Hartley Wintney Referendum Result – 91.6% say YES!

It was with immense pleasure and modest pride that I was invited to attend the Referendum count at 10am on October 8th at Hart’s council offices - the morning after the polling. If it didn’t quite have the rather more frenetic atmosphere one sees on television at a general election, nonetheless, it was difficult not to be impressed with the understated efficiency of what was going on around me. Bear in mind three counts were in progress – us, Fleet and Hook.

On a more human level, it did seem to be a bit of a ‘sweets fest’ for many around the room!

The first critical point was the number of votes. If I had had a notional target it would have been a 1000, and we came in at 1178 – 25% of those eligible to vote – a good start! Just under an hour later our figures were the first to be announced:







Spoilt Papers


My immediate sense was of a job well done and just reward for the immense efforts of the Steering Group in getting us to this point. As they say in award ceremonies it couldn’t have been done without you – the community, our advisors, the Parish Council and Hart officials.

The Referendum - Voting papers will be arriving soon!

The Referendum will be held on 7th October and interestingly it follows the format and disciplines of other local and government elections.

Whilst we only need a simple majority of those who vote in favour, a good turnout would be just reward for you Steering Group who have done more than go the extra mile to get us to this stage – so please exercise your vote for this important Community benefit.

Hart at their Cabinet meeting in July voted to accept all the Examiner’s recommendations. We were particularly disappointed - despite making representations at the meeting - not to be able to retain the limit of no more than 50 dwellings per site but in the end decided a degree of pragmatism was necessary to get the Plan to Referendum.

The key elements of our Plan are:
• Selected Sites: now reduced to Pools Yard following the Examiner’s intervention;
• Local Greenspace: In addition to the common land, includes Jubilee Field, the allotments, open spaces at St Mary’s Park and the more recent addition of Church View.

 A Mixed Blessing!

The good news is that, subject to a number of amendments, our Plan can now go forward to Referendum. We have a timeline from Hart District Council (HDC) that suggests August/September this year – subject to the requisite approvals from them. More on this below.

So many thanks again to those of you who have supported us on this long and somewhat tortuous journey!

To bring you up to speed, the full Examiners report can be read on the HDC website – search for Hatley Wintney Neighbourhood Plan and scroll down to Neighbourhood Plan Stage – Examiners Report received 22 May 2019.

To summarise, the Examiner commented positively that we presented ‘a very readable and interesting document’. In his view ‘The Plan provides a clear and distinctive vision for the neighbourhood area’. It is clear that the Examiner – who had spent some time exploring the village and surroundings – fully appreciated the intent of a number of our polices particularly ‘safeguarding the distinctive local character’.

The Examiner Responds!

It was extremely rewarding for all concerned to read the Examiner’s opening comments in his initial response to our Neighbourhood Plan: -

The Plan is very well-presented. The quality of the photographs and maps is first-class. It results in a very readable and interesting document. The Plan provides a clear and distinctive vision for the neighbourhood area.

Having visited the Parish, he went on to raise a number of issues which hopefully we will have dealt with by the time you are reading this update. These include the rationale for the sites selected, the legitimacy of a cap of no more than 50 dwellings per development and proposed to give guidance to Hart on the distinctive views we identified. It’s worth noting he was particularly supportive of our policies regarding maintaining the retail nature of the High Street,