Hart Local Plan “Regulation 18” Consultation – Action Required

Hart have published a Draft Local Plan for a consultation under Regulation 18 of the National Planning Policy Framework. What this means is that this draft plan comprises the core of the plan that Hart would wish to put before an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate for an Examination in Public and then to be adopted as a formal Local Plan with legal status under planning law. The EIP is the stage at which Hart’s previous attempt at adopting a Local Plan failed. But before they can submit a plan for an EIP they must consult residents and other stakeholders and consider feedback from them.

The document is 148 pages long and there are many supporting documents. There are sections on housing development of course, but also employment and retail provision and both natural and built environment issues. The consultation ends on 9th June.

Hart are running public ‘drop-in’ exhibitions including one in Hook on Tuesday 2nd May between 2pm and 8pm at Hook Community Centre. We would urge residents to attend if they can.

Hook Parish Council will also be holding a consultation specific to issues that directly affect Hook. This will be on Sunday 7th May at Elizabeth Hall between 11am and 4pm. There will be another chance to view the information on 24th May at the Community Centre between 7pm and 8pm, prior to the Annual Village meeting that day. The information presented on 7th may will also be displayed outside the Parish Council Reception from the 8th May.

We have only just received the Hart local Plan documents ourselves and we are bringing them to everyone’s attention immediately because the more people who can review these and point out errors, problems, unintended consequences, contradictions the better. Of course it is possible that there are parts that demand praise and responses to the consultation can be supportive as well as critical. But for now, since this is the core of the plan that will be inspected formally, it is important for us all to point out any problems for Hart and for Hook in these proposals.

Of course the area of huge concern is the “Spatial Strategy” and as we informed you previously Hart have backed away from a development at Winchfield in favour of a smaller development, but still 1800 houses, at Murrell Green. How they came to this is an absolute mystery at least to residents. The previous consultation asked residents for their views on urban extensions, dispersed development and a new settlement at Winchfield. Hart residents rejected urban extensions and the dispersal strategy and responded in huge numbers for a new settlement at Winchfield. Now Hart are skimming over this consultation as though it fully supports their hitherto unpublished (and never consulted upon) idea for a smaller settlement in a different place! The new document does not explain the change or the criteria used or how it dropped into place as a fully formed development while Winchfield (that they were said to be “testing” for years now) dropped away despite the public support for development there. There also seems to be no clear explanation as to how infrastructure such as schools and transport will be funded or enhanced as a result of the new proposals.

Anyway, right now it is just important that as many people as possible at least skim through the main document to find items of interest, referring to any supporting documents as necessary and report back to us with any issues you find at hookdevaction@gmail.com. You should of course respond immediately to Hart on the consultation (links below), that is after all the entire purpose, but we will endeavour to summarise all the findings reported to us so that others can carry out in-depth analysis of problem areas and bring them to your attention for further responses.

The consultation page is at https://www.hart.gov.uk/draft-local-plan. All documents are available from there.

The main document is Draft Local Plan: Strategy and Sites 2011-2032. There are maps at Draft Policy Maps. Additional information including details of the Murrell Green proposals are at https://www.hart.gov.uk/Evidence-base.

You can respond via the online form but since responses cannot be saved part way through it may be better to download a Microsoft Word response form and email it to planningpolicy@hart.gov.uk.