On December 3rd the Parish Council approved the Hartley Wintney Neighbourhood Plan and accompanying documents. This means it is essentially ready now to go forward to Hart District Council for the next stage of the process although there is a possibility there might need to be a review of the accompanying documentation – rather than the thrust of the Plan in light of legislative changes due to be announced at the end of December.

Nonetheless, this is a rare moment and well-earned thanks are due to past and present members of the Steering Group, our consultants, the Parish Council and those members of the community who have engaged with us throughout our long journey.

Let me just remind you that the purpose of the Plan is to sit alongside the Hart Local Plan to guide development and provide direction to any interested parties wishing to submit planning applications for development within the parish.

The key elements of our Plan are:

  • Selected Sites: development of three brownfield at Nero Brewery, James Farm and Pools Yard totalling around 23 dwellings and each with a number of stipulated site-specific conditions.
  • Local Greenspace: In addition to the common land, this lists nine areas amongst which are Jubilee Field, the allotments, open spaces at St Mary’s Park and the more recent addition of Church View.
  • Distinctive Views: includes the Cricket Green, the view from Star Hill and the approach to the village from Fleet looking across to the rooftops of Mount Pleasant.
  • Community Aspirations: a number of issues such as traffic, parking and leisure facilities were raised frequently during our community consultations but these fall outside the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan. Nonetheless, they are important and so have been summarised in an appendix to the Plan and also now feature on the agenda of the monthly Parish Council Planning Committee meetings.
  • Design Guide: a collaborative exercise involving the Steering Group and the Preservation Society, it sets out guidance for future developments.

A recurrent theme - recognised within the Plan too - is the need to provide a housing mix that suits the needs of an aging population - including extra care housing - young first-time buyers and the growth of young families as well as increasing the provision of affordable market homes for lower income families. This is no small challenge but remains an important thrust of the final Plan.

Given the extensive scope of the Plan this update can only be a summary. More can be found on the Neighbourhood Plan website which I very much encourage you to visit.

Chris Farrance