Hundreds respond to 2,000 Hart homes consultationBy Laura Nightingale
February 07, 2013
PEOPLE responded in their hundreds to plans to build more than 2,000 new homes across Hart.
More than 500 people took part in a public consultation on the 2,301 homes earmarked in Hart’s Local Plan development blueprint from now until 2029.
Objectors raised concerns regarding the local infrastructure saying it was already under pressure, especially for schools, health care, roads, station parking and leisure facilities.
The campaign group FACE-IT (Fleet and Crookham Environment Is Threatened) formed last year to fight for a housing plan that would be fairly distributed across the district and included proper infrastructure planning.
A spokesman for FACE-IT said: “Many thanks to those of you who have supported the consultation by making your own submissions to the council.
“We sincerely hope the volume and quality of responses will be taken by Hart District Council as evidence that the current draft of the Local Plan has a large body of support and is largely regarded as ‘sound’.”
Under the plan, Fleet town centre is earmarked to take 250 new homes, land west of Fleet 170 and the rest of Fleet, Church Crookham and Elvetham Heath, 221.
Yateley has been earmarked for 160 new homes, while there would be 500 new properties in north east Hook and 100 in the rest of Hook. A total of 220 new homes are planned for Hartley Wintney, 180 in Odiham and North Warnborough and 500 in rural settlements and previously developed land in the countryside.
But a bid to build 450 homes at Grove Farm, between Fleet and Crookham Village, has been removed.
Following the end of the two-month public consultation on January 7, planning officers at Hart have been reviewing the feedback and have received comments from neighbouring authorities.
Keith Baker, executive member for highways and planning at Wokingham Borough Council, said Hart’s growth in a number of locations could affect the Wokingham area. He claimed Hart’s pre-submission document states it will look at neighbouring boroughs for services and employment opportunities.
“To access those in Reading and Wokingham boroughs would mean travel through Wokingham borough on public transport services or the highway network,” he added.
“It is therefore important that consideration of the impact on the borough’s transport network of Hart district’s core strategy is undertaken and then addressed.”
Councillor Stephen Parker, Hart’s cabinet member for planning, provided an update on the consultation process at a Hart council meeting on January 31.
He told the meeting that he and fellow planning officers had recently met with Bracknell Forest, Basingstoke and Deane, Wokingham and Rushmoor to address issues raised.
Daryl Phillips, head of planning services at Hart, said it was too early to say what the main concerns were in the public consultation but the council would have a clearer idea at the end of the month.
If the plan is found to be ‘sound’ by a government inspector it will be adopted by the council in the summer.