shareholding in St Swithins Construction, that lists its place of business in the District. We believe this is a technical breach of the declaration rules.
Angela Delaney attends Hart Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting Minutes 16 October 2018
However, she didn’t declare her interests in Barratts at the meeting. Indeed, no declarations of interest were made at all.
No Interests declared at Hart Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting Minutes 16 October 2018
The meeting covered the new town governance arrangements and Hart Council’s relationship with the developers, which of course include Barratts. The meeting also covered how the council would spend nearly £1.5m preparing for the new town. The council is also seeking support from the developers in the form of cash or people. Of course, the developers will greatly benefit if granted permission to build 5,000 houses.
Hart to spend nearly £1.5m on new town planning
Role of developers including Barratt Homes on the agenda
Developers including Barratts proposed as project team members
Developers’ role including Barratts on the agenda
Consequences of failure properly to declare interests
Hart Council’s code of conduct states that councillors must disclose their interests at any meeting of the council and not participate in discussion.
Hart Code of Conduct. Councillors must declare interests in meetings and not participate in discussion
We believe that Councillor Delaney’s failure properly to declare her interests, together with her participation in the O&S meeting represents a breach of this code.
It may also be an offence under the Localism Act to fail properly to declare interests.
Failure properly to declare interests may be an offence
We await the results of the investigation. We will of course allow Councillor Delaney the right of reply should she choose to get in touch.
Hypocritical Stop Elvetham Chase go Completely Concrete
The Stop Elvetham Chase group have decided to put up a candidate in the Local Elections standing for Community Campaign Completely Concrete Hart.
This smacks to us of hypocrisy as they are rightly vehemently opposed to the Elvetham Chase (Pale Lane) development. However, they now strongly support a new town in Winchfield, part of which is very close to the area where they oppose development. This is shown in the graphic above.
Their candidate, Angela Delaney is fighting the Fleet West ward. Richard Woods, who defected from the Tories in late 2016, currently holds this seat. It appears that Richard is standing down because he isn’t mentioned as a candidate on CCH’s website.
Stop Elvetham Chase’s statement has been placed on their Facebook page. Interestingly, comments have been disabled, so it is clear they are only interested in one-way communication. Not a good start for a budding politician. It is reproduced below with our comments in red.
This group was set up to fight the Elvetham Chase development. Hart council’s strong endorsement of the local plan on the 4th January and subsequent refusal of Wates’ proposal has, for now, protected Pale Lane. We thank all the members of this group for supporting the campaign and objecting so strongly to the development. Stop Elvetham Chase did start with laudable intentions.
However this is only a stay of execution. We know Wates have every intention of appealing the decision. The local plan, in its current state, with the new settlement option, gives Hart Council a strong chance of successfully refusing the appeal. This is because approval of Pale Lane would jeopardise the new settlement – which would ultimately deliver more affordable housing for Hart. The presence or otherwise of the new town in the draft Local Plan will have no bearing on the Pale Lane Appeal. This is because even the council have said the new town is unnecessary, without Pale Lane. The Conservatives will tell you that we don’t need the higher housing targets – they support a local plan with the new settlement removed. We believe this is naive in the extreme, given the housing crisis this country is facing. It’s not just the Conservatives that say this. It was in the Council’s own communication to members (see below) and stated at the January 4th meeting by Councillor Cockarill. The housing numbers in the Local Plan will deliver ~1,500 more houses than the Government mandated figure. The Government figure already includes an affordability uplift.
Pale Lane aside, we believe it is absolutely right to plan for a new settlement that will deliver the infrastructure that Hart desperately needs. CCH were asked at council before Christmas to show their workings on the infrastructure funding gap. They didn’t even allow the question to be asked, let alone answer it. The reason is that they know, the new settlement will increase the funding gap and starve Fleet and Church Crookham of much needed investment. Without a new settlement we will soon return to a ‘planning by appeal’ situation which has been so disastrous for Hart (ref: Grove Farm and Watery Lane). A sound Local Plan, without a new town and without Pale Lane, will stop this situation. With no long term plan for secondary school places (to meet demand from the 2000 houses at Hartland and Grove Farm), surgery waiting times lengthening and our roads more congested than ever we think this is unacceptable for Hart. Hampshire County Council have not said we need a new school. The Local Plan contains no proposals for a new school, doesn’t address healthcare and does nothing for roads. A new town will only make things worse. A local plan with the new settlement option removed will also pave the way for Wates to successfully appeal Pale Lane. No it won’t. The Local Plan will be sound without the new town. Indeed, it may even be unsound with the new town.
So, after much consideration we have decided to support Community Campaign Hart (CCH), who we can trust to safeguard the local plan (which is already progressing well and is due for submission to a Govt inspector this month) and by extension, Pale Lane. CCH are committed to taking the politics out of local matters, focusing on putting residents’ needs first. Cough…only if you live in Church Crookham, and even then, the extra traffic from a new town will impact both Fleet and Church Crookham.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that Angela Delaney, one of our group and one of the original four who spearheaded the Stop Elvetham Chase Development campaign, is standing as CCH candidate for Fleet West. Angela has worked tirelessly over the last year to fight Pale Lane and protect Fleet West from the impact this development would have caused. But apparently she doesn’t care at all about the impact that a new town at Winchfield would cause. She’s passionate about supporting a local plan with a new settlement to protect our schools, health service and roads. In fact the Local Plan doesn’t promote a new school, doesn’t address healthcare and won’t fix the roads. In fact it will make matters worse for Fleet, because it will starve it of infrastructure, increase commuter traffic and probably reduce retail traffic. We hope her track record speaks for itself. Cough…not quite in the way she wants us to believe, but let’s wish that she is more successful than CCH have been with Edenbrook, Grove Farm and Watery Lane.
We hope you’ll support Angela but ultimately everyone must make their own decision at the ballot box. Well done for standing for election, which is more than Councillor Woods did when he defected. If you don’t support our position then we thank you for your support so far and understand if you wish to leave our group at this point. I will stay if you don’t mind, just to see what you are up to. You have lost a lot of support from Winchfield residents who also oppose Pale Lane. If you support Angela, we can guarantee that she will work with the same energy she fought Pale Lane, to represent local residents’ interests. Cough.
Community Campaign Hart (CCH) have revealed their plan to Completely Concrete Hart by sticking to the ridiculous 10,185 housing target in the draft Local Plan. This comes despite the new Government method for calculating housing need results in a much lower housing target for Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath.
It is time to up the pressure on CCH to come up with a strategy to take account of this new information. They should build a Local Plan that is good for the whole of Hart that everybody can live with. It is time to drop their plan to Completely Concrete Hart.
To be clear, in our view, Hart’s housing target should be reduced to around 6,500, to take account of the new Government approach, plus a few hundred for Surrey Heath. Using the figures in the draft Local Plan consultation (para 104), this would leave 906 new houses left to plan for. This could be made up from
The remaining 40 can come from any number of brownfield sites for instance:
Hartley Wintney (Nero Brewery – 10)
Winchfield (Winchfield Court extension – 17)
The derelict eyesores on Fleet Road – up to 200.
We can save Hartland Village (Pyestock) for the 2030’s.
The revelations came in a reply to an email sent to CCH by a concerned correspondent on Facebook. We reproduce the question, James Radley’s answer and our commentary in red below.
Question to Community Campaign Hart (CCH)
I write to you ask a question about your party’s policy towards supporting (or not) a reduced housing total for Hart District. Specifically, in regard of this statement on the We Heart Hart (WHH) Facebook page:
If Hart followed the latest Government approach to calculating housing need, even Hartland Park wouldn’t be needed. The remaining housing need could be met from Sun Park and any number of other small brownfield sites.
Answer from CCH revealing commitment to Completely Concrete Hart
I am probably the best placed to explain the CCH position on housing numbers. It is true that as a rule we do not engage in social media debates, mainly due to a lack of time. As well as trying to fit in my day job I also expect to spend over 6 hours in total in the council offices today and similarly tomorrow.
One has to ask why the council Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Services is spending quite so much time in council offices working on the Local Plan. One would hope this time would be put in by the portfolio holder for planning, Lib Dem councillor Graham Cockarill. It obviously takes a lot of effort to Completely Concrete Hart.
Social media debates are very time consuming in order to stay on top of all the posts and then the debate tends to descend to the lowest common denominator. I for one would certainly rather put the time and effort in where it matters and unless one is going to invest all that precious time in the social media arena, better not to engage at all.
This sounds like CCH want to stay in their own bunker and not actually engage with anyone who disagrees with them. They are afraid to engage because they don’t have any facts or arguments to back up their new town ideology.
Unfortunately WHH are wrong in their assessment of housing numbers.
Para 15 of Planning for the right homes in the right places
Working through this. The demographic baseline is the latest DCLG household projections (Table 406) that can be found here. These show that over the period 2011-2032, Hart requires 218 dwellings per annum, or 4,536 in total. In the reference period of 2016-2026 used by the Government, Hart requires 209 dwellings per annum. This 209 dpa is then modified to account for market signals and results in a new Government figure for Hart of 292 dpa. Scaling up to the full planning period results in 6,132 new houses for Hart. And that’s it. No more further adjustments for changes in household size. No more houses for people we have to import who then go and work in London. This compares to the 8,022 in the SHMA and 10,185 in the draft Local Plan.
Hart housing targets under alternative scenarios
They are citing a baseline figure in a government consultation paper which is not part of the planning policy framework in effect at this point in time and is a figure which even if it was policy is taken as a starting point on top of which other factors will add to the housing numbers needed.
We have answered the point about the baseline above. The baseline is the demographic projection. The Government then already made the upwards adjustment for market signals in the 292 dpa figure. It is true that these figures are so far only part of a consultation paper, but the feedback we have received is that the Government is committed to pushing these through. It would seem prudent to us for Hart to take these figures into account now and prepare a Local Plan with two scenarios:
The first scenario should be based upon the 6,132 outlined above. Plus a few hundred to give some flexibility to build some new houses for Surrey Heath. They may still have a problem meeting their new, lower housing target. This would give a total of around 6,500.
The second scenario should be based solely on the SHMA figure of 8,022.
To be clear, the daft 10,185 target in the draft Local Plan should be dropped forthwith. Even James Radley admits the extra 2,000+ houses on top of the SHMA won’t affect house prices. As the Government position becomes clear, Hart can make the decision on which scenario can be submitted to the inspector. There is no need to Completely Concrete Hart.
We lost the fight against Grove Farm because we don’t have a local plan in place. We don’t have a local plan because the Conservatives have allowed it to drift for years in a sea of procrastination driven by their internal in fighting.
True, Grove Farm was lost because we don’t have a Local Plan. It was also lost because our policies are out of date and because the application was not determined on time. Yes, the Tories missed all their own deadlines. But CCH have also played their part by forcing a delay in the Local Plan last December.
The main reason for taking control was to get the local plan out and to do so by a total focus and not letting the intentional disruptions from WHH to deflect us from that.
At no time have we sought to delay the Local Plan. We Heart Hart first highlighted the project management and governance problems back in April 2015 and again in January 2016 after the consultation omnishambles.
It is quite clear that if we don’t get a local plan out that is based on realistic and future proof housing numbers, then Fleet & Church Crookham will continue to be blighted by bolt on developments such as Grove Farm, Pale Lane and whatever is next.
Yes, we need a Local Plan. And quickly. The realistic numbers to use are the Government’s new numbers. These are already future proofed by the extra houses to take account of market signals. We have suggested a modest further uplift to help out Surrey Heath.
It is interesting that the Deputy Leader for the whole of Hart is only concerned about Fleet and Church Crookham. We are also concerned about Owens Farm to the west of Hook. We are also concerned about the long term impact of adopting a ridiculously high housing target. This will then be compounded for decades to come, putting even more of our green fields under threat, including Pale Lane and Crookham Village.
WHH know this and are trying to undermine the new settlement option in the full knowledge that they are condemning us to yet more incremental developments which do not produce any retrospective infrastructure.
We are opposed to the new settlement because we don’t believe it is needed. And we certainly don’t believe it will solve the infrastructure problems facing the district. And we don’t want to Completely Concrete Hart. If we adopt the new Government housing numbers, it will be better for everyone.
I hope that my brief explanation helps.
It does, but not in the way he thinks. It confirms CCH is in the driving seat, dragging the Lib Dems along with disastrous policies to Completely Concrete Hart. The explanation confirms CCH is in a bunker, unwilling and unable to debate the real issues. CCH is locked into its new town ideology and is trying to justify it by sticking to a 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:
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
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:
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
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
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.