The East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) has published its Draft Local Plan (dLP) for consultation. The consultation started on 5 February and finished on Tuesday 19 March 2019. The dLP includes the provision of 3,723 homes required to satisfy its national housing allocation including an allocation at Northbrook Park which abuts the Surrey Hampshire boundary. The current proposal in Hampshire is the construction of a minimum of 800 houses, a primary school, community hub, ‘village’ centre, sports facilities and a variety of employment and office buildings. The dLP indicates that the development would if undertaken take place between 2028 and 2036.
Bentley Parish Council has expressed concerns at the proposals. Bentley residents attended a meeting at the Bentley Memorial Hall on Monday 25 February, an estimated four hundred people. The parish of Bentley currently has approximately 450 houses with a population of approximately 1,250.
The Society understands that the landowner’s proposals are to extend the development in the Farnham Built Up Boundary Area and construct a further 700 houses.
The Northbrook site was submitted as part of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan process. The site was rejected, the summary stating ‘A significant development of 15.3ha set in open countryside removed from Farnham and extending beyond the Parish boundary into East Hampshire would have a significant detrimental effect on the landscape of high sensitivity.’ Continuing ‘A new settlement would not represent an appropriate strategy to accommodate development taking into account the reasonable alternative of brownfield sites in more sustainable locations. The site is unsuitable and potentially unachievable as a housing allocation.’
The impact on Bentley will be unmeasurable, but the impact on Farnham will be significant as well. Residents of the development would likely look to travel east to work, to shop, for their social life and entertainment.
Issues that would arise from the inclusion of the proposed development in the EHDC dLP to Farnham would include a significant impact on the infrastructure. If properly managed, the funds levied under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) could contribute to a western relief road, which would be beneficial and would ease what could otherwise be not insignificant congestion through Farnham town centre. Increased traffic movements would undoubtedly result in some congestion and over demand for parking spaces despite the proposal to operate a bus service, with increased demand on already stretched facilities. Residents travelling to London would require to travel through the town centre, rail tickets are currently 20% cheaper from Farnham than Bentley.
The development would bring a further demand for school places. Farnham is already looking to have 2,780 new houses built in the period up to 2032, so even the 800 homes proposed on the Hampshire side would bring a significant extra demand. The further 700 homes in the Farnham boundary area would create even more demand.
The proposals would result in the loss of greenfields, an area recorded as landscape of high sensitivity. A development would change the A31 corridor immeasurably.
The Society is going to comment and register its concern and objection to the inclusion of the site within the EHDC dLP. Clicking this link will take you to the draft Local Plan.
You can comment on the dLP by clicking here, note that you will have to register to do so. Alternatively you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Planning Policy, East Hampshire District Council, Penns Place, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4EX. Your comments need to be received by the council by 5pm on Tuesday 19 March 2019.