April 2016 – Development Proposal for Cross Farm
There was a public consultation meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday March 29-30th, 14:00 – 19:00 at the Social club regarding a proposal for a large retirement village located on Cross Farm, just behind The Street, Crookham Village.
The proposal includes 170 retirement homes and a 64 bed care home.
This is not yet a planning application and is in the early stages of investigation, however it represents a real threat and/or opportunity for the village. The illustration below shows the area proposed for development (a large area of green field behind the Crookham Village Stores/ Post Office) - click on the image below to see a larger version.
If you missed the chance to attend and comment, you can still send your comments via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2016: Local Plan Consultation closes
In early 2016, Hart District Council relaunched their suspended consultation for your views on their housing strategy (where new homes should be built) for Hart up to 2032.
The consultation ran until Friday 18 March 2016 and is now closed. It included public responses as well as submissions by interested bodies such as parish councils. We are expecting the results of the consultation to be published in June 2016.
This map shows what effect the ‘urban extension’ strategy combined with the ‘rural distribution’ strategy will have on our locality – it essentially turns West Fleet / Crookham Village into one large urban area!
Your Views On Housing Sites Consultation
For only a short period of time, until 18 March 2016, residents of Hart have an opportunity to say where Several thousand new houses need to be built in Hart, according to the housing assessment conducted in 2015. This is in addition to the 4,600 houses that have already been built or received planning permission since 2011.
The background, explanation and options available to Hart District Council are relatively complicated, meaning that the consultation paper itself ran to 55 pages. There are other supporting maps and diagrams in a ‘New Home Site Booklet’ that adds another 47 pages.
There is an excellent description at the Fleet & Church Crookham Society web-site containing simplified but useful information about the HDC Housing Options consultation in case people have missed it. The Society have taken considerable effort to get to grips with the details and present it in a way that can help explain the important details.
Crookham Village Parish Council together with a number of groups including FACE IT produced a paper describing the importance of the consultation and a summary of your options which you can see here Crookham in the Hart Housing Consultation.
HOUSING SITES WILL AFFECT YOU
Hart’s local plan will determine where new development takes place. They have carried out a shortlisting of registered potential sites that could be included in the local plan (SHLAA Sites). New sites are being added. To see the SHLAA sites in Hart, click this link
These sites are being considered because:
• The land owner has put them forward for development AND
• Hart has carried out a preliminary review to remove those they believe would be unsuitable.
In the whole of Hart more potential sites are on the table than the current housing need, however the next step is to prioritise those sites that should be selected for development in the local plan.
Of course there are proposed sites in Crookham Village, including Grove Farm, the whole of Cross Farm behind The Street and Stroud Lane off Crondall Road.
This process does not mean that every possible site will be developed. But clearly if a site is featured in the local plan then it will be very difficult to prevent planning permission being granted. Equally if a site is not in the plan then it will be much easier to defend against a planning application.
Information on the consultation is online at Hart District Council’s Consultation page.
Crookham Village Parish Neighbourhood Plan – we need your input
The Neighbourhood Planning group (part of the parish council) is engaging with the community and drafting the plan which will be put to the parish in a referendum in 2015.
A Neighbourhood Development Plan establishes general planning policies for the development and use of land in a neighbourhood, like:
- where new homes, leisure facilities and business premises should be built,
- what type of development they should be and what they should look like.
The plan can be detailed or general, depending on what local people want.
Neighbourhood Plans allow local people to get the right type of development for their community, but the plans must still meet the needs of the wider area.
We want to get our Plan in place soonest, to give us influence over the levels of development we’re facing – if we all participate and make sure that we have a strong Plan, we stand a better chance of getting it through ‘examination’ first time. This is why it is vital that your household provides input to the consultations.
Please click on this link to visit the Neighbourhood Plan site to find out more
Click here to go straight to the survey where you can have your say
Grove Farm application rejected by Hart District Council
The company claimed the scheme was an ideal opportunity to help meet local housing need and offered many community benefits while respecting the green gap between Fleet and Crookham Village.
FACE IT warned that if approved, it would ‘destroy precious countryside’ and add hundreds of homes to an already over-stretched infrastructure and said the application was ‘yet another bolt-on development’ to Fleet on a greenfield site that was not suitable for large-scale housing development.
FACE IT stressed it was particularly important that the land was maintained as a ‘green gap’ to preserve the village identities of Crookham Village and Dogmersfield, and to prevent their coalescence with Fleet and Church Crookham.
We also pointed out that there were insufficient secondary school places nearby and no new GP surgeries had been built to accommodate a ‘significant’ increase in the population.
FACE IT chairman Max Clark said: “Thank you to the community for their support and to those who came along to provide support for the speakers and to see that the right decision was made. The application was rejected, as recommended by the planning officers. No-one was prepared to speak in favour of the development. In fact, additional reasons were added to those provided by the planning officers as to why this is an unsuitable proposal for this area.”
“Although we are pleased with the decision, it is still important we focus on building a sound local plan as this will provide a solid basis for making planning decisions for the area in the future.”
Learn more about why Grove Farm is a special area by following this link.
Appeal Allows Development on Watery Lane
On 26 June 2015. the decision was announced that Martin Grant’s appeal on the outline planning application for Watery Lane should be upheld. The rejection by Hart’s planning committee is effectively overturned, however, a number of changes during the appeal process and a number of conditions imposed on the application mean that further mitigations have to be provided. The proposed scheme by Martin Grant Homes will see under 300 homes, retail space and site for a doctor’s surgery built on low-lying land at Watery Lane, on the edge of Church Crookham. The appeal is under Ref 14/00040/REFUSE on the Hart Planning website.
Hart felt that the development, which would build over a significant part of the upper Hart Valley, was too urbanised for such an area of environmental biodiversity and did not provide suitable mitigation for the effect on the local Special Protection Area (SPA). Concerns such as traffic, schooling, flooding and damage to a sensitive environment had also been raised by residents.
These arguments were re-iterated at the appeal, but were rejected by the inspector, Claire Sherratt. In her report of the appeal and her decision, she declared “The applications were originally refused for a number of reasons. However, most of the Council’s concerns have been alleviated through the provision of a section 106 agreement containing a number of obligations that the developer should meet should planning permission be forthcoming.”
The main remaining issue was the effect of the development on the nature conservation value of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBH SPA). To alleviate this the developer proposes a SANG (suitable area of natural greenspace) covering some 16 hectares which is well in excess of the minimum area of 6 hectares required for a proposed development of up to 300 houses. At the appeal, Hart DC argued that the proposed SANG land is too wet and muddy to attract regular dog walkers, who prefer the nearby free-draining heathlands. In the inspector’s view “Perhaps the most notable positive attribute of the proposed SANG is its location adjacent to the proposed residential development which it is intended to serve. It is therefore an extremely convenient alternative to the TBH SPA.” She went on to say “The proposed circular route provides variation and interest. The use and management of the site as a SANG would not unduly impact on existing wildlife interests and nature conservation enhancements could be achieved.”
To avoid the potential problems of flooding at the site, the developer has agreed not to build in the highest flood risk areas which has reduced the number of houses to below 300 (from the 340 originally proposed, later amended to 315).
The scheme also includes funding for a roundabout to improve the difficult junction of Redfields Lane with the A287. Improving this junction has been a long term aspiration of the Council. Concerns by many local residents that the development would simply add further traffic to the already congested routes through Church Crookham were dismissed.
The decision comes with 46 conditions which the developer will have to meet to ensure that the development is acceptable. The development cannot go ahead until there has been a full planning application at which many details and compliance with the conditions can be reviewed and assured.
Associated documents can be viewed on the Hart Planning website ref:14/00504
Click here to read more about the threat to Watery Lane here
Hart District needs an up-to-date Local Plan as soon as possible, as defence against inappropriate development. As a step towards this, Hart have opened a new consultation on strategic housing options and we would urge all residents to respond.