Hart's Local Plan Following the Examination in Public of Hart's Local Plan in the autumn of last year, the planning inspector has written to Hart suggesting that he will find our plan sound and acknowledges that we have sufficient housing supply - such that we no longer need to fear planning by appeal.
This is fantastic news for the people of Hart who have faced years of unconstrained planning blight because the previous administration failed to knuckle down and face up to the arduous task of getting a sound plan drafted, supported by sufficient evidence and compliant with national planning policies. Hart has not had a new Local Plan since 1996, which accounts for why we have struggled to defend many planning appeals in recent years.
It is disingenuous therefore for some politically motivated commentators to be painting this as if it is some kind of failing. It is a major strategic and meaningful win for the people of Hart. The inspector, contrary to some of the misinformation doing the rounds, has also identified that a new settlement is an appropriate option for Hart to consider pursuing. A new settlement would in future years deliver housing with the necessary infrastructure which has been so sadly lacking from most of the new bolt on urban extensions of recent years. These ad hoc developments have not helped provide a new secondary school and brought no increased capacity on our local roads as prime examples.
The developer that had been planning to build on the edge of Hook, have abandoned their appeal part way through the public examination based upon the inspector's letter confirming he is minded to find the Local Plan sound. That is how important this is to our future - be suspicious of anyone who tries to tell you that the Local Plan is a bad thing, what is their motive?
At long last Hart are on the cusp of adopting a sound local plan which will protect our environment and quality of life for years to come - don't let anyone try to detract from this critically important achievement.
The pressure for new development never goes away and a new settlement is the most effective way to absorb these central government imposed demands while delivering much needed infrastructure. If we don't start the process of planning for this now we will forever face the blight of urban extensions over and over again.
Facts about funding - the process of going through the preparation of all the evidence, running public consultations (as mandated by central government) and having experts attend the Examination in Public costs money. To get the Local Plan to this stage required a budget in 2018/19 of £755k. There is still work to do if we are to get the plan adopted, another consultation for instance. However, Hart have slashed the budget for this to £376k in the 2019/20 financial year. So some of the comments that others are making on this score are once again completely baseless.