Bramshill House proposal will build too many larger properties

Former police college, Bramshill House in Bramshill Parish Hart District Hampshire 16/00720/FUL

Former police college, Bramshill House in Bramshill Parish Hart District Hampshire 16/00720/FUL

We wrote earlier about the new proposed redevelopment of the brownfield former Police College at Bramshill House. We have now gone through the proposals in more detail and found that the developers are intending to build fewer smaller properties and more larger properties than would be suggested by Hart’s housing need. Moreover, CIty and Country’s document does not mention affordable housing at any point in its document.

To recap, Figure 9.8 of the SHMA sets out the estimated housing need by size of dwelling.  Applying these figures to the proposed 283 units and comparing them to the plans set out by the developers shows the following results:

Bramshill redevelopment proposal compared to housing need. Bramshill Parish Hart District Hampshire. Fielden and Mawson Planning application 16/00720/FUL

This shows that they propose to build 9 fewer 1-bed properties than needed, 20 more 2-bed properties, 61 fewer 3-bed properties and 50 more 4+bed properties than indicated by the Housing Needs Assessment.

We think that Hart District Council should take this into account in their evaluation of the proposal and also ensure that suitable affordable housing is built on this site or elsewhere as part of the overall proposal.


What does the Hampshire devolution bunfight mean for Hart District?

Heart of Hampshire devolution proposals

There is a tremendous battle raging over the future of local government in Hampshire. There are competing visions for how Hampshire should be governed being put forward by both Hampshire County Council and the Heart of Hampshire local authorities, with no clear view on what solution will be adopted.

The row started after proposals were submitted to Government by Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Eastleigh and East Hampshire for a ‘Solent Combined Authority’. Apparently, discussions on this approach are being progressed with Government.

This leaves open the question of how the rest of Hampshire will be governed. The remaining Hampshire local authorities comprising Basingstoke and Deane, Winchester, Rushmoor, New Forest, and Test Valley, together with the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership are exploring the potential for a combined authority and devolution deal with Government, tentatively called ‘The Heart of Hampshire Combined Authority’. Details of these proposals can be found here and here. The benefits of this proposal are claimed to include:

  • Responsibility for a multiyear consolidated and devolved local transport budget.
  • Powers over strategic planning and housing, including responsibility for creating a spatial planning framework for the Heart of Hampshire, supporting the duty to co-operate requirements, and to chair the Heart of Hampshire Joint Investment and Assets Board.
  • The ability to franchise bus services, subject to necessary legislation and local consultation.
  • Control of a new additional £30 million a year funding allocation over 30 years, to be invested to the Heart of Hampshire Single Investment Fund, to boost growth.
  • Responsibility for developing a Strategic Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will identify the infrastructure needed to support the delivery of new homes and improve transport and broadband connectivity across the area.
  • Responsibility for the 19+ Adult Education Budget, which will be devolved from academic year 2018/19

On the one hand, these look like reasonable proposals, however, they appear to simply add a new tier of Government in that Hampshire County Council remains in place with a reduced set of responsibilities and a new elected mayor of the Heart of Hampshire is put in place alongside all of the existing local authorities. This doesn’t appear to create any savings either by reducing the number of senior management posts, consolidating the number of councillors or entering into shared service arrangements to make savings in the back office.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is fighting back and has produced its own set of options contained in a report by Deloitte.

Hampshire County Council favoured devolution option - unitary council.

HCC clearly favours an option where the remaining authorities are consolidated into a giant unitary county authority, with the existing unitary authorities of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight (IoW) remaining in place. It is said this option generates £389.6m of net savings over a 10 year period from a reduction in senior management positions, reducing the number of councillors, reducing corporate services, optimising service delivery and savings in property costs. These proposals would effectively mean the abolition of most of the existing local authorities. These proposals do not apparently include a new mayor and so would miss out on the additional central Government funding on offer for new combined authorities.

Again, these proposals have some merit, but such a large county structure may effectively disenfranchise large numbers of voters and make it more difficult effectively to hold the new council to account.

A further option of 4 unitary councils (Option G) is also considered  appears to have more accountability with centres of local Government closer to the people and this option generates net savings of £250.5m over 10 years.

HCC does not endorse the Solent and Heart of Hampshire proposals and the leaders of the Hampshire boroughs are ‘disappointed’ that HCC have pressed ahead with the Deloitte report without informing or consulting them.

It is clear there is a massive bunfight going on and it is difficult to see how these competing ideas will play out. However, HCC is calling for wide consultation across the county on how we should be governed. It might be a good idea to try and take the best of each of the competing ideas, by adopting the Option G approach in the HCC report and moving to “combined authorities” with elected mayors and financial benefits from Government. The new combined authorities may even be able to share back office functions and make even greater savings.

We will keep you updated as we learn more, particularly if we can see how it will impact the Hart Local Plan.



£27m brownfield development in Hook approved

Decorean Brownfield development in Hook, Hampshire

Fast-growing London-based construction company, Decorean has won the contract for the £27m office to residential development of Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook, Hampshire.  The details of their press release is shown below. This represents another step along the long journey to demonstrate the Hart Local Plan can meet our remaining housing needs from brownfield development alone, and don’t need to concrete over any more of our countryside.

The development, which represents one of the UK’s largest office to residential developments in a business park to date, will see the 84,000sq ft business park, change from existing commercial usage into 107 modern one and two bedroom apartments, set over three floors. The flats will include oversized windows, high ceilings and will be built to a high standard.

The construction is expected to be completed in winter 2017. To date, a quarter of the units have been exchanged. The sale price of each unit in Hook is between £200-250K, in line with Decorean’s desire to build affordable and high quality living.

The park had previously attracted a number of major occupiers including Virgin Media and BMW.

Shraga Stern, Managing Director of Decorean, said: “The apartments will be built to the company’s usual high and exacting standard, exemplifying our dedication to perfection. The location of this site is particularly exciting for us with London being less than an hour away by train, making it a desirable commuter location. We are committed to creating high quality, affordable housing and proud of this development.”



Berkeley Homes launches Hartland Village consultation website

Berkeley Homes (St Edward) launches consultation site for new development at Hartland Village, aka Pyestock and Hartland Park

Proposed location of the new Hartland Village development at the former Pyestock NGTE site, near Fleet Hampshire

Berkeley Homes has launched a consultation website about its proposed Hartland Village development of 1,500 new homes at Pyestock (aka Hartland Park), near Fleet, Hampshire.  Its subsidiary St Edward Homes has now named the new development Hartland Village.

The consultation site can be found here.

They have published an email address to which local residents can register for further updates: [email protected]

Berkeley Homes’ representatives, GL Hearn have also sent letters to local businesses asking for their comments.  A copy of such a letter can be found here.

In the letter they say:

St Edward is now in the process of developing proposals for a residential development of the site, which would make a significant contribution towards meeting the need for new homes in the area. As a brownfield (already developed) site, Hartland Village will be an ideal location for delivery of new homes in a development with a distinctive character of its own with village shops and community facilities.

St Edward is committed to thorough public consultation on all of its projects and it is anticipated that the first round of engagement with local people will take place in the next few months. Further details of these public events and initial proposals for the site will be publicised in due course.

We Heart Hart encourages everyone to participate in this initial consultation, and would suggest that the proposed development is welcomed, but also make clear that this new development should take account of the following points:

  1. The proposed site is large at 135 acres.  It is essential we make the best use of this previously developed land, and we would encourage Berkeley Homes to consider building at a higher density than that proposed.  1,500 homes on 135 acres amounts to only around 27.5 dwellings per hectare – densities of double that should be considered.
  2. The area is short of truly affordable homes for local people, so the development should include a fair provision of smaller, starter homes for those struggling to get on the housing ladder. Remember just calling homes ‘affordable’ does not make them so and due note should be given to understanding what is genuinely affordable to those households on median incomes in the district
  3. It is essential that proper infrastructure is delivered alongside this development such as schools as well as shops and community facilities. Some of this land should be set aside to meet the educational needs of the area.
  4. We should also take a properly strategic view of transport and use this opportunity to build new roads and/or modify the existing road network to improve traffic flow in and around Fleet.
  5. It will be important to deliver proper SANG provision for recreation and sports facilities.
  6. Fleet Pond and its immediate surroundings should be protected.
  7. Decontamination of the land should be done properly, so there is no risk to future residents


Prices of new homes out of reach of Hart residents

Bewley Homes 3-bed semi detached Hartley Row Park Hartley Wintney Hampshire

Bewley Homes has released the prices of the new houses it is building at Hartley Row Park, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, also known as Rifle Range Farm.

The lowest price for a 3-bed semi-detached home is set at £465,000. The lowest anticipated price of the 2-bed homes due to be released later in 2016 is £370,000.

This compares to the median incomes in Hart set out in Figure 4.8 of the SHMA, which is £40,200.

Hart Rushmoor and Surrey Heath Median Incomes Figure 4.8 of SHMA

This means that the cheapest 3-bed house is 11.5 times median income, and the cheapest 2-bed home will be 9.2 times median incomes.  The cheapest new properties will be totally out of reach of middle-income families in the district.

We have argued for some time that these types of new developments such as Hartley Row Park, Edenbrook (in Fleet), the proposed new town at Winchfield and the newly proposed urban extension at Pale Lane deliver the wrong type of housing to meet the needs of local people.

We need more smaller, more affordable properties and more specialist accommodation for the elderly. Development of brownfield sites for the remainder of our Local Plan period are much more likely to deliver more cheaper properties that will give our young people more chance of getting on the housing ladder.

Planning Inspector’s Trimmers Farm decision could scupper Winchfield new town plan

Solar Farm at Trimmers Farm, Hook, Hampshire turned down by planning inspectorate

Trimmers Farm solar farm turned down by inspector

The Planning Inspectorate has decided not to allow a solar farm to be built at Trimmers Farm, near Beggars Corner, on a site that straddles Hook and Winchfield parishes.  The implication of this decision is that it also likely scuppers the proposed Hartley Winchook new town. The full decision can be downloaded from the button below.

The main reason given by the planning inspector was that the solar farm “would cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape”. Although the inspector did also say that ” the proposal would make a valuable contribution to the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions. It would also assist in securing the ongoing viability of the farm enterprise”. The more detailed assessment of the harm said:

From my own observations and having regard to the appellants’ photomontages and Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV), the solar farm would have an adverse visual impact which would significantly detract from the visual amenity of the area. Having taken into account the presence of the railway, motorway and pylons I consider that the proposal would consolidate the spread of man-made features across the skyline and add to the creeping urbanising effect on the area, thereby exacerbating the resultant harm to the landscape character and visual amenity. In conclusion the level of harm to the character and appearance of the landscape would be significant and would conflict with LP saved Policies GEN10, GEN1, GEN3, CON23, RUR2 and RUR3.

SHL167 SHLAA Map - Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

SHL167 SHLAA Map – Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

The implications of this could be quite interesting as the same Beggars Corner site is contained in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment as SHL 167, and is included in the proposals for the proposed new town at Winchfield. We have written before that 772 houses were proposed to be built on the former land fill site.

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner

SHL 167 Landfill details Beggars Corner, Winchfield, Hart District, Hampshire

However, we find it difficult to believe that 772 houses, many of which might have solar panels on their roofs, would have a lower visual impact or create less creeping urbanisation than a solar farm.  Of course, the challenges of building houses on landfill would be much greater than installing solar panels.

As can be seen from the image below, the removal of SHL167 from the new town plan would effectively isolate two halves of the proposed new town, with the Murrell Green sites being disconnected from the other sites.  This will compromise sustainability and will also reduce the housing capacity.

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

Winchfield and Hook New Town proposal

We have previously challenged the viability of the new town plan, as have Winchfield Parish Council. However, to re-cap, the SHLAA suggests that the housing capacity of the new town sites is in the range 6,500-7,500. But not enough space has been set aside for SANG, or for sports facilities, schools, shops, car-parks or community facilities. Making allowance for these elements would reduce capacity to 4,000-5,000. Removing the 772 houses from SHL167 would further reduce the capacity to 3,228-4,228, which is well below the minimum viability threshold of 5,000 dwellings.


Trimmers Farm Solar Farm Planning Inspector’s Appeal Decision
Trimmers Farm Solar Farm Planning Inspector’s Appeal Decision


Wates Developments seeks Environmental Assessment of Pale Lane site

SHL 52 SHLAA Site - Pale Lane, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District Hampshire

Wates Developments has submitted an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report on the Pale Lane site (known as SHLAA site SHL 52 and strategic site STR009) that straddles Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney parishes.

Wates have made a presentation to Elvetham Heath Parish Council, and plan to make further presentations to interested groups.  A copy of the slides used can be found on the download below.

The site lies to the west of the existing Elvetham Heath development, and is bounded to the north by the M3 motorway and to the south by the main railway line to London.

Wates Homes Pale Lane Development Proposal, near Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney, Hart District, Hampshire.

As part of their submission, Wates have given an indicative layout of the final scheme (reproduced above), that will, if eventually approved, contain around 700 new houses, a local community centre, a new primary school and be called Elvetham Chase.

We don’t oppose an Environmental Assessment being carried out, but we would be very disappointed if this development went ahead because:

  1. Hart currently has a 6.7 year land supply, based on the existing inflated Strategic Housing Market Assessment
  2. The Housing Market Assessment is currently being reviewed, and the expectations are our housing allocation will be reduced
  3. Hart District Council is participating in a Government pilot scheme to create a register of brownfield sites,
  4. Hart has initiated a study to identify the brownfield capacity of the district and
  5. Our figures suggest there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites (including Pyestock aka Hartland Park) compared to only 2,500 further houses need to be permitted to meet our current housing target up to 2032.

So, we see no need to concrete over any more of our greenfields for decades to come.

We also note that Adams Hendry’s assessment determined that there were significant transport issues with the site and suggested that Pale Lane might have to be closed to vehicular traffic saying:

Primary vehicular site access would almost certainly be provided onto the A323, with a potential secondary access to the south on Pale Lane. However, the Pale Lane access is severely constrained by being a single track lane with a narrow single-track tunnel under the railway and single track bridge over the River Hart. If it were to provide an effective access point for development at the site, all of this infrastructure would need to be upgraded, not least to ensure effective and safe pedestrian and cycle access between the site and the Hitches Lane Country Park to the south of the railway. However widening the tunnel under the railway and the bridge over the river are likely to be very costly. Therefore, it would be sensible to test closing Pale Lane to all vehicular traffic as an alternative that would ensure safe pedestrian and cycle access could be achieved.


Wates presentation to Elvetham Heath PC about Pale Lane
Wates presentation to Elvetham Heath PC about Pale Lane



Local Labour Party set out their position on Pyestock

North East Hampshire Labour Party set out their position on Pyestock

The North East Hampshire Labour Party have responded to our request for them to set out their position on developing a new sustainable village at the Pyestock (aka Hartland Park) site. This is an important issue for the Hart Local Elections 2016.

Their response can be found here. They say they support the redevelopment of Pyestock, but still support the idea of a new town at Winchfield.

There are a number of points in their post that We Heart Hart disagrees with and a number of inaccuracies that are addressed below:

Not building enough to meet housing targets

First, it is true that taken as a whole, the country is not building enough to meet its overall housing targets. However, not all of the blame can be pinned on Local Authorities or Government. A recent report form the Communities and Local Government select committee, chaired by Labour MP Clive Betts has said:

The real problem isn’t local authorities failing to give planning permission but developers getting planning permission and then, possibly as a way to maximise profits, taking a long to time to fully develop sites. We are calling on the government to review these proposals, and to identify the powers local authorities need in order to require or encourage developers to build out sites in their areas.

We support the development of brownfield sites for housing where it contributes to meeting local housing needs.

This chimes with our research and that of Alan Wenban-Smith. There is also evidence that housing targets across our area are over-stating the real need, being on average 41.9% higher than the official population projections would suggest.

Inaccurate assessment of the remaining housing need and infrastructure funding

Second, the local Labour party say:

Due to this national under-development, Central Government has given Hart a fairly high building target to reach by 2032 of around 7,500 homes. Somewhere in the region of 3,500 homes have had [sic] been granted planning permission, some of which being on brownfield sites. These developments are simply extensions to our existing towns and villages, but crucially don’t come with any money to pay for improvement to our infrastructure, be it our schools or surgeries.

We agree the target is 7,534 new homes are said to be our ‘need’ in the planning period up to 2032. But, they are inaccurate in their inference that 4,000 homes are yet to be granted planning permission for Hart’s Local Plan. Hart Council’s own figures in the recent consultation stated that only 2,500 still needed to be permitted (see here, para 21). Their claim about infrastructure funding is also untrue in that all developments (with the narrow exception of office conversions) attract S106 or CIL payments.

Due to their insistence that 4,000 more homes need to be granted permission, they say it is inevitable we have to build more housing in the countryside. However, as we have shown above, their claim is inaccurate, but even if it were true, our analysis has shown that there is capacity for around 4,000 homes on brownfield sites. It seems rather perverse to on the one hand support brownfield development, but at the same time be in favour of more green field development.

We have done our own analysis to show that the infrastructure costs of a new town will far exceed developer contributions and Winchfield Parish Council commissioned a report from professional planners, John Boyd Associates, into the new town idea and they concluded that:

  1. There is a lack of evidence to justify the need for a new settlement
  2. Winchfield is not a suitable location for a new settlement
  3. A new settlement is not a viable approach
  4. There should be more of a focus on alternatives such as brownfield development and dispersal

All in all it appears as though the local Labour Party has come to the wrong conclusions based on some dodgy data and inaccurate assumptions.  So, We Heart Hart does not support their position. A summary of all of the local candidates’ positions on this can be found here.


New town plan savaged by Winchfield Parish Council

Winchfield Parish Councillor

Winchfield Parish Council’s (WPC) submission to the Hart Local Plan consultation has been covered in Fleet News and Mail and Get Hampshire.

They cover much of the ground that was covered in our post about WPC’s representations to the consultation, quoting our view that their submission “is an eloquent and devastating attack on the whole idea of a new town”

For more information, see the full submission and covering letter in the downloads below:


Cover letter:

Winchfield Parish Council Cover Letter
Winchfield Parish Council Cover Letter

Full response:

Winchfield Parish Council Local Plan Consultation response
Winchfield Parish Council Local Plan Consultation response

#StormKatie floods Winchfield for fourth time in 3 months

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Storm Katie has wreaked havoc across southern England today, and several roads and fields in Winchfield, Hampshire have flooded again, for the fourth time in three months. Floods also occurred on the 4th of January, 7th January and 9th March 2016.

The map of the floods we found is shown below, together with a carousel of images:

Floods in Winchfield and Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Floods in Winchfield and Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie


Given this level and frequency of flooding, we really to have to call into question the suitability of Winchfield as a location for a new town in the Local Plan.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Taplins Farm Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field Station Road Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field Station Road Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie.

Flood Field near Pale Lane Winchfield 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie Storm Katie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016 #StormKatie

Flood Totters Lane Hook 28 March 2016