Hart community groups now need to share common ground

Hart District Council’s Local Plan Consultation in November 2015–March 2016 represented an opportunity for residents of Hart have an opportunity to say where several thousand new houses should be built in Hart. The consultation closed on 18 March, and we now await the results, and next steps on the Local Plan.

This was an important consultation by Hart District Council as it will help to define how and where thousands of houses will be built in our area over the next 15 years or so, in addition to the 4,600 houses that have already been built or received planning permission since 2011. We were very pleased with the level of interest from our members and from the residents of Fleet and Church Crookham during our campaign to raise awareness of the consultation and encourage people to respond.

Clearly each community in Hart put considerable effort into protecting its respective area, whether that be Fleet & Church Crookham, Hook, Hartley Wintney or Winchfield. It is very unfortunate that the consultation had the effect of setting one community against another in a way that is alien to our normal method of working.

Given that we often see apathy in community matters these days, it is reassuring to see that so many people care about where they live, even if we don’t all agree with each other’s standpoint on housing and where it should go.

Whatever the outcome, it is clear that the shortfall in housing numbers from Rushmoor and Surrey Heath is a huge threat to housing demand on Hart Council, and hope that we are able to share common ground with the other community groups to put pressure on the neighbouring councils to take their fair share of housing, so that Hart doesn’t have to plan for these as well as Hart’s own needs.

If you are interested in being kept up to date with next steps on the Local Plan, why not become a member of the Fleet & Church Crookham Society? Annual membership is only £7 per household and you will receive our newsletter and regular updates on all sorts of news relating to Fleet & Church Crookham, not just planning and development.