Update and final call for comments on the Reading Road and High Ridge Farm planning applications

I hope you had a restful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year break.
Several of us spent a part of our break out leafleting further afield to try to raise awareness of the underhand timing of the initial planning applications for housing and we’ve definitely had some success. Despite Hart’s broken planning website, the objections are now flowing in. I did not find anyone willing to directly rouse support door-to-door in the region of the High Ridge Farm application and we did not have sufficient resources to leaflet it with current participants, but objections to that application are now picking up. There has been an even more significant number of comments made on the Reading Road application. This augers well for the even bigger challenges to come for North East Hook! By the way, I have made an official objection to the planning process itself for both of the current housing applications on the grounds that the statutory consultation period has been severely hampered by the ongoing faults with Hart’s web site, greatly exacerbated by the intentional timing of the application to coincide with the Christmas break.
Those who were disheartened to see a low number of objections on the Reading Road planning case over the holiday period should look again as I think there are now around 60 objections lodged on the Reading Road application – it is hard to be precise as there is some overlap between the “comments” and “documents” areas of the application and which list a comment is in depends on how the comment was submitted. Emailed comments get queued until a member of staff at the planning department can assign it to the relevant case. I have only just submitted my own comments so it is definitely not too late if you have not done so and any single one could make the difference. There are some excellent points being made as grounds for objection. I should also say that there is one support comment – from someone living outside of Hook!!
A quick update on comments lodged by other official consultees on the Reading Road development:
The Health and Safety Executive are advising against the development on grounds of safety due to the high pressure gas pipeline under the site
Hart Environmental Health have expressed concerns about air quality from the additional traffic generated by the development
Thames Water have said waste water drainage capacity is inadequate to cope with the development
The Children’s Services Department of Hampshire County Council have set out the requirements for a developer contribution for school places estimated at £757,000
It is possible the developer can overcome all these objections, so neighbour comments are still needed. Given the Hart Planning web site problems I think the best method is to email objections to planningadmin@hart.gov.uk with the application reference in the subject – 13/02585/MAJOR for Reading Road (deadline Weds 8th Jan according to the planning web site) and 13/02567/MAJOR for Owens Farm (deadline Sat 11th Jan).
Finally there is the Hook Parish Council Planning Committee Meeting on Wednesday 8th January at 8pm which will be specifically considering these two applications. It would be wonderful if as many of you as possible could offer a small amount of time to turn up and join me in attending this meeting. Even though there is no official public input allowed at planning committee meetings (and I guess this “special” one would be no different), the public are welcome to observe the meeting and listen to the deliberations. I would say that a good turnout of opposition would have a great influential benefit on the stance of the Parish Council.
Thanks to all who have helped so far, all who have lodged objections and all who have sent supportive comments our way. I really feel this campaign could make the difference – I am pretty sure that “doing nothing” would simply allow Hook to be rolled over by developers and planners who live elsewhere.