As you are probably aware, St Edward Homes is proposing a residential redevelopment of Hartland Park, a 135-acre site formerly known as Pyestock, Fleet. They are proposing to develop a “sustainable new village with homes, shops and community spaces”. At a public exhibition on 12/14 November, they revealed how their plans have changed since the previous exhibition in July and more details of the first phase of the development.
If you were unable to attend, you can download the exhibition materials from their website here. The deadline for comments is Monday 28 November.
FCCS’s concerns include:
- The density of the housing – the area of land that can actually be developed for housing suggests that buildings will be three or more storeys high. In some places it will be six storeys: nowhere in Fleet has six storeys and, given the elevation, these will be visible from far afield, including from Fleet Pond, nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
- The transport assessment (new since the previous consultation) is also a significant concern. 77% of traffic movements out of the Northern access, with 33% heading M3 London-bound (presumably commuter traffic). Worryingly, 22.9% are heading back towards Fleet from the northern access. Assuming that is also commuter traffic then the railway station is the likely destination. Despite the additional parking tier we know that all spaces are often full weekdays, so unable to accommodate more. Even if residents abandon their cars and take to bicycles, we know that cycle spaces are also fully utilised. Farnborough has a similar problem, so the only room for expanding parking facilities is at Winchfield.
- A reduced amount of infrastructure might be funded because of the decontamination needs of the site (which was was previously home to the National Gas Turbine Establishment, an important facility in the development of aircraft jet engines in the post war-period). Smaller developments such as Hartland Park are unable to provide the essential infrastructure contributions to support the burden that new housing brings, and Hart is in danger continuing the trend of piecemeal development with infrastructure failing to catch up with new housing burden.
- A related concern is that the huge cost of decontamination is likely to reduce the amount of affordable housing on the site. This is because most of the infrastructure funding demands are fixed – leisure, education, transport, etc. The one variable open to negotiation (and viability test) is the proportion of affordable housing. We are concerned that the developer will argue that the cost of decontamination means little or no affordable housing. Given that Fleet is already outside the price range of many, this will remain an important issue.
It is expected that St Edwards Homes will apply for outline planning permission for the site., and more detailed planning permission for the first phase, early in the new year.