This is our archived website (2005-10).
|home | about | news | events | campaigns | press | links | get involved | contact us|
|Press Release: 27th October 2008|
Campaign to Protect Rural England sends strong message to Government on draft South East Plan
Campaigning volunteers from the Hampshire branch of CPRE have commented in detail on the Proposed Changes to the draft South East Plan, that were published by the Government following the Examination in Public held in 2006-7. A number of the proposed changes to the Plan would threaten Hampshire's open countryside by allowing more building on greenfield sites, and putting pressure on water resources and transport infrastructure.
CPRE Hampshire has strongly opposed some of these Proposed Changes, particularly referencing the sidelining of the democratic process that led up to the draft South East Plan and now the impact of the impending recession, all of which change the fundamental basis of policies that are supposed to set development plans in concrete for the next 20 years. In the charity's view, the current economic and house-building climate makes the proposed increases to housing targets undeliverable. At the very least, the original figure of 6,100 dwellings per annum for Hampshire should be adopted on a cautionary basis pending a full review of the Plan to take account of changed circumstances. CPRE has asked for all references to 'at least' in front of housing targets to be deleted to avoid higher housing numbers creeping into the system without proper testing.
Hugh Sheppard, Vice-chairman of CPRE Hampshire, said:
"CPRE welcomes certain Proposed Changes, such as the importance of regional transport schemes and promoting sustainable travel. However we believe that the Plan is fundamentally flawed. There is a clear conflict between the stated aspirations for the natural environment and the dominance of economic criteria over housing targets, together with a marked reduction in environmental safeguards. Without a comprehensive understanding of what is meant by 'sustainability' the quality of life for us all will undoubtedly suffer."
In North Hampshire, CPRE has objected to the Proposed Changes that would increase average dwellings per annum in Basingstoke to 945, resulting in 18,900 more homes in the district over the 20-year period of the Plan. CPRE believes this level of building would be unsustainable, particularly in the current economic and housebuilding climate. The purported need for 40-60 ha of employment land in North Hampshire is based on figures using unpublished research, to which Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council objected at the Examination in Public. In 2007, the County and District Councils commissioned further research to the effect that the level of employment land likely to be required is only a fraction of this. In addition, the Secretary of State recognises the importance of results of phase two of the Water Cycle Study being undertaken at present - this may show that additional housing could not be accommodated at Basingstoke.
In South Hampshire, CPRE Hampshire has strongly opposed the Proposed Change to delete the 'Plan, Monitor and Manage' principle, which until now has been the basis of planning in Hampshire. There needs to be flexibility to react to events on the ground, especially in terms of economic growth.
Very significant areas of Greenfield development are proposed in South Hampshire, and CPRE has reiterated its fear that thousands of houses proposed in Strategic Development Areas will only serve to suck resources and infrastructure funding away from the older urban areas. Also, due to current economic circumstances jobs will be sought after so there would be additional long distance commuting, with massive impacts on South Hampshire's congested transport network, already working above design capacity. The housing numbers should be held in 'reserve' because many of them could be found by regenerating disadvantaged areas in South Hampshire - this vital work should come before the development of these massive Greenfield sites north of Fareham or Hedge End.
CPRE has opposed the Fareham Strategic Development Area completely on the grounds that it will breach air and water quality standards, as referred to in the Government's own Sustainability Study.
In the Winchester area, CPRE Hampshire has objected strongly to a proposed rise in the number of houses to 2,300 allocated in Winchester District (outside of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire area). Any such development would have to be by way of intensive development on Greenfield land, probably to the north of Winchester. This is an important green landscape, with prime farmland, that forms an integral part of the historic City and has high amenity value for local people. The River Itchen valley also has a long history of flooding.
In East Hampshire, CPRE has opposed the allocation of Bordon/Whitehill as a Strategic Development Area in the draft Plan. The basis of CPRE Hampshire's conditional support for significant additional housing at Bordon/Whitehill is that it would be an eco-town. Any building has to be designed and planned within a strict environmental framework in keeping with the needs of residents of Bordon/Whitehill and villages in the surrounding countryside. CPRE Hampshire believes that an eco-town should bring high targets for modal shift away from car use, better energy efficiency as well as new local jobs and town centre facilities that reduce the need to travel. A standard SDA at Bordon/Whitehill of the size proposed would be quite unacceptable because of the impact on the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the designated South Downs National Park and the wider countryside.
CPRE has also objected in principle to the proposed deletion of a policy on Strategic Gaps, which, in Hampshire, provides an important way of stopping towns and villages coalescing by sprawling across important farming and amenity countryside, and losing their separate identity.
For a full copy of CPRE Hampshire's submission or further information, please contact 01962 843655 or visit www.cprehampshire.org.uk.
- Ends -
CPRE/H/153Notes to editors
CPRE Hampshire strives to promote the beauty, tranquility and diversity of the countryside of Hampshire by the sustainable use of land and other resources in town and country, and encouraging the biodiversity and well-being of rural communities.
For information on CPRE, please contact:
For all media enquiries, please contact:
© Copyright. CPRE Hampshire, 2009. All Rights Reserved.
Registered Charity No: 245967
Tel: 01962 779185 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org