ACT BY 15 JANUARY TO HELP PREVENT HOOK BEING SWAMPED BY HOUSING. YOUR RESPONSE TO HART’S HOUSING CONSULTATION IS IMPORTANT!
By now every household should have received a flyer from Hart District Council telling them how to respond to the Local Plan Housing Options survey. If you haven’t responded yet, you have until 15 January 2016 – it is very important that we make Hook’s voice heard. The flyer will tell you how to submit your views online (at hart.gov.uk/local-plan-consultation), but if you need a paper copy of the response form just contact the Parish Council office or pick up a copy at Trees Newsagents. Every member of each household is entitled to vote, and every vote counts.
Hook is already scheduled to receive over 800 houses even before Hart’s Local Plan is finalised. But we could be in for between 200 and 900 more, depending largely on whether the go-ahead is given for the new settlement at Winchfield. As reported last month, if Winchfield doesn’t go ahead the slack will be taken up by three major “Urban Extensions” in Hart:
- Pale Lane Farm – Elvetham Heath
- West of Fleet – Church Crookham
- West of Hook – between Hook and Newnham
Not only would this be bad news for Hook, it may well be a poor long-term choice for Hart. It could well lead to most of Hart’s settlements joining together in a ring around the undeveloped area of Winchfield. This would keep a nice green heart to Hart, but only at the expense of places like Hook. However, if Winchfield does go ahead, these major developments are unlikely to be necessary.
If you look at the map you will see that a few of the Winchfield sites are actually just over the boundary in Hook Parish, but are some distance from the logical centre of the new settlement. If and when they are developed they will be part of Winchfield and should not put pressure on Hook’s facilities.
We will – of course – be submitting a formal response after the Parish Council meeting on 6 January. However, we have already discussed it at length and here is the Council’s current consensus on the answers to the most important questions:
Q4 – Prioritise the Approaches:
- Approach 3 – New settlement at Winchfield (favourite – preference 1)
- Approach 1 – Dispersal of new housing amongst all existing settlements (preference 2)
- Approach 2 – Strategic Urban Extensions, including West of Hook (least favourite – preference 3)
Q5 – if we need to combine more than one Approach, which should we choose?
- Approach 6 – Combine Approaches 3 and 1 (favourite – preference 1)
- Approach 5 – Combine Approaches 2 and 3 (preference 2)
- Approach 7 – Combine Approaches 1, 2, and 3 (preference 3)
- Approach 4 – Combine Approaches 1 and 2 (least favourite – preference 4)
In addition, we will also be reminding Hart just how much development Hook has already been allocated, and why it would be unreasonable to expect us to take many more.
This is in line with the draft response from both Hook Action Against Over-development and theHook Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. None of these groups has strong opinions on the answers to the other questions as they are unlikely to have a great effect on Hook. Though all of them expect to provide responses, it’s probably more useful for each person to feed their own opinions back to Hart. Obviously everybody is free to answer questions 4 and 5 in any way they like, but we feel that the priority order given above will be most beneficial to both Hook – and the whole of Hart – in the long-run.