Planning Issues – Get Involved!

Whilst I’m sure we all breathed a sigh of relief on hearing the news that the pursuit of the Shapley Heath Garden Village has been halted by Hart District Council, there are still no grounds for complacency. We wait to hear not only the Government’s response on the recent White Paper on planning but also the next steps as Hart gear up to revisit their Local Plan. No doubt we can expect ‘the Village’ to surface again but Hart will need to make a much more compelling case against alternative options – such as the redevelopment of Fleet Town Centre.

Whilst it’s common to bemoan the impact of planning regulations, in many ways they do provide tangible safeguards. So a big Thank You! to the 25% who took time to vote (91% of whom were in favour) for the Hartley Wintney Neighbourhood Plan in November 2019 because this was cited directly in the Planning Inspector’s rejection of the development for some 700 dwellings at Pale Lane.

In the same vein, one of the ‘Community Aspirations’ listed in the Neighbourhood Plan was a review of the ‘Hartley Wintney Conservation Area Character Appraisal & Management Proposals’- to give it its full title – which was last undertaken in 2008. There are a number of Conservation Areas in the Parish and as a first step a Working Party is reviewing the cluster comprising –  Hunts Common and London Road, The High Street, Causeway Green, The Common and Phoenix Green. Yet to be considered are other Conservation Areas such as Church House Farm, Dipley, Elvetham and Elvetham Estate, Hartfordbridge, Hazeley Bottom and West Green.

Bear in mind, what we are about here is to help us to preserve our traditional village setting comprising:

  • Its historical village centre.
  • Its various significant buildings.
  • Important areas of green space with the village green at its heart.
  • The important views and vistas from and into the village centre.
  • The easy access to a high quality rural environment for recreation, wellbeing and wildlife.

The Working Party comprising members of the Heritage Society and Parish Councillors was set up to review the existing 2008 document to assess its current fitness for purpose. Needless to say as a result of Covid and resourcing and budget issues at Hart, progress has been somewhat fitful. Nonetheless, we now have something of a following wind and are moving the project forward. To give you some idea of the scale, in the central area we have 48 Listed Buildings, 34 Locally Listed Buildings, in the region of 200 Positive Buildings and 12 that are described as ‘Focal”. All of these contribute to the character and landscape that makes Hartley Wintney unique.

Once we have completed our ground work, we will carry out a technical review with Hart. Then, and only then, we will hold a Public Consultation – which is an intrinsic part of the process – hopefully sometime in the Spring next year – prior to final approval by Hart.

So ,we strenuously invite you to actively engage as this review goes forward!

Heritage Society: John Sage & Andy Morris

Parish Council: Diana Harvey & Chris Farrance