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SHGV Survey by Hart District Council

Shapley Heath Garden Community Survey

Hart District Council (HDC) has published a survey via the new Hart Garden website inviting the views of all households across the District on the proposed ‘Shapley Heath Garden Community’ development at Winchfield and Murrell Green.

Winchfield Parish Council (WPC) regrets the continuing fixation by HDC with this manifestly unnecessary and unsound proposal.

Winchfield is being threatened by the building of at least 5,000, and possibly up to 10,000, houses (as set out in the Vision Document & Bid Proposal) despite the proposed policy in the Hart Local Plan being withdrawn at the Planning Inspector’s insistence in February 2020.

If this proposal goes ahead it will lead to the coalescence of Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Hook and Winchfield, creating an urban sprawl which will ravage the countryside.

As a Parish Council, we will continue to challenge this unwarranted development rigorously. We have the support of Dogmersfield, Hartley Wintney and Odiham Parish Councils, amongst others.

We urge you to respond to the survey. The survey is prescriptive in nature, asking you to select from a list of pre-determined choices. We urge you therefore to make full use of the free text boxes to express your views where the survey allows. This can be done by selecting the ‘Other (please specify)’ checkbox and adding your own words.

In particular you should take note that:

  • There is no adequate description of the project in the survey itself, its likely impact on the surrounding area or an explanation of the need for a new settlement of this size. Full information can be found on the Garden Community website.
  • The Location Map does not show the settlement and housing clusters that define the dispersed settlement pattern of Winchfield, which may mislead people into thinking Shapley Heath Garden Community will have little impact on the existing village of Winchfield or the surrounding areas.
  • The map gives a false impression of the separation between Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Hook and the Garden Community. There will be coalescence.
  • According to the 2011 Census, the number of households in Fleet was just over 11,045, Hook 3,124, Hartley Wintney 2,139 and Odiham 1,927. Shapley Heath Garden Community will add a further 5,000, with scope to grow to 10,000, which could lead to an additional population of between 12,530 and 25,000 people (based on 2011 Census average household population in the locations mentioned).
  • There is no evidence the development is viable or deliverable, as noted by the Planning Inspector during examination of the Local Plan: “There is little evidence to demonstrate that a site can actually be delivered in terms of infrastructure, viability and landownership within the identified Area of Search.”
  • The Area of Search has both the M3 and railway line cutting straight through it, as well as a mains gas pipeline and high voltage pylons.
  • The Area of Search implies that all the land in the area is available for sale, which is factually incorrect.
  • Despite engaging with the public through this survey, the Shapley Heath Garden Community could be considered pre-determined as HDC is not looking at any viable alternatives. Despite the Government’s direction to build predominantly on brownfield sites, Hart is focused ONLY on decimating greenfield countryside as a solution.
  • The building of 5,000 homes in Shapley Health Garden Community will drive up the housing target for Hart if it were to go ahead. 500+ houses will be built per year, for years to come. 3,225 excess houses will be built, and more if the development site was to expand to 10,000, which HDC has already made provision for in the Area of Search.
  • HDC acknowledged in the current local plan that the new development was not required for it to meet its housing requirement set by the Government and since the publication of the Planning Inspector’s report in February 2020 the Government’s housing requirement for HDC has actually fallen by 32% from an average of 423 dwellings per annum (dpa) to 286 dpa, (Local Housing Need, 2020).  
  • There will be a material impact to the whole of Hart following the loss of the ‘green lung’ which is Winchfield – a valuable recreational resource for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and users of the Basingstoke Canal.
  • There is a lack of consideration of the implications on the environment and how this development will undermine the recently adopted Climate Change Action Plan by HDC.

In summary, Winchfield Parish Council considers that the survey misrepresents the nature, status and impact of the project on our village and the wider communities across Hart.

Additional information can be found on the We Heart Hart website here or on the WPC website here. Alternatively, please contact the Parish Council.