Hart is carrying out another consultation on the strategic housing options for the district. The options for building new homes are the same as those consulted on last year, i.e.-
Option 1 Within existing settlements.
Option 2 Extend existing settlements.
Option 3 Urban extensions similar to Elvetham Heath.
Option 4 New settlement (Winchfield?).
Option 5 Outside the SPA zone of influence where SANG land will not be required.
Responses to the previous consultation last year showed that a significant majority favoured a combination of Option 1 and Option 4 as the main strategy for housing.
New documents have now been produced providing details of where the possible housing sites are located along with explanations as to the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Hart are consulting on these new documents which can be found at http://www.hart.gov.uk/planning-policy. Responses should be received no later than the 11th January 2016.
One of the most contentious issues will be whether Hart has to take the housing short fall of Rushmoor and Surrey Heath. Hart has responded to Rushmoor’s draft Local Plan and has not excepted they have tried hard enough to provide land for their housing; we wait and see the outcome. Surrey Heath are still reviewing their options and have yet to formerly respond. There is the potential for the number of homes to be built in Hart almost being doubled to meet the short fall of neighbouring authorities.
It is, therefore, in everyone’s interest to respond to these documents before any strategic decisions become “cast in stone”. There is still time to influence the way development is to be planned in Hart. It is unlikely that everybody can be pleased by all of the options, but the Government requires Hart to build a certain number of new homes and they have to go somewhere!