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COUNCIL PLAN CONDEMNED - INSPECTOR
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Who Are We?
We are local people. We think East Hampshire Council's idea to massively expand Bordon is wrong- it's neither sustainalbe nor "eco." They make promises they can't deliver. They hide the real impact of their plan- a lot more houses, a lot more traffic, a lot of damage to the natural environment and surrounding settlements, fewer local jobs, maybe another supermarket and chain stores. Claimed benefits not funded or guaranteed. Bad planning. Little investment. A high density experiment, with us as guinea pigs.
BAAG's 1000+ supporters makes us Bordon's largest organisation. The damage from overblown, unrealistic ideas has become clearer. Help us and yourselves by taking part, standing up and speaking out. You CAN make a difference.
A message to the Council - STOP
- Stop pretending that the plan is "locally led and widely supported by the community" - when clearly it isn't.
- Stop pretending it will be an "eco-town" - when clearly it won't.
- Stop pretending that planting a few trees at Quebec Barracks will "increase biodiversity", when nearby thousands of trees will be butchered, turning a very "green town" into an urban dormitory.
- Stop pretending the masterplan is about "improving peoples' lives" when it's clearly about cramming in houses.
- Stop pretending people, business and agriculture can get along on half the water they now use.
- Stop pretending existing homes will be retrofitted to make "one green town"
- Stop pretending new building standards will exceed minimum Building Regulations requirements.
- Stop pretending new leisure facilities will appear when there's no money to take over existing ones from the MOD.
- Stop pretending that traffic will reduce while the population doubles.
- Stop pretending thousands of new jobs will be created when clearly no major employers have yet come forward.
- Stop pretending that developers and retail chains will build a beautiful new Town Centre.
- Stop pretending Standford Grange Farm compensates for the loss of most of Bordon's green spaces.
- Stop pretending there will be an adequate bus service, or any hope of a rail service.
- Stop pretending that scrapping the masterplan will lead to a piecemeal developer's free for all.
- Most of all, stop pretending that this is a no-hope town in "desperate" need of regeneration when clearly the impact of your plan would be degeneration- from a country town proud of its military associations to an urban clone town.
Even in 2009 The Ecologist saw eco-towns for what they really are- greenwash read it here
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Video interviews - local people get it right click here
BALLADS AGAINST BULLIES
Headley Village Hall vibrated on 14 May to the sounds of Stuart Burns and Jack Warshaw, guests Martin Wood and the Rag and Moan men and Dave Botting. The programme of traditional and original folksongs, blues and social commentary played to an enthusiastic full house.
The Bordon Post reported:
BURNS & WARSHAW CD
Jack Warshaw CD each only £7, 2 for £12, all 3 for £15 (+£1 p&p)
Stuart Burns CD
BAAG T SHIRTS (S M L XL) red, with "stop this plan now" motto - £6 (+£1 p&p)
All profits go to BAAG's fighting fund
EHDC ECONOMIC AND EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY UNSOUND
The response by BAAG Committee expert John Ilett reveals the Council's hoplessness at sustainable planning. Its complete failure to show how jobs, shops and transport can possibly be attracted to Bordon spells disaster for the town and surrounding communities. See it by clicking HERE.
PENNS PLACE - 7 DECEMBER 2010
Council leaders whipped members to approve their disastrous, unfinished plan at the Full Council Meeting. Leader Patrick Burridge repeated the lie that the alternative to the masterplan is an MOD land sell-off and developers' free-for-all, with none of the 'facilities.' The Council has a legal duty to plan for its area. The alternative to a bad plan is a better one. Here's how.
10 EASY STEPS TO A FAIR, LOW COST, PRACTICAL GREEN PLAN FOR BORDON
Adopt policy to only develop brownfield land (around 80ha max) and retain green space
- Allocate around 20% (16ha) for employment/leisure
- Allocate around 5% (4ha) for local shops and facilities
- That leaves 60ha for housing
- Apply gross housing density reasonably compatible with existing – say 30-35/ha which will yield mainly 2/3 storey terraced and individual eco-houses with gardens
- Develop traffic calming measures; reinforce High Street and Forest Centre with better facilities and more attractive appearance
- Improve existing underused schools for increased take up
- Invest in small business, cycleways, greening existing streets and improving public realm
- Prepare written statement, land use maps and incorporate into Core Strategy
- Really involve people from the bottom up
Result – around 2000 houses on brownfield land, plus land at Viking Park for jobs and leisure
-Developer certainty of permissions for suitable schemes
-No speculative housing application feeding frenzy.
-No traffic overload
-No threat to air quality, water supply, wildlife, ecology,farming, adjoining settlements, green spaces, etc.
-No need for £millions on consultants
-Popular respect for local politicians
Join us at the Forest Centre stall - every Saturday morning
Compare the aerial location view above with the Council's "preferred" Option 3 map, below. The brownfield land shown cannot support doubling the population with 5,500 new houses + required infrastructure. What do you think? go to how to object to see what you can do.
"We have made a huge difference in how people think about planning for Bordon's future"click here to view
EHDC 2010 Masterplan - BAAG response
this is the last time the Council consulted on its masterplan
EAST HAMPSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL - MASTER PLAN CONSULTATION
SUBMISSION BY BORDON AREA ACTION GROUP(BAAG)
1.0 IntroductionThe Master Plan is intended to demonstrate how eco-town standards will be achieved and sustained.
1.1 The key requirements for an eco-town include:
1.Good sustainable links to surrounding towns and cities in terms of jobs, transport and services.
2.The development as a whole to achieve zero carbon standard.
3.A good range of facilities (though no scale of provision is defined.)
4.30% to 50% affordable housing.
5.Creating a minimum of one job per new dwelling. (Based on a national statistic rather than a local one.)
6.At least 50% of trips with origins in the town to be made by non-car means, increasing to 60%.
1.2The eco-town proposal at Whitehill-Bordon is constrained by:
1. The proximity of ecological constraints of various levels of importance.
2. The presence of an existing community of 14,000 people, with their own travel, employment, energy and water consumption characteristics.
3. The presence of a range of shops and facilities serving the current population, the futures of which will be threatened by the eco-town proposals to duplicate them elsewhere in the town.
4. A number of centres within easy driving distance whose fragile retail and social facilities will be marginalised by the planning authority’s proposed intervention in providing competing facilities at Whitehill-Bordon.
5. A remote location, some four miles from the Portsmouth to London A3 Trunk Road, an appalling bus service needing public subsidies and no rail connection or station.
6. A network of narrow rural lanes providing access to the town, passing through a great many small communities.
7. Improvements to car based transport infrastructure on the A3 at Hindhead, making the use of the private car a more attractive proposition.
8. An historically weak housing market in terms of values and sales rates.
9. An area of little interest to employers.
10. Planning authority with no track record of delivering a development of this scale.
We object to the Masterplan on the following grounds:
1. In its current form the masterplan will if implemented have an adverse impact on the physical and environmental character and existing lifestyles in Bordon and the wider locality.
2. Greenfield sites in the heart of Bordon will be either fully developed or encroached upon.These include playing fields, wooded areas and heathland, including parts of the designated Hogmoor Inclosure SINC.
3. The masterplan envisages a considerably greater greenfield than brownfield development land take.This includes existing playing fields in the heart of Bordon, heathland and woodland areas, and working farmland.The quantum of proposed development is solely responsible for the need to look outside Bordon for a SANG.
4. The Masterplan fails to make adequate provision for job creation.
5. The Masterplan fails to include a comprehensive transport strategy.It is essentially a wish list.
6. The Masterplan threatens European and other protected ecological sites and endangered species within them.
7. The Masterplan is unlikely to result in zero carbon development across the whole town.Retrofitting existing homes has not been shown to be either feasible or funded.
8. Assumptions regarding reduction in total private and commercial car use are not matched by any confirmed practicable and funded means of delivery.The Council’s transport consultants have predicted a 46% increase in traffic.No measures to relieve the inevitable congestion arising from traffic increases on the A325 northwards through Wrecclesham and Farnham have been put forward or even considered.Conditions for local unclassified country lanes and their adjoining properties will equally be degraded by increases in traffic.
9. Average densities proposed for the “new” town, exceeding government targets, will create a town with divided character.Proposed high density redevelopment of parts of the existing town will also contrast unfavourably with the grain and scale of the existing town’s housing.
10. No reasoned justification of the government’s threshold figure of 5,000 homes where urban expansion has been proposed or at all has been put forward. No convincing or any body of evidence has been put forward to support the Council’s arguments that:
-a minimum of 5,000 houses is required to support or attract essential retail, leisure, social and educational facilities to the town or,
b-the alternative to a masterplan which accommodates that figure is (as stated by leading Councillors and spokespersons) abandonment of any form of planned regeneration, development, replacement or expansion, leading to ad-hoc developments totalling up to 8 or 9,000 homes
2.0 The Master Plan
The Draft Core Strategy documentation accepts that research in a number of areas is incomplete.The Master Plan is an intrinsic component of the Core Strategy.In the absence of a sound evidence base, it is entirely premature to assemble a Plan and publicise the ensuing consultation exercise as the “last chance” for comments.
The Master Plan version distributed for consultation obliterates existing background details.Furthermore we are advised by the Council that the Plan is not to scale, despite the scale bar on the Master Plan document.The absence of detail is perhaps best indicated in the proposal to locate a bus depot which necessitates the demolition of the Sacred Heart Church and nursery. Furthermore, despite officer and member denials, the Master Plan does show development within the Hogmore Inclosure.The Plan conceals this in showing the development proposals in the absence of background information.When questioned about this and other obvious blunders, Council spokespersons excuse them by stating that the plan is “only conceptual” at this stage.Yet this is the “last chance” to comment. stakeholders and the public are asked in effect to trust the Council on all future detail of a deeply flawed “concept.”
Because the implications of the master plan proposals have not been thought or worked through and are therefore difficult to perceive, the value of this consultation is seriously compromised.
The Council has broadcast a wide range of development scales for the Whitehill-Bordon opportunity.Starting with the “Green Town Vision” which involved redevelopment of the previously used or “brownfield” land to produce a scale of around 2,000 dwellings, the numbers grew to 9,000 dwellings over a 30 year period in the submissions to the South East Plan.Currently the text of the Core Strategy discusses the South East Plan’s strategy for 5,500 dwellings, makes mention of a maximum of 5,300 dwellings but promotes a figure of about 4,000 dwellings in this document.
A wide range of development densities is quoted both within the Master Plan document and throughout the Core Strategy.There is little consistency.Having been advised at consultation events that development would not reach a figure of 80 dwellings per hectare, that figure now appears in the Core Strategy.
2.4 External Road Network
The UK has experience of the repercussions of locating development in remote locations. Without exception the traffic impact on the adjoining road networks has always been substantial, with the vast majority of trips being undertaken by private car. The “containment” of those locations has always been very limited, residents using their cars to work and shop at locations of their choice rather than using facilities within their local communities. The first publication of PPG13 in 1986 rehearsed the outcomes of meeting Oxford’s housing needs in towns beyond the city’s Green Belt. Heavy reliance on the private car and vast commuting distances resulted.
PPS7 advises that;
·“most developments which are likely to generate large numbers of trips should be located in or next to towns which are accessible by public transport, walking and cycling.”
·“Priority should be given to the re-use of previously developed land except where they perform poorly in terms of sustainability eg remoteness from settlements."
The proposed eco-village at Dunsfold for 2601 dwellings, 23,000 sq m of employment, schools and other social infrastructure, was rejected by the Secretary of State because of the adverse traffic impact on the rural lane network and a number of sensitive villages.That proposal was found to generate at least 12,000 vehicles per day, the Whitehill-Bordon proposal will double that on an equally rural lane network with equally sensitive villages.
Great weight is placed by the council upon the provision of sustainable transport facilities within the proposed Whitehill-Bordon opportunity together with the benefits of improved retail provision. However the Commission for Integrated Transport points out that travel within a community is small compared with external travel to and from a community with around 15% of mileage being made on journeys of less than 5 miles and 85% on longer external journeys.
Accordingly encouraging travel by bus/walk/bike for internal trips is pretty ineffective in subduing car use and carbon generation.Communities in East Hampshire, as elsewhere in the UK, use public transport sparingly for external trips, with generally well over 80% using cars.To try to address this, the council proposes a number of “express bus services” to external destinations. These were also proposed at the Dunsfold eco-village.However there was never any prospect of the buses becoming “express” as they would have been locked in the same queues as general traffic thereby failing to attract patronage.They would have suffered the same fate as the Bordon Link to Liphook, terminated for viability reasons. The Secretary of State agreed with the inspector that simply laying on bus services would not succeed in persuading travellers out of their cars.
Accordingly there can be absolutely no doubt that the Whitehill-Bordon proposal would overwhelm the local lane networks with development traffic.
Proposed bus routes purporting to connect Bordon with rail stations via these lanes will have the effect of stopping all following traffic trying to reach these destinations.Increase in hazardous conditions must follow.Consequential pressures for highway measures such as bypasses, widening, laybys, footways, signalled controls, and other works to accommodate increased demand will also increase carbon emissions.Such measures are contrary to the stated objectives of an eco-town.
Unsurprisingly for a council with absolutely no experience of sustainable development on this scale, the master plan documentation makes no reference to any means of addressing the adverse impact on the external lane networks.The Plan illustrates full access from the development to every one of the minor lanes in the area.This is a Master Plan deficiency which will only intensify the scale of the catastrophe which this eco-town in its present form will bring to the area. Questions arising include:
·How will the council explain to residents of Liphook, the gridlocked Village Square, the queues in Tower Road, the difficulties in accessing the primary school?
·Will the council advise the residents of Bramshott why there are hundreds of
rat running vehicles trying to get to the A3 and beyond?
·Will Grayshott residents be appeased with the explanation that their roads will be gridlocked and their community severed in the name of eco-planning at Whitehill-Bordon?
·What comfort will the council give to the communities of Lindford, Passfield, Headley, Standford, Selborne and Empshott which will have to absorb a substantial increase in vehicle movement?
·Will Wrecclesham residents calmly await a bypass which has been promised for 30 years, whilst their air quality deteriorates with queuing traffic?
·How will the erosion of the verges to the local lanes be defended?
·Who will represent the Council in court against the deterioration in air quality within the SPAs?
The master plan needs to demonstrate what measures are to taken to minimise these impacts, currently no constraining measures are proposed, that is unacceptable.
The carbon footprint resulting from the transport consequences of the Whitehill-Bordon development will be overwhelming, but that appears to be one of the high prices this council is willing to pay to secure promised funding for Whitehill-Bordon. This proposal is anything but “eco”.
In contemplating this damaging development the Government is willing to sacrifice the environment in return for maximising financial gain stemming from securing a planning permission on MoD landholdings at Whitehill-Bordon. East Hampshire Council appears to believe that they would lose effective planning control unless it agrees to MoD demands. Hampshire County Council follows suit in its statements. It is disappointing that East Hampshire Council is allowing itself to be manipulated to meet the financial targets of other parties.
2.5Internal Movement Network.
The master plan does not clearly show a railway station, despite the text claiming that the chances of its provision are high. This is a surprising statement as the viability assessment is not available as a background paper. A railway track is shown, aligned through Hogmoor Inclosure! We doubt that the meandering alignment shown would be capable of accommodating a rail service, certainly the gap between platform and carriages would be enormous, railway lines should be straight at stations for this reason.Railway stations need careful planning. They cost around £6 million for the buildings alone. They need car, bicycle, pedestrian and taxi facilities, excellent bus access and to maximise patronage and security should not be in the backwater of a community. Schools, shops and jobs should be close by. The master plan should be shaping the accesses to it, for all users.Thought needs to be given as to how the track will be taken across roads and footpaths, bridges or tunnels, level crossings are unacceptable.
The master plan shows no evidence of any of this work.It seems to us that the council is not serious about the provision of a station, possibly in the knowledge of the £50 million bill associated with reinstating the link to Bentley.
The proposal to take the A325 off line is equally ill conceived. Takingtraffic with external origins and destinations through residential areas will serve to segregate one element of the community from the rest.It will create a barrier to pedestrian and cycle movement and introduce noise and pollution into the heart of the new community. Night time noise levels will be an issue and the quality of the street scenes will suffer accordingly.
Perhaps the ambition is for the through traffic to simply go away. That is a concern because there are a number of residential routes to which traffic might divert. A better approach would be to retain the existing route, because at least people have “bought into” conditions there, but reduce its width, subdue speeds and soften its appearance with landscape investment. To reduce its severing effect, crossing points need to be peppered along its length. The traffic will not evaporate however.The new employment areas will attract very high levels of essential traffic, even eco-towns need deliveries and employees!
There is little evidence of the means by which buses will gain travel advantage. If they are going to attract high levels of patronage, journey times will need to be guaranteed.They cannot be allowed to get stuck in queuing traffic, they need to be advantaged, where are these corridors on the master plan?
Similarly provisions for cyclists are not readily apparent.Certainly cyclists need safe, level, direct routes linking key destinations such as schools, employment areas, shops and the railway station. They need priority at road crossings and should ideally share green infrastructure links with pedestrian traffic. Such features on desirable alignments are not prominent in the master plan.
The area contains a number of bridleways, we wondered if the requirements of the British Horse Society had been investigated to ensure that the existing equestrian activity in the area, particularly in the rural lanes surrounding the town, could be sustained.
2.6 Ecological Issues
Whilst the Master Plan recognises the constraints imposed by SPA’s, and to a much lesser degree those imposed by areas of nature conservation interest, the Master Plan openly illustrates the potential to increase access to those areas, particularly for dog walkers.The use of the Hogmore Inclosure as part of this strategy is surely inexcusable because it is in itself protected as a SINC. Even locating development in close proximity is unacceptable. Conventionally in such constrained areas, the task is to restrict or possibly prevent access, not to improve it.
SANGS (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) have to be designed, located and aligned in a fashion which ensures that the SPAs and other areas of ecological value are best protected.The SANGS need to be equally or more attractive to walkers than the SPAs.
We can see no clear demarcation of the SANGS on the Master Plan.There is no indication of how the various elements of open space inter-relate.It would appear that some of the SANGS are also to be utilised for active recreation, an arrangement which will not make them as attractive as the existing SPA’s.Accordingly they will not succeed in relieving pressure on the SPAs. In addition it is not clear where the 40% open space requirement of eco-towns is located.The conventional 6 acre per 1,000 population requirement for POS is not clear, neither is the 0.2 hectare requirement for allotment space.
The Master Plan should have a land budget summary, demonstrating the acreages of land dedicated to each open space requirement.In that way, English Nature’s requirement for the provision of at least 8 hectares of SANGS per 1,000 population, the eco-town’s requirement for 40% POS and the means by which other POS requirements can be met, can be understood by all.
2.7 Retail provision.
The motivation of the council to improve the retail offer is understood.However the market will determine the scale and nature of the provision, not the council.There is a history of councils allocating housing to small communities in order to support local shops, a completely flawed approach as experience has demonstrated. Research by Guy in “Planning for Retail Development” notes that;
“Theories of household travel behaviour show that nearest destinations are not always the chosen destination as they do not offer the preferred choice of goods or shopping environment.”
The council’s own advisors have acknowledged the retail draw of Guildford and Portsmouth.Accordingly the majority of “major” shopping activity will be at locations outside Whitehill and Bordon.
The science behind the proposed scale of the retail provision is weak, proportioning floorspace against housing numbers in other communities. No retail impact appraisal appears to have been carried out to assess the damage a major retail provision at Whitehill-Bordon might do to the wellbeing of Alton, Petersfield and Liphook. Council statements to the effect that the residents of Liphook can expect to travel to Whitehill-Bordon to do their shopping are of great concern.Liphook, despite the
council upgrading its status to a District Centre, has closed shops, Station Road is looking run down.The centre of Liphook is a Conservation Area.As the council’s advisors comment, the Square and its feeder roads are already degraded by heavy traffic.
The council’s core strategy states that Liphook is to be retained as a vibrant retail centre.This is hardly going to be achieved by subsidising a major competing provision at Whitehill-Bordon. Furthermore, the Council’s argument that the creation of over 5,000 new housing units represents the “critical mass” for provision of the same level of shops and services enjoyed by other towns equal to Bordon in size lacks any supporting evidence.
The masterplan states that 5,500 jobs will be created.However there are already more economically active residents in the town, than there are jobs.The shortfall is 2,100 jobs, not counting the 2452 jobs that the Council says will be lost when the MoD departs.As the council’s target is to reduce out commuting from the eco-town, the imbalance needs to be addressed.
Finally new jobs need to be created to meet the demands of new residents.In East Hampshire there is an average of 1.26 jobs per household.Accordingly for, say 5,000 dwellings, 6,300 new jobs would be required.
The resulting figure of new jobs required to create a contained and sustainable community is therefore 10,852, not 5,500.The Masterplan will therefore exacerbate the present degree of out-commuting when incomers, if they are attracted at all, have to seek jobs elsewhere.
DCLG advises that 73 hectares of land is needed to support this number of jobs, whilst DTZ’s work for Wiltshire Council advises 81 hectares of land is required.The land allocated for employment on the master plan appears to be substantially less, not even sufficient to support the 5,500 jobs proposed.
In locational terms we do not favour a strategy of distributing employment opportunities around the periphery of the town. In our view there are many advantages in locating employmentactivities inreasonable proximity to each other and to houses.
1. Facilitating symbiosis between different employment activities will strengthen the offer.
2. There may be potential to set up shared administration facilities to service a cluster of small start up businesses.
3.Employment operations within say 800 metres of the town centre will improve the viability of the town centre and its vitality.Banking, leisure and other activities will be encouraged to set up as a result of the greater footfall. Healthier food than can be offered by the hot pie van will be available.
4 Remote facilities will be less attractive to operators and financial institutions who fund employment activity.
5.The propensity to cycle, walk and use buses to travel to or during working hours will be that much greater if employees are centrally located.The same movement facilities provided for residents will be available to employees. Bus occupancy will be improved, as would viability.
Accordingly we object to the council’s preferred approach to disperse employment provision.It suggests to us only a passing interest in ensuring its successful take up, as does the council’s conservative approach to the scale of the employment provision.
The housing numbers are clearly a function of the Government’s original eco-town requirement for a minimum of 5,000 dwellings.They have not emerged from studies into the many constraints and opportunities in the area.They are not based on a sound evidence base, a prerequisite of a core strategy.This is readily apparent as the council itself accepts that much of the research is still incomplete. Eco-settlements, including that at Vauban, held up as a “model” by the Council, are known to vary greatly in size.Vauban itself has just 2,000 dwellings, and is well linked with a tram to the employment and retail centre of Freiberg.
Conventionally an authority would itself carry out research into ecological, landscape, visual impact, mineral reserves, land quality and contamination, archaeology, transport capacity, servicing and drainage capacity, place making, urban design, employment capacity, viability and other issues. In this master plan the council is attempting to accommodate the scale of housing submitted to the South East Plan panel, utilising previously developed and extensive areas of green field land such as areas of mature woodland and playing pitches.It is clearly proving challenging, hence the wildly varying housing numbers and inconsistent density statements.Research into the housing densities in the adjoining wards and towns suggests figures of 20 to 30 dwellings per hectare, certainly not the 40 and 80 dph quoted in the core strategy and master plan documentation.
Higher densities are claimed to reduce the size of a community and constrain journey distances, making walking a more viable option.But high densities are rarely successful in areas of low incomes and housing values, as in Whitehill-Bordon.Hence why the experience in existing city centres is so variable.Belgravia and St John’s Wood work, Tower Hamlets and Hulme did not.
Secondary school location.We wonder why a new secondary school is needed, in the face of falling school roles even with the Army still operating in the town. Secondary schools cost £25m to build, finance which might be used more productively elsewhere. If a new one is needed the best location is in the new town centre, to give it bustle and vigour and to share the same public transport facilities, improving their viability and being more central for easier walking and cycling.Why stick a potentially high quality building which would also serve a community role in a backwater of an adjoining settlement outside Bordon?
The overwhelming development activity is centred on the easy target, the MOD land to the west of the town.This
negates the benefit of the eco-town initiative in contributing to regenerating the existing town.There is scant
evidence of any intervention into the existing urban fabric, remedying the deficiencies and failings of previous
planning. The opportunity to improve recreational space and poor street scenes needs to be taken.The master plan
needs to show how the eco-town will successfully integrate old and new communities, through new green
infrastructure corridors and the like. But its layout, form, and much higher densities will militate against integration
as well as promote the a wholly undesirable migration from the character of a country town with access to
ample,convenient green open space, to an alien urban environment, requiring enforced behavioural change on the
part of its existing population. Making the existing housing stock more energy efficient is a technical issue, building
better communities is a social achievement.
2.12 Community Issues.
We object to the loss of Stanford Grange farm, in concert with the population of Standford and Headley Parish Council.The recreational components of the “Country Park” are likely to require lighting, changing facilities, hard surfacing and car parking, in other words an urbanisation of the area. Extensive areas of this nature become centres for bad behaviour, being incapable of policing through “natural surveillance” as can smaller areas. On published evidence, the catchment area of this proposed SANG is likely to exceed a 5km radius.
Playing fields to west of the town are being lost to development when in fact these are far more proximate to the development there, in contrast to the lengthy drive required to reach the “country park” at the location shown on the master plan. Experience shows that small and frequent recreational provision produces less abuse.
Green spaces in Bordon, which would otherwise conveniently accessible on foot will have to be compensated by SANGS elsewhere.But the land allocated as a “country park” SANG is a relatively remote farm, outside Bordon in the neighbouring parish of Headley and part of Standford Village, an ancient Domesday settlement along the River Wey.The River Wey forms the heart a Conservation Area, and adjoins the Headley Mill Conservation Area.
The form and setting of Standford has been characterised for a thousand years by the relationship between its agricultural holdings and series of water mills.Inclusion of an undefined “country park” at Standford Grange farm, clearly prompted by the SANG requirement will serve Bordon poorly compared with its existing space.It will not serve Standford at all.
The development of the Country Park contradicts the Core Strategy’s gap policy. Standford should not lose its identity by allowing the gap to disappear.Furthermore, it is contrary to the most basic concept of eco-land management to extinguish an ecologically sensitive, well managed area of local food production, in order to create, as claimed by the Council, a primarily dog walking site.
2.13 Deliverability - Controls
In general terms the Master Plan and Core Strategy list lots of investment measures designed to persuade residents and employees, both existing and new, to change their life styles.However there is no reference to the means by which the promised outcomes of these measures will be guaranteed.In other words the Plan contains a wealth of “carrots” and a complete absence “sticks”.
The potential for failure and the production of yet another dormitory town, is very high.The remedies for failure are impossible to identify, there are none.If the government’s ambitions for profit continue to drive this nonsense forward, it is imperative that the development is consistently and continuously monitored to ensure that the outcomes forecast in the Core Strategy come to fruition.There must be mechanisms to stop development if targets are not met.The Master Plan and Core Strategy should illustrate the means by which these sticks or targets will be applied to each small phase of development, enabling testing to be carried out on a phase by phase basis. Failure to meet targets should halt development pending investment in remedies to correct the failure.This is standard practice for Travel Plans and needs to be extended to other areas of monitoring such as public transport patronage, air quality, noise, carbon production, trip internalisation targets, job and retail take up and the like.The “Vision” needs to be translated to reality or the development should stop.
In conclusion, the Masterplan fails to demonstrate that it would bring about the creation of a sustainable integrated community for the 21st century.It fails all the key tests: transport, job creation, use of brownfield land, integration of green space with new development, zero carbon across the whole settlement, net gain in biodiversity, regeneration through brownfield development, conserving historic places, encouraging locally produced food, improving air quality, ensuring an adquate water supply, protecting endangered species, maintaining and improving a rural character and way of life valued by local people.
Masterplan consultations revealed as over-
expansion. Display disguises greenfield development, mass tree felling, no job delivery, traffic increase, Forest Centre closure, threats to biodiversity and air quality, poor funding.
The last "consultation" in April was really a softening up, selling opportunity. The questions asked were loaded to produce the desired responses. The reports, finally obtained just days ago, reveals that the most frequently raised concern was about the quantity of housing development- the Council's target of 5,500 new homes, and 15,000 new people, the key issue that the Council has always avoided.
The latest Eco-town masterplan, unveiled last week is unsustainable and should be torn up.If approved it will blight the town for decades to come, because the over scaled, underfunded, ecologically and environmentally damaging proposals are not backed by factual evidence or the local community.The plan has changed little from last April and the Council have no more to offer.This time though, the consultants are displaying more pretty but misleading diagrams, with mass broadsheet distribution, and a £500 prize draw, all at taxpayers’ expense, in an effort to manufacture more support.
Total responses from the Council’s last consultation amounted to just 150. But the loaded questions that people were asked to support produced mixed responses.Consequently it was left to BAAG to ask local people “Do you agree with the plan to double the size of Bordon…?” to which replies, more than three times the Council’s number were a resounding 90% NO.In addition, Bordon overwhelmingly wants jobs before houses, no building on greenfield sites and rejects massive traffic increases, the BAAG survey revealed.
Harmful effects of the latest plan include:
Maximum 5,300 new homes - just 200 less than before
Working figure of 4000 homes + 700 on undisclosed sites in town
Encroachment on Hogmoor Inclosure by housebuilding and employment.
Remainder of Hogmoor Inclosure becomes a town park
Development of existing MOD playing fields south of Station Road
Development of Standford Farm and Eveley Wood for leisure/school, playing fields and park - part of Headley/Standford included in eco-town.
Housebuilding on most of BOSC site, with mass tree felling
Massive increases in domestic and commercial traffic - more HGVs in and through town
No funding for new job creation
"safeguarded" rail corridor cuts through Hogmoor Inclosure
Death of Forest Shopping Centre
New shopping malls dominated by superstores and chains
less water per household - compulsory metering
threat to air quality
threats to protected sites, wildlife, biodiversity
A huge building site for decades to come.
There are some possible benefits, although no funding has been identified. They include:
But these could be brought now - they are not dependent on massive housebuilding.
So what's in it for existing residents? - NOTHING
That's the term for sticking "green" badges on bad ideas and bad science. What do their words really mean?
Green roots - "executive housing" on the BOSC site, at around 25 dwellings per hectare (dph). Still less garden space than most existing houses in Bordon.
Green streets - 40-55 dph up to 4 storeys high, tiny courtyards at best
Green views - 55-70 dph requiring flats, no gardens. Urban densities.
That's an average housing density of about 43-50dph across the 78ha available. By comparison, most of Bordon's existing housing is around 20 per hectare.
Where will the new population come from?
Provision of new housing across East Hampshire to meet expected demand from within the area has already been included in the Council's Core Strategy and the Southeast Regional Plan. The additional "up to 5,300" for Bordon eco-town is "ring fenced." That is, it does not reduce the requirement elsewhere in the District. So, if new housing development in Alton caters for its local demand, likewise Petersfield, Four Marks, and other settlements, where would people settling in or being allocated housing in Bordon come from? The answer is that they are more likely to come from other local authority areas outside the district.
It may be pertinent to note that EHDC's newly appointed Chief Executive is shared with Havant District Council. Apart from the obvious halving of that post's contribution and local accountability, is there a deal in the making to import people on Havant's housing list?
Some questions you might to ask now:
- Why haven't we been consulted about numbers?
- Shouldn't we be now?
- Why are you building on Hogmoor Inclosure?
- Why are you developing playing fields and greenfield sites?
- Why don't you look at existing built up sites first?
- How can you reduce car usage to half its present level with massive increase in the number of drivers?
- Isn't the "rail link" idea just a sop?
- where is the money for the rail link coming from?
- How many buses will be needed to get people around the eco-town, to rail stations, workplaces or nearby towns?
- Is there a business case for the large number of buses required?
- How can country lanes cope with the additional traffic?
- How many trees will be felled for housebuilding land?
- Isn't it more sustainable to keep working farmland working?
- How can doubling the population maintain the ecological balance?
- Most people can walk to the Forest Centre at present. Why kill it off?
Talk to and contact us, BAAG Committee members are always ready to respond to your concerns. We will remain visibly present in Bordon and in the press.
See and act on our Newsletter which can be downloaded here
BAAG MEMBERSHIP SOARS
The stall located by the Forest Shopping Centre each Saturday morning has attracted hundreds of new supporters. As awareness of the impact of overdevelopment grows, dozens of new members are signed up each week. Supporters now exceed 500.
25 July 2009
With only a few days notice, BAAG staged a highly successful demonstration at the new Forest Centre "square" in response to the the Government's announcement. Since this is still just the beginning of a long progress through the planning system, BAAG intends to carry the struggle through every stage. We are confident that in the end the Council's spin and hypocrisy will be exposed. Overexpansion will be shown to be unsustainable and harmful to the area's wellbeing. Join BAAG now and keep working for a better Bordon.
Baag has a stall at the Forest Centre every Saturday from 10 to 12 noon. Come chat and lend your support.
16 July 2009
Government-Council stitch-up for Bordon
BAAG has issued the following statement in response to the Government's announcement naming Bordon as an eco-town candidate:
The Government knows very well that the Bordon / Whitehill proposal promoted by East Hampshire District Council fails every primary test that they themselves have set for potential eco-towns.If, despite this, they select Bordon / Whitehill, they will have proven, beyond doubt, that this has been from the start a bare-faced, politically driven process. It therefore comes as no surprise to be faced with a pre-determined political decision. This is a decision on a Big Idea, which has been hatched in a back room and imposed on a local community that has never supported it.This local community now positively rejects it, because it threatens their values and their way of life.
BAAG knows this to be true because they have done the homework on the streets, on the doorsteps of Bordon, and in a packed Public Meeting.Bordon doesn’t want the Big Idea.Bordon accepts the need for sensible organic growth.But Bordon wants a stop to being treated like a third rate outpost.Bordon wants a stop put to the Council’s bad planning and resource starvation.Bordon knows that the Council’s “consultations” throughout have been a mockery.They pay consultants to manufacture technical support for their ideas. They carry out rigged surveys and falsify claims of community support where in reality there is overwhelming rejection.
This is not a sustainable, brown field development. The green, protected, ecologically sensitive sites around Bordon are all in danger of being exploited for development.The only way the number of houses proposed can be accommodated is by building on playing fields and woodland and developing productive farmland.
The transport implications are also horrendous.Far from reducing car usage by half, traffic will double because there is no commitment to providing the public transport required of an eco-town.Nor can there be.The extremely high cost of a railway is unlikely to be fundable from either the public or private purse.
BAAG believe that no more than 2000 new homes could sustainably be accommodated on the brownfield land.Urban housing densities in this rural, and ecologically sensitive location, protected both at the national and international level, would be most inappropriate.
Bordon is still a country town.If this scheme happens it can expect to be transformed into a tightly controlled urban area, with a number of high density ghettos stuck onto it.But BAAG intends to see that it does not happen.
BAAG will continue the fight on to every level so that independent judgement through the Planning system can finally be made on a more objective basis, without the self-interests and spin that has characterised this malignant idea.
Bordon rejects eco-town- questionnaire result as decision nears
Over ninety percent of Bordon area residents reject East Hampshire District Council’s eco-town Masterplan, a huge BAAG survey has revealed.The door-to-door survey of over 3,000 people, was launched because, say BAAG, the Council rigged its “Big Ideas” questionnaire to ensure a favourable response.BAAG Chairman Steve Parsons said “We asked the questions the Council would not have dared to because they knew they would lose out.”
Of the 14 questions, the foremost, “Do you agree with the plan to double the size of Whitehill Bordon by building 5,500 more homes?” drew a ninety percent “No” response.Similar overwhelming proportions rejected the idea of high rise flats, disturbance of wildlife habitats and developing Greenfield land, including parts of Hogmoor Inclosure.A staggering ninety six percent thought that the plan would lead to traffic congestion and pollution and local roads are incapable of coping with the increased traffic.Ninety three percent thought that creating jobs is more important than building more houses. Finally, ninety percent said the Council’s plans do not reflect what local people want.
BAAG says that, since EHDC’s questions focus purely on the details of two equally disastrous variants of the same large scale expansion Masterplan, people are denied any right to oppose the size and impact of the scheme. Furthermore, Council “stakeholders” include a large number of government agencies, official bodies and consultants, based far away with vested interests, no local connections and poor local knowledge.
The Council’s claim of “huge public support” simply never happened. Just 90 people at a public meeting supporting a vaguely described “Green Town Vision” in 2005 is so far removed from these inflated ideas as to be unrecognisable. By contrast, over 300 people who attended BAAG’s Public Meeting rejected the Councils plans.“Our work proves beyond doubt that that neither the Council, nor the Government is entitled to say that the eco-town bid has the support of the community,” said Parsons.“We are anxious to see the EHDC results, since their closing date was over a month ago.In the meantime, a full analysis of BAAG’s results can be seen on our website, www.baaga.co.uk.”
HEADLEY THREATENED BY ECO-PLAN
A large slice of the ancient and peaceful Parish of Headley has been earmarked for inclusion in the Whitehill-Bordon eco-town on a map prepared for East Hampshire District Council.Even if the bid for eco-town status fails, the Council intends to expand Bordon into a “New Town” of over 30,000, more than doubling its present size to approach that of Farnham.The map can be found here(see page 9)
Protected sites to the west of Bordon will drive expansion eastwards, eating into Headley and Standford. Standford Farm and its surrounding area is already planned for development as recreation grounds and education uses, serving the New Town, all to compensate for high density housing and other development on many of Bordon’s green spaces.
Employment development for 7000 new jobs, reduced water supplies per household, upgrading of certain roads, increased traffic and possible new links to existing rail and motorway connections all form part of the Council’s Masterplan proposals, currently undergoing a consultation exercise, rigged to get the responses they need to “justify” the development.
BAAG considers that these inflated ideas threaten the area’s rural way of life and are unsustainable.Even if they are eventually proved wrong, they will have blighted the area for a long time.That is why we have produced our own questionnaire.
"Eco-towns are the greatest try-on in the long and dazzling history of property speculation."
-Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust -from an article in the Guardian newspaper
Throughout history, nothing has appealed to the authoritarian mind so much as creating fantasy communities. A "city set on a hill", a new Jerusalem, is rid of the clutter of old regimes. It is clean and fresh and susceptible to the edict of its maker - what [former Minister Caroline] Flint calls "an opportunity we simply cannot afford to miss". She claims that she can ordain jobs, shops, entertainments, community spirit in these places. She cannot. They will be monuments to another defunct theory and to the developer's cry, "Downtown is dead"...
Housebuilders naturally want to build where it is easy and profitable, most of all on new estates in rural green belts within commuting distance of employment. The job of planning is not to stamp out that ambition - building is needed - but to guide it in the public interest, retaining precious green land and promoting a denser urban fabric.
The Empty Homes Agency, a charity, points out that building new houses emits 4.5 times more carbon than rehabilitating old ones, not least the 288,000 long-term vacancies on its books. An eco-town has to build houses, roads, sewers, shops, and all services from scratch. It is absurd to pretend that this is more carbon-efficient than expanding and "greening" an existing settlement.
Flint wants between 30% and 40% of houses in her eco-towns to be for the poor. Her boss, Hazel Blears, wants "half the households" not to be allowed cars, presumably also the poor. She does not say who will live in these ghettos. The idea that they can be made both privately financed and "affordable", whatever that means nowadays, for locally employed families is laughable. A 6,000-house eco-town cannot begin to sustain a full range of services, nor would any developer touch an estate where nobody can have a car.
To be poor without a car in a British new town is hell. That is why the last census showed only 14% of residents in Bracknell and 19% in Milton Keynes as car-less, against a national average of 27%. People have to get out of these planners' dream towns. Anyway, it is only big cities that do without cars: 37% of Londoners and 48% of Mancunians. Wild horses would not get Flint or Blears to live in their new towns, yet like city builders down the ages, they inflict them on the poor.
Planning is a trashcan for any buzzword doing the rounds. The government expects an "expert panel" to select the final list of new towns according to "the highest standards of sustainability, affordability and creativity". Abstract nouns are always suspect when they come in threes, like Tony Blair's "stability, prosperity and democracy" in Iraq. Eco-towns are the greatest try-on in the long and dazzling history of property speculation. They are born of Animal Farm out of Blade Runner.
Britain has plenty of potential eco-towns. They are called London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, to name a few. They conform to every one of Flint's declared objectives. They have an infrastructure of utilities, schools, clinics, libraries, welfare services and public transport already built. People have shown themselves ready to live, work and play in them without using cars. They are settled communities able to absorb immigration and high-density living, without tearing the bonds of local leadership.
If Flint wants to see land available for development in these eco-towns, she need only get in a helicopter and fly over them. They have the lowest residential densities in Europe, the most road-space and, incidentally, the greatest problem in generating communal cohesion. They can and do handle more people each year, even if it does mean more flats and fewer gardens.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) says:
Many of the schemes are in locations where development would entail building on greenfield land, including high quality agricultural land, or in areas at risk from flooding. The combination of poor locations and the cost of providing high quality public transport there means that shortlisted schemes will inevitably be car dependent.’
CPRE will be examining the proposed policy and schemes carefully in the light of the following principles:
• all schemes should be thoroughly tested for their effects on the environment and communities through regional and local plans;
• the planning policy statement should not create a ‘presumption’ in favour of new towns or greenfield development over more sustainable forms of development, eg. urban regeneration;
• there should be a clear sequential approach in planning policy favouring urban brownfield development over development on green fields; 
• there should be no requirement for an eco-town to be a new settlement or contain a minimum of 5,000 homes, as this will stifle innovation and good practice in redevelopment and with smaller schemes;
• the policy should address ways in which existing places can become ‘eco-towns’, including through the development of ‘eco-extensions’ or ‘eco-quarters’ – we welcome the possibility of an urban quarter in Leeds;
• eco-towns should be agreed with, not imposed on, local communities, with public consultation following best practice models of public consultation.
The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) says:
...two of the shortlisted projects will endanger important wildlife sites. The first, plans for a new town close to Bordon in Hampshire, will threaten an EU-protected site which is important for Dartford warblers, nightjars and woodlarks.
These birds nest close to the ground and the vast influx of people from a new town will put them at risk from human disturbance and predation by pets.
Lord Rogers, award winning architect and former Government advisor on regeneration says:
"I think eco-towns are one of the biggest mistakes the Government can make...They are in no way environmentally sustainable."
The Local Government Association says:
"These developments could become the eco-slums of the future"
Sustainable solution or too good to be true?
Read what Friends of the Earth have to say at: