“We need to squeeze the pips out of developers in return for the housing we have to take”
Housing is an emotive subject, and rightly so. All of us who have moved into Horndean have done so because of its semi rural location, and the immediate access to country walks, good views and wildlife. None of us has moved here seeking a busy town centre lifestyle with extensive shopping and facilities. If we wanted that, then Waterlooville, Petersfield of Portsmouth might have offered better choices. In fact we all resist change, myself included.
Over the next century it is inevitable that the landscape for Horndean will change with more housing. While as families we continue to have 2.4 children, the demand for housing can only increase. 50 years ago, the population was about 44 Million. Today, it is 50% higher at 63 Million. Current projections 50 years ahead suggest that the UK population will be 80 million or more. Immigration does count for an element of this, but is insignificant compared to organic growth. http://tinyurl.com/awdvyd7
For some of the longer established residents of Horndean the changes have been significant. Indeed an earlier photo on this blog of Downs Ward (Photo Quiz 26th November 2012) shows perhaps 50 homes on Downs Ward compared to the 1250 we have today. I wonder what the people who have lived here all of their lives think about how we have changed in the last half century, let alone the next.
It does not help that we are also surrounded with areas that can not be built on. The newly created South Downs National Park has significant environmental status, and as such is significantly protected against development. Population growth in these areas is set now to spill over to surrounding towns and villages. Portsmouth is full. It is just not possible to build on already fully developed land. They can’t build out to the South, but only now to the North. Havant and Waterlooville need to grow significantly to cope with demand of their own, and from overspill from Portsmouth.
Currently EHDC are working on the Joint Core Strategy. This is the document that all planning applications in EHDC will be assessed against and will run up to 2028. It is currently being revised to show the current expected housing demand following assessment by the Government inspectors that our projected housing figures were too low. In April this year studies to determine what East Hampshire will need moving forward should be complete, and Horndean will need to take its share. (There is a link to the Joint Core Strategy in ‘Useful Links’ tab to the right or clink here http://tinyurl.com/bhb8ztd)
This is the reality of where we are, and unless we wish Government to bring in population control, we need to accept this pragmatically. It can not be blamed on any government, past, or present.
It is however absolutely vital to us all that this housing is located in areas that are acceptable to the community. We have very strong views against building on land we know as ‘Settlement Gaps’ and this formally is the land that prevents settlements such as Catherington, Horndean and Clanfield from merging these areas into one large housing estate. We need to look to sensible sources that can accommodate housing without taking away the open spaces that we value, and adding to our traffic and congestion.
Where might housing go? Land Owners can register their land as a site they would like to be considered for development. This is then put onto the SHLAA register (SHLAA – Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment). This is not a register of land that is accepted or suitable for development, but a register of land that has been put forward. Each application needs to be considered on its own merits, and there is no need to put the site forward for assessment prior to applying for planning permission.
This is the current SHLAA site map dated May 2012 and a link for this as a PDF is in the ‘useful links’ section to the right.
The key sites around us are:
HD018. White Dirt Farm. This is in the settlement gap, and not an area we will support, or be happy to see developed. Remember, these are NOT sites that are approved for development, but land that has been put forward by the owner to be considered.
HD031. Gales Site. A good use of Brownfield land after Gales moved out. Currently underway and you can click on the link to see the Gales plans here. Gales Site Plan
HD001. Havant Road Site – currently has planning permission. You can click on the link to see these plans here. Havant Road Site Plan
HD016. This is Keydell, and the owners of the land are looking to set up a new Nursery on farmland in Rowlands Castle, and sell the current site for housing development. If this does happen then we will loose a large local employer, and see 120 new homes built instead. Personally I think this will be a real shame, and will be difficult to stop, but is clearly being driven by a very profitable decision for the owners of Keydell which will sadly have a long lasting impact on Horndean.
HD020. This is Hazleton Farm, and if we must have development in Horndean then this is the one location I am happy to see built out, and this is the sort of location we need to be steering developers towards. It can cater for a very large amount of our housing needs, does not affect anyone’s views, has good access to the main roads so does not create rat runs and gives the opportunity for new facilities such as shops, village green, and playing fields to be designed in.
The map for SHLAA sites is updated every year, and we can expect more land to be put forward, a field behind the Blue Anchor is one such site that has been assessed. (see blog ‘Development Scare In Horndean’ 3rd January 2013)
What do we get out of new development? If we must have new development, then lets at least make sure it add value to our community. The Green Lane development (which we fought hard against) brings in £1.2m of developers contributions for local facilities, play areas, school improvements and highways improvements. The new community centre that is being built will be open to Downs ward residents as much as the now home owners. We need to start looking at what we would like in the community from future development. Plans are underway with Horndean Parish Council for a skate park. Merchistoun Hall is looking to put in a MUGA on their estate, and we are looking to current development plans to provide changing rooms at Jubilee Hall to make the football pitch there more usable. Gales brings us a Doctors Surgery and also gifts Nash Hall to the Parish Council as a new office. This will help the Parish save money on renting its current premises in the future.
The next 10 years might see a small leisure facility, playing fields, pavilion, youth centre, elderly day centre and highways improvements. Areas like Petersfield with lower development are going to suffer in the future as they will not get free facilities built for them. What would you like to see?
When the housing needs from the studies EHDC are carrying out are complete I will post an updated article. The next 10 years will be about making sure that if we must have development, that it is built in the right place, and the community squeezes the pips out of the developers to get the best facilities we can.