Core Strategy Preferred Policies

[estimated] Ended on the 1 February 2010
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5. Place-shaping policies

5.1 The spatial strategy reflects the general issues and challenges facing the district and the resulting overall vision for the period up to 2026.

5.2 This section outlines the specific, place-shaping policies for the market towns, large local service centres and the small local service centres identified in the settlement hierarchy. The preferred approaches to development in the more rural villages and in the countryside are also outlined.

5.3 Place-shaping means local government and its partners creating safe, attractive, vibrant communities where people want to live and work and companies want to do business.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Alton

Vision

5.4 In their document ‘Alton 2020’ the Alton Town Partnership, supported by the local community, sets out a vision for the future of the town. It highlighted that:

"By 2020 Alton will be a thriving and economically sustainable market town in which all people living, visiting or working feel safe, and are cared for both in mind and body and are able to pursue activities of their choosing which enrich their lives and help build a stronger community for everyone, whilst respecting the local environment."

5.5 It goes on to say that growth is vital to ensure that present businesses thrive and that new businesses are attracted to the area but that such growth should not be at the expense of the appeal and character of the town. The partnership urges that the town’s individuality will be preserved, community spirit fostered, green spaces protected and the desire to live and work in Alton will be strengthened.

5.6 This provides us with the background and context against which to set out our preferred strategy for Alton. It also provides a good example of how a community can set out its own vision and how we can support and help to deliver this.  Other towns and villages should follow the example set by Alton and start to think about how they see their own community developing over the coming years.

Setting

5.7 Alton is an important market town in East Hampshire and, along with Petersfield , is at the top of the settlement hierarchy. It is well established and has a wide range of shops, schools, jobs and community facilities. It is the largest town in the district in terms of population (currently 17,000) and acts as a hub providing commercial and community uses for not only the town but also nearby villages. Alton will remain one of the main focuses of development in the future in the northern part of the district with many of the small rural villages and hamlets continuing to depend heavily on Alton’s continued success as a market town.

5.8 Alton is easily recognisable as a market town set in a rural landscape with an attractive historic centre. It lies in the valley of the River Wey with high ground constraining development to the north and south leading to expansion of the town to the east and west on the lower lying areas. Although Alton lies outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the South Downs National Park, its attractive rural setting can not be overstated. The need to balance the shape and contribution of the landscape to the area against the pressures for continued development will be a challenge for the future.

5.9 Chawton lies close to Alton but despite its close proximity to the town has a distinct character of its own. It is of great historical importance, having been the home of the writer Jane Austen, and includes a conservation area and a number of listed buildings. It is important that the gap between Chawton and Alton is retained so that the village remains separate both physically and visually.  The only scope that there may be is for the use of this land for facilities such as sports pitches, allotments and parkland.

5.10 The gap between Holybourne and Alton provides physical and visual separation in this very narrow area. It is vital that this is preserved otherwise these two settlements will merge into one. To the north of Anstey Road there is a distinct and largely undeveloped gap of just 400 metres between the built up areas. The smaller part of the gap to the south of Anstey Road includes the area between the dwellings in Thornton End, Complins and Eggars School, that form the edge of Holybourne at the London Road junction, and the industrial estate to the south of the railway, the Grange Hotel and the future housing to the rear of the hotel that forms the edge of Alton. 

Housing

5.11 It is likely that the Local Plan reserve housing sites will come forward for development so additional greenfield sites will not be needed in the Central Hampshire part of the district to meet the strategic housing requirement for 4,000 homes for the period to 2026. There have been 140 houses built in Alton between 2006 and 2008. There are existing commitments for about 555 homes on sites in the Alton area. These include Local Plan baseline sites on land at the former Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital (150 homes), Chandos Lodge, Anstey Road (172 homes) and the depot, Holybourne (38 homes). Redevelopment sites where a further 221 houses could be built have been identified in the town. A total of 776 dwellings. Other windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward during the plan period.

5.12 There are currently 471 households in Alton in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large sites mentioned above. Some of the windfall sites, for example the regeneration of the station area, will also help to meet this need.

Employment

5.13 The town has a significant role to play both now and in the future in providing employment opportunities, shops and community facilities for the area.  The Council’s Employment Land Review Study and Retail Study are key to understanding how we can all work towards achieving the right balance when it comes to employment.

5.14 It will be necessary to safeguard and/or encourage the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and suited to employment use. This will be particularly important in the main industrial area based around Mill Road where we will encourage the improvement of the environment and the regeneration of premises. 

5.15 It may be necessary to accept the loss of some sites that are of poorer quality or poorly located. However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified.

5.16 The Employment Land Review Study recommended that new employment sites of up to two hectares should be identified for future use in Alton and Petersfield. It also recognised that there was likely to be an increased demand for small enterprise centres, as there are few such facilities in the district. The suggestion is that such centres should be developed from well located, existing employment sites. The emphasis will be to concentrate these resources in the larger employment centres such as Alton.

5.17 The study recommended the former Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital site no longer be retained for employment purposes, as this site is no longer viable for business use.

5.18 Alton station has been identified by the Alton Town Design Statement and Alton 2020 Vision document as an area in need of regeneration and upgrading.  The vision is to create an impressive approach to the station and its surroundings, along with an integrated transport interchange, new station building and a high quality vibrant square lined with a mix of uses including some residential development.

Retailing

5.19 Equally Alton has an important part to play in meeting the retailing needs and demands of not only those who live, work and visit the town but also residents from nearby rural villages. According to the Council’s Retail Study Alton has a reasonable mix and range of shops. It also identified a need in Alton for 1,200 square metres gross convenience floorspace (an Aldi convenience store has since been granted planning permission), 2,100 square metres floorspace for comparison shopping (shoes, clothes etc) and 1,300 square metres gross of other commercial uses by 2016 (4,600 square metres total gross).

5.20 The study went on to note that if major new retail development takes place in Whitehill/Bordon then the need to increase the space allocated to shops in Alton may reduce slightly.

5.21 The study recommended that Alton (along with Petersfield), should be maintained and enhanced as ‘Town Centres’. They should continue to function, as main shopping centres and main destinations for leisure, entertainment and cultural activity in the district. This will allow them to develop and fulfil their role as the principal centres in the district. 

Transport

5.22 Transport links to London benefit the town but there is a need to improve these in the future if Alton is to maintain and enhance its role in the district.  This should be complemented by an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around and into the town from the surrounding rural areas. 

5.23 Alton, as a thriving market town, offers jobs to local people alongside local amenities. There are a similar number of people commuting into the town to work as those leaving the town to work elsewhere (3,000 trips). The largest movements take place to/from the surrounding East Hampshire area with only 48% of residents living and working locally. However a high number of residents (37%) walk to work. Car use is high with 66% residents travelling to work by car and, of these, 56% drive to work locally in Alton. Travel to work by bus and train is low despite the mainline rail station and the regular bus services.  A key transport issue identified, therefore, is the desire to improve the rail line to Farnham and provide more frequent services, particularly for commuters.

5.24 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan identifies Alton as a hub for passenger transport networks and identifies tackling rural accessibility outside the town as a priority. There is scope to improve public transport services, especially to provide links to surrounding towns and villages. This could also include measures to improve community transport, more flexible taxi services and other demand responsive services. Another option would be to improve the provision of services in the villages. A Cango bus service currently operates in the Alton area and responds to the requests by passengers. The plan also seeks to improve accessibility within Alton with a particular focus on improvements for pedestrians.

5.25 The plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for Alton. It focuses on improving accessibility, passenger transport and road safety. The key elements of the strategy are to:

  • improve accessibility within the town by all modes of transport
  • improve public transport including access to the town from surrounding rural areas
  • prepare an access strategy for the rail station
  • address road safety issues for all vulnerable road user groups
  • make the best use of the existing infrastructure through localised improvements and use of intelligent transport systems
  • identify and treat emerging air quality problems.

Community facilities

5.26 There is a need to replace the existing sports centre as it would be uneconomic to refurbish this facility. Alternative sites will need to be considered and assessed. It may be possible to rebuild on the same site but the sports centre would close for a two year period while building took place and the neighbouring facility at Mill Chase Leisure Centre is unlikely to accommodate the interim demand. Development at Whitehill/Bordon may be a possibility but Alton residents may be unwilling to travel for recreational activities.

5.27 The longer term needs of people living in the town and in nearby villages will be taken into account when making decisions about what sports facilities should be provided in the future. It is recognised that safeguarding community facility sites is important to the continued vibrancy and vitality of the town.  Community facilities can include a wide variety of services and facilities that all help to improve people’s quality of life. One of the key areas identified by the Alton Town Partnership as part of its vision was the protection of green spaces. The use of open space and the delivery of built facilities to serve the town and the wider area will be crucial to the way in which the town continues to develop.

5.28 The Open Space, Sports and Recreation Study (2008) shows that there is a need for more children’s play space and allotments in the area. Although the figures show that there appears to be sufficient supply of parks, sports and recreation grounds, the playing pitch strategy shows a need for more playing pitches both now and in the future. Anstey Park and Jubilee Fields provide good examples of parks and have potential to become green flag parks, if good management plans are developed and implemented. Children and young people’s provision would benefit from improvements to the play areas themselves and the management and maintenance of these sites.

5.29 There is also a need to identify new areas which can be used as allotments, either as part of new developments or on areas of open space.

5.30 Some of the other issues that have come up through the study include an anticipated increase in demand for sports activities and recreation and the need to address the wider issue of access from nearby villages and hamlets to the facilities in the town. This reinforces the overall approach to making every effort to improve the accessibility of Alton to those who live, work and visit the town. 

CP5 The preferred policy approach for Alton:

Future growth and development:
  • Maintain and enhance Alton as one of the most sustainable settlements and as a market town at the top of the settlement hierarchy. Develop its role as a hub providing commercial and community uses for nearby rural villages and hamlets;
For housing
  • Make no further provision for additional homes on new housing allocations in Alton beyond the existing housing commitments (555 dwellings), identified redevelopment sites in the town (221 dwellings) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the large sites mentioned above and on some of the future windfall sites;
For employment
  • Make provision for a small amount of employment floorspace, around 2 hectares (7,000 square metres), preferably including the provision of managed workspace (enterprise centre);
  • De-allocate the existing employment allocation at the Former Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital site;
  • Safeguard and/or encourage the reuse of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use, particularly the main industrial area based around, Mill Road, Alton. The improvement of the environment of the Mill Lane area, together with the regeneration of employment floorspace will be encouraged;
  • Proposals for the regeneration of the area around Alton Station (Station Approach), which may include redevelopment, will be considered by the Council;
For shopping and retail
  • Maintain and enhance Alton’s role as a ‘town centre’;
  • Make provision for additional retail (comparison) floorspace in the town centre;
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and townscape of Alton, particularly by protecting the higher valley sides and hill tops surrounding Alton from built development. The ‘green finger’ of land running along the River Wey to the north west of Alton should be protected from built development;
  • Protect and enhance the centre’s historic character. Change will be managed to minimise any impact on the town’s historic character;
  • Protect the integrity of the existing gaps between Alton and Holybourne and Alton and Chawton;
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around the town and into the town from the surrounding rural areas. More frequent rail services should be sought along with an access strategy for the rail station;
  • To improve public transport services, especially to provide links to surrounding towns and villages; this should also include measures to improve community transport provision and flexible demand responsive services (Cango bus);
For community facilities and open space
  • Meet the community needs of Alton by providing community facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people. In particular the Alton Sports Centre has reached the end of its usable life and needs replacing.  Alternative site options will need to be carefully and realistically assessed.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Petersfield

Vision

5.31 In 2006 the Petersfield Tomorrow community group set out a vision for the town. This stated: “By 2015, Petersfield will be the western hub for the South Downs National Park: where people of all ages want to live, work and visit; that respects its character and heritage; manages and maintains its public facilities and infrastructure to a high standard and ensures that all its residents have access to its services and amenities."

5.32 The town has been identified as lying within the South Downs National Park. The Petersfield Tomorrow group is therefore looking at how to enhance the image of Petersfield for visitors, as its research has shown that the town suffers from a lack of a distinct identity with no consistent theme or message being projected. The key characteristics that the group is looking to reflect include the historic character of the town, the high standard of food and retail opportunities and that it is surrounded by great and accessible countryside.

5.33 One challenge for the future will be to try to balance the nature of the landscape against the changing role of the town. There may well be pressure for Petersfield to take on more of a tourism role, to help open up the South Downs National Park to visitors and those seeking the benefits of the attractive nature of the surrounding countryside. At the same time, it is essential that the both the historic core of the town and the natural setting in the wider area are protected. Balancing these considerations against the everyday needs and demands of the community will be challenging.

Setting

5.34 Petersfield is an important historic market town in East Hampshire. It provides a centre for shopping, services and facilities, as well as employment opportunities for the local community and residents from surrounding villages and hamlets. It benefits from a railway station with frequent train services to London and Portsmouth There are good local bus services to other villages and hamlets. The nearby A3 reinforces the accessibility of the town and opens up routes from a wider area to the north and south. 

5.35 Petersfield lies in a low lying agricultural vale between the Hangers to the north-west, the scarp slope of the South Downs to the south and the rising wooded ground of the Hill Brow ridge to the north-east. The River Rother flows to the east of the town. The town is located in the South Downs National Park where the natural beauty of the countryside provides an important attractive rural setting to this distinctive, historic market town. 

5.36 Petersfield is unusual in that it has areas of open countryside that extend towards the town centre. These green fingers, however small, are a distinct feature of the town and should be retained for their contribution to the overall setting and visual appearance of the town. From the town, views of the Hangers and South Downs are valuable and reinforce the close connection between the town and its landscape setting.

5.37 To the north there is an important gap between Petersfield and the village of Steep. The Hangers Way, a long distance footpath, Harrow Lane and Bell Hill pass through the gap across the A3 to the eastern part of Steep. Views are obtained from Steep across the cutting for the A3 and towards the northern edge of Petersfield. 

5.38 The Petersfield/Sheet gap separates the northern edge of Petersfield from the village of Sheet. This village has its own green and character. Sheet has to some extent merged with parts of Petersfield on its southern boundary, although the old A3 does provide a well defined psychological boundary. 

Housing

5.39 It is likely that the Local Plan reserve housing sites will come forward for development so additional greenfield sites will not be needed in the Central Hampshire part of the district to meet the strategic housing requirement of 4,000 homes for the period to 2026. There have been 257 houses built in Petersfield between 2006 and 2008. Existing commitments for 129 homes, which together with the 565 homes on the four Local Plan reserve housing sites and identified redevelopment sites (101 homes) provides a total of 795 dwellings. Other windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward in the town during the plan period.

5.40 When considering planning applications for the reserve housing sites the National Park designation will be an important consideration. Using appropriate measures to minimise the impact on landscape will be essential, while the planting of trees, hedges and shrubs will be emphasised in any development briefs for these sites. Areas at risk of flooding also need to be taken into consideration.

5.41 There are currently 416 households in Petersfield in need of an affordable home (as identified on the Joint Housing Register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the sites mentioned above. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need.

Employment

5.42 The town has a significant role to play both now and in the future to provide employment opportunities. The Council’s Employment Land Review Study is key to beginning to understand how different partner organisations can work towards achieving this.

5.43 In terms of employment, it will be necessary to safeguard and/or encourage the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and suited to employment use. This will be particularly important in the main industrial area based around Bedford Road where the Council will encourage the improvement of the environment and the regeneration of employment sites. 

5.44 It may be necessary to accept the loss of some sites that are of poorer quality or poorly located. However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified.

5.45 The study recommended that some of the existing Local Plan employment allocations should be carried forward. Of those only Buckmore Farm has not got planning permission. The site should, therefore, be carried forward into the local development framework. 

5.46 The Employment Land Review Study recommended that new employment sites of up to two hectares should be identified for future use in Petersfield and Alton. It also recognised that there was likely to be an increase in demand for small enterprise centres as there is a lack of such facilities in the district.  It suggested that such centres be developed from well located, existing employment sites. It would seem logical, therefore, to concentrate resources for the provision of such centres in the larger employment centres such as Petersfield.

Retailing

5.47 Petersfield has an important part to play in meeting the shopping needs of those who live, work and visit the town as well as residents from nearby rural villages and hamlets.

5.48 The Council’s Retail Study found that Petersfield has a reasonable range of shops. It also identified a need in Petersfield for another 6,600 square metres of retail floorspace by 2016, made up of 900 square metres gross convenience, 3,800 square metres comparison shopping (shoes, clothes etc) and 1,900 square metres of other commercial use.

5.49 The study went on to note that if major new retail development takes place in Whitehill/Bordon then the need to increase the space allocated to shops in Petersfield may reduce slightly.

5.50 The study recommended that Petersfield (along with Alton), should be maintained and enhanced as town centres. They should continue as the main shopping centres and main destinations for leisure, entertainment and cultural activities in the district.

Transport

5.51 In Central Hampshire, Petersfield has the lowest proportion of residents living and working locally at 45.1%. However, the town experiences a high degree of commuting in from the surrounding area. Of the 55% of the town’s working population that commute out, 12.9% travel by train, which reflects the good rail connections to London and the south. Bus use is low for travelling to work locally but both walking and cycling are high. Around 10% of the working population work from home which is the highest figure for towns in Central Hampshire.

5.52 The key transport issues identified in Petersfield include the poor public transport in the evenings and weekends and no disabled bus access; the lack of safe pedestrian and cycle links; and the lack of adequate car parking at the railway station. With this in mind the Petersfield Tomorrow Project has the following transport objectives:

  • Provide for pedestrians and cyclists with enjoyable, safe and pollution free areas
  • Develop a comprehensive plan for an adequate integrated system of rail, bus and community transport links within the town and with surrounding villages, avoiding the need for local people to bring cars into the town centre
  • Support the re-introduction of fully-accessible bus services in the evenings, Sundays and bank Holidays. A long-term aim will be to introduce free town bus services.

5.53 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan identifies Petersfield as a hub for passenger transport networks and suggests that there are problems accessing transport from the surrounding rural villages and hamlets and that this should be addressed as a priority. It also seeks to focus on improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists with the opportunity to extend the cycle routes into and around the town. The fast train services which operate from Petersfield mean that there are increasing pressures on car parking at the station. The plan also identifies an opportunity to improve the accessibility of the station for all users to build on the high number of residents travelling by train.  The key elements of the strategy are:

  • improve accessibility within the town by all modes of transport
  • improve public transport including access to the town from surrounding rural areas
  • develop an access strategy for the rail station
  • address road safety issues for all vulnerable road user groups
  • make optimum use of the existing infrastructure through localised improvements and use of intelligent transport systems
  • the early identification and treatment of emerging air quality problems.

5.54 Development in Petersfield will need to contribute to promoting these improvements.

Community facilities

5.55 The Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study (2008) shows that there is sufficient supply of open space, except for children’s play. However, because Petersfield serves a much wider area than the town itself, this can lead to pressure on parks, sport and recreation grounds at peak times. The Playing Pitch Strategy shows that although the overall supply of playing pitches is adequate for football, cricket and rugby union, there are not enough hockey pitches on a Saturday afternoon. Projections suggest that there will be a need for more senior and junior football pitches in future. 

5.56 Petersfield will continue to provide facilities for not just the town but also the nearby villages and hamlets. There are rural access issues for people who live outside the town as they are often reliant on cars to reach Petersfield. This needs to be taken into consideration when considering the quantity and the quality of provision for the future. Penns Place is well located to become a strategic hub within the district to provide sports facilities.  There is also a real opportunity to develop this as a ‘flagship’ site with the aim of achieving a ‘green flag’ for the park. A green flag is an award to reward and recognise the best green spaces nationally.

5.57 In general there is a need for investment in open space and many sites are in need of improvements. This is particularly the case for children and young people, where significant investment is required for all age groups. Also, there are important areas of natural greenspace near to the town, for example Queen Elizabeth Country Park, that can provide for a range of different needs and demands including footpaths, cycleways and bridlepaths.

5.58 Petersfield is well placed to provide built facilities for the town itself and the wider area. There are rural access issues for people who live in surrounding villages and hamlets as they rely mainly on the car to reach Petersfield. There is also a need for an accessible and substantive community hall.

CP6 The preferred policy approach for Petersfield:

Future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance Petersfield as one of the most sustainable settlements and as a large market town. Develop its role as a hub providing commercial and community uses for nearby rural villages and hamlets.
  • Take account of the objectives of any new South Downs National Park for the future of the town
For housing
  • Make no further provision for additional dwellings on new housing allocations in Petersfield beyond the existing housing commitments (129 dwellings), Local Plan reserve sites (565 dwellings), identified redevelopment sites in the town (101 dwellings) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the reserve sites and on some future windfall sites.
For employment
  • Carry forward the Local Plan employment allocation at Buckmore Farm, Petersfield for B1 use.
  • Make provision for a small amount of employment floorspace, around two hectares (7,000 square metres), preferably including the provision of managed workspace (enterprise centre).
  • Safeguard and/or encourage the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use, particularly the main industrial area based around Bedford Road, Petersfield. The improvement of the environment of the Bedford Road area, together with the regeneration of employment floorspace will be encouraged.
For shopping and retail
  • Maintain and enhance the role of Petersfield as a ‘town centre’.
  • Make provision for additional retail (comparison) floorspace in the town centre.
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and townscape of Petersfield, particularly by protecting the South Downs National Park.
  • Protect the existing gaps between Petersfield and Steep and Petersfield and Sheet.
  • Integrate built development on the edge of the town into the rural landscape and maintain the rural setting of the town. Consider the impact of development in views from the hangers and chalk scarps and conserve views out to these rural ridgelines.
  • Protect and enhance the historic character of the town centre.
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around the town and into the town from the surrounding rural areas. An access strategy for the railway station should also be promoted.
For community facilities and open space
  • Provide for the community needs of Petersfield by providing community facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Horndean

Vision

5.59 Horndean Parish is a significant community adjoining the north of Waterlooville.  It has a population of 12,393 many of whom commute out of the parish for employment, recreation and shopping. There is also a reasonable amount of employment plus a large secondary school with a community facility that provides the parish with a range of recreational activities. The parish also benefits from its easy access into the countryside with the South Downs National Park on the village doorstep. The historic character of both Horndean and the other village centres, Blendworth, Catherington and Lovedean, are important and should be protected and enhanced to reinforce their character. Horndean village provides a focus to the parish and includes the retail centre which is underperforming because of traffic problems. There are also several key retailers, including the Morrisons Supermarket, on sites away from the village centre. There is a good bus service into Portsmouth and Waterlooville and other bus services into Havant and Petersfield. There is also good access onto the A3(M) and the A27. Horndean would benefit from improved bus services within and around the parish

5.60 Work on the Horndean Parish Plan is well underway. The group, ‘Horndean in the next decade’ was made up of four groups concentrating on the specific themes of, economy, environment, social and community and transport. The public consultation identified that the parish had a wide range of needs:

  • more local employment;
  • more youth and sports facilities are required especially a dedicated youth centre and additional youth club evenings;
  • a wider range of retail outlets especially in Horndean Village;
  • improved bus services especially better connections to trains and other buses;
  • improved facilities for those who walk and cycle;
  • improved care for urban areas including reduced obstruction of pavements, better protection for trees, more seats by streets and in open spaces;
  • better management of traffic around Horndean Junior & Infants Schools.

5.61 Horndean is an important local centre in the south of the district. It is important that it remains vibrant and it continues to provide an extended range of local services, shops, jobs and community facilities to serve the parish and surrounding area. The redevelopment of several sites in the centre of Horndean including Merchistoun Hall, Acacia House, Gales Brewery, Cadlington House and the site at Havant Road will help to bring more people within easy walking distance of the village centre and help to improve the local economy. In order to reduce the need for residents to commute or move way, action should be taken to enable more residents to access jobs services, recreation and shops in Horndean. For this to happen, there will need to be better paid employment opportunities in the parish, better training opportunities, improved health provision, additional social housing, improved provision for recreational facilities, improvements to the street environment and protection of the countryside and urban woodland.

Setting

5.62 Some critical environmental factors need to be carefully considered when looking at the future of Horndean. When considering development, the role of the countryside as a valuable and attractive asset has to be balanced against the need for adequate provision of services and facilities. 

5.63 The close proximity of Havant and the larger urban areas of Portsmouth, Fareham and Southampton also need to be taken into account. Care must therefore be taken to protect the countryside nearby and the integrity of the existing gaps between Horndean and Clanfield and Catherington and Blendworth to help retain the identity of Horndean.

5.64 The Horndean/Catherington/Clanfield local gap is important to ensure that these villages do not become one. This area is already a continuation of Waterlooville and the greater Portsmouth area. There is pressure for the expansion of the urban area northwards along the A3(M). Although the settlements of Clanfield and Horndean have at least in part merged, it is important that as far as possible the villages maintain their separate identity.

5.65 Part of this gap consists of an area of largely undeveloped land known as Catherington Lith. This land forms a ridge between the residential area to the north and the main part of Horndean to the south. It is important for this gap to be maintained into Clanfield and up to the edge of the Downs.

5.66 Catherington itself is a linear village, meaning it runs along a single transport route, in this case Catherington Lane. There is further linear development along Glamorgan Road and Downhouse Road. The character of the area is mainly frontage development. Here the gap between the villages is not particularly wide but it is long. Also, the gap between Horndean and Blendworth is only about 200 metres wide but it is important in maintaining the distinct character and identities of these villages.

5.67 It is also important to note that localised flooding occurs in White Dirt Lane, London Road, Lovedean Lane and Catherington Lane due to intensive run off from the countryside during heavy storms. This will need to be taken into account when considering future development.

Housing

5.68 The preferred strategy for housing provision and distribution is to meet the requirement for 1,200 new dwellings in South Hampshire up until 2026. This will be achieved through the completion of existing permissions and allocations, development within the towns where it is consistent with maintaining and enhancing the character and quality of life and greenfield sites only in the most sustainable settlements to be identified through further planning documents.

5.69 There have been 102 houses built in Horndean between 2006 and 2008. In the South Hampshire area there is a requirement for around 200 additional homes to be found on new sites. As a large service centre with a good range of facilities and services it is proposed that these additional 200 homes should be located in Horndean. This will be in addition to the existing commitments for 86 homes, 305 homes on the outstanding Local Plan reserve housing sites (including 220 at Havant Road with Keydell Nursery and 85 north of James Copse Close) and identified redevelopment sites (81 homes). This provides a total of 672 dwellings.

5.70 The initial sustainability appraisal supports this approach indicating that most benefit will be felt by locating a significant share of the additional development at and around Horndean where households will have good access to shops, services and facilities.

5.71 There are currently 173 households in Horndean in need of an affordable home (as identified on the Joint Housing Register). Horndean appears to have a very low provision of social/affordable housing when compared with other larger parishes in the district. With a low increase in stock and the slow turnover of rentals there is little short term prospect of reducing the rate of increase in the waiting list. At least 40% of affordable housing will be provided on the new development sites, in line with the South East Plan. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need. 

Employment

5.72 Horndean is the main employment centre for the south of the district, with a number of well established industrial areas. The majority of the industrial areas are small, apart from the Hazleton industrial area.

5.73 It will be necessary to safeguard and/or encourage the continued use of sites that are well located and suited to employment use. This will be particularly important in the main industrial area at Hazleton. 

5.74 The Council will need to find sites to accommodate the floorspace requirements set out in South Hampshire Employment Floorspace Apportionment document in order to satisfy the requirements of the South East Plan. To do this up to 1.5 hectares of employment land will be needed.

5.75 To be consistent with the spatial strategy it is considered that Horndean will accommodate the majority of the required employment floorspace. The proposed guidelines for the former Gales Brewery site include an element of employment floorspace in the proposal, although no planning permission has yet been granted.  There is a need to increase the proportion of business with higher paid jobs to reduce the numbers commuting out of the area to work.

Retailing

5.76 The Council’s Retail Study recommended that local shops at Horndean should be maintained to ensure there are a choice of places for basic food and grocery shopping, as well as other shops and services. Opportunities for small scale redevelopment or infill development to provide additional shops may be appropriate.  The centre has a limited range of shops and other services in relation to the size of the village. It suffers from the impact of traffic and some poor quality buildings, particularly The Precinct. The former Gales Brewery site redevelopment offers the opportunity to enhance the local centre and provide additional shops and services.

5.77 The largest retailer in Horndean is the supermarket Morrisons, which is in easy walking distance of a significant number of homes. The majority of customers currently travel to this store by car so new ways should be found to encourage more people to walk or cycle to this shop.

Transport

5.78 Horndean is a dormitory town and many residents travel out of the area for work, education and other facilities and services. The private car is the primary means of transport. The key transport issues identified in Horndean include the need for improved public transport access to areas to the south and also to rail stations. A rail/bus now runs from Waterlooville to Petersfield, calling at Horndean. The bus corridor to the south is in place but can be slow as bottlenecks need to be resolved, for instance in Waterlooville, Cosham and North End. There is a lack of public transport on the estates and in the villages of Catherington, Lovedean and Blendworth. Lovedean does have a 15 minute bus service into Portsmouth but it stops short of the north part of the village, which is inconvenient for some older people. Traffic management is needed in some areas to reduce speeds and to improve pedestrian and cycle links. A new direct cycle route into Havant, avoiding busy roads, will open shortly.

5.79 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy (Solent) for settlements within the South Hampshire area. The remaining key elements of the strategy for Horndean are:

  • pedestrian improvement measures
  • promoting bus use through infrastructure improvements and better travel information, including real-time information at bus stops and other locations
  • accessibility improvements.

5.80 Development in Horndean will need to contribute to promoting these improvements.

Community facilities

5.81 The need for a new health centre/surgery in Horndean was recognised by the inclusion of a site at Havant Road in the East Hampshire District Local Plan: Second Review. The site, however, is a reserve site of up to 0.5 hectares of land but has yet to become available.

5.82 The Open Space, Sports and Recreation Study (2008) identifies a need for greater open space provision. There is particular concern about children’s play space and parks, sports and recreation grounds including community parks. Although there are some good football pitches, more are needed to meet demand. There is also a growing demand for more allotments. Opportunities need to be taken when more and better quality open spaces become available.

5.83 Transport to and from the smaller villages to facilities in Horndean is poor. There is competition from facilities in other larger settlements, such as Havant. For this reason, it is important to pay careful attention to the overall location and type of facilities in the area.

5.84 In terms of built facilities, together Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle have a population of around 19,500. Horndean is cut off from the rest of the district by the South Downs. Recreational links tend to be towards the south into Waterlooville and Havant and residents may choose to travel to Petersfield to the north, Waterlooville, Havant or Portsmouth for specialist sports or for days out.

5.85 The ‘opening up’ of Horndean Technology College is increasingly attractive for community sport, reflecting an innovative and ‘state of the art’ approach.  However, although the use is to be encouraged it is a school first and foremost and also has poor road access (although proximity to the A3 is a positive element).  The college has an ambitious school community programme supported by this Council and Hampshire County Council. 

5.86 Residents have access to the Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre that includes an Olympic standard swimming pool, opened in May 2009. As part of the work on the major development area to the West of Waterlooville, there is a proposal to extend the dry side facilities at the Horizon Centre in Waterlooville. Also, Merchistoun Hall, which provides some community facilities, is in need of redevelopment.

5.87 There is the need to recognise the importance of the new Havant Thicket reservoir. The development of this new water resource will make a valuable contribution to the future of the area and its quality of life. As well as providing an additional welcome water resource, it will also offer a real opportunity to create a sustainable natural greenspace which can be a major recreational attraction.

CP7 The preferred policy approach for Horndean:

Future growth and development:
  • To maintain and enhance Horndean’s high position in the settlement hierarchy as a sustainable local service centre. To develop its role as an important village providing commercial, retail and community uses for a greater proportion of its residents and nearby rural villages and hamlets.
For housing
  • Provide an additional 200 homes on greenfield sites in addition to the existing commitments (86 homes), Local Plan reserve sites (305 homes, identified redevelopment sites in the town (81 homes) and future windfall sites.
  • Provide affordable housing on the reserve housing sites, new greenfield sites and on some of the future windfall sites.
For employment
  • Make provision for employment floorspace to satisfy the South Hampshire Sub-Region apportionment figures by providing up to 1.5 hectares of employment land.
  • Safeguard and/or encourage the reuse of existing employment sites that are well located and suited to employment use, particularly the main industrial area based at Hazleton.
For environment
  • Protect the integrity of the existing gaps between Horndean and Clanfield, Catherington and Blendworth.
  • Seek opportunities for further woodland planting to soften, screen and contain built development. Maintain links and rights of way between the urban area and the wider downland landscape.
  • Protect and enhance the historic character of the village centres.
For retail
  • Maintain and enhance Horndean’s role as a local centre, by making provision for an additional amount of small scale retail floorspace in the local centre.
  • Redevelop the former Gales Brewery site to enhance the local centre and provide additional shops and services.
  For transport
  • Contribute to promoting public and community transport around the town, to local villages, areas to the south and to rail stations through infrastructure improvements.
For community facilities
  • Meet the community needs of Horndean by providing community facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people.
  • Reserve land at the Havant Road housing site for a new health centre/surgery.

Preferred policy - summary of the strategy and future role of Liphook

Vision

5.88 A parish plan for Liphook has not been prepared so the local community’s vision for the village is not yet available.A vision for the village is likely to cover issues relating to:

  • ensuring the centre remains vibrant and provides a range of local services and shops, employment opportunities and community facilities to serve not just the people of Liphook but also the rural villages and hamlets nearby.
  • protecting and enhancing the area around The Square to retain its historic character, as well as supporting the shops and solving traffic and car parking issues.
  • safeguarding and/or encouraging the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.

Setting

5.89 Liphook is identified as one of the most sustainable settlements in the district with all the key services and facilities. It has a good range of shops, split between the The Square and Station Road, as well as a large supermarket. The main line railway station provides access to London, Guildford and Portsmouth. There is also easy access to the A3, as well as secondary, junior and infant schools. In the settlement hierarchy – the method used for classifying towns, villages and hamlets in East Hampshire – Liphook is identified as a large local service centre.

5.90 Liphook is generally centred around The Square. Concerns include the protection and enhancement of the centre’s historic character as well as enhancing the vitality and viability of its retail function, traffic management and car parking issues. Resolving these matters will help to reinforce the role of Liphook both for the people who live in the village and those in nearby smaller villages and hamlets.

5.92 Liphook is unusual because little development has taken place to the west of the village centre. This has resulted in a broad wedge of countryside between Longmoor Road and Portsmouth Road, extending into the centre of the village and up to the boundary of the village’s conservation area. A reserve housing site at Silent Garden now has planning permission.

5.93 The village lies on a broad ridge and has distant views over lower lying well wooded landscape to the west. The boundary of the National Park lies to the west of the village. The heathlands of Woolmer Forest, Ludshott Common and Bramshott Common that form part of the Wealden Heaths SPA, are within about 1.5 km. To the north east of the village is the River Wey and its flood meadows are protected by the River Wey Conservation Area. Beyond the river, the site of the former King George’s Hospital is being developed as a retirement village. To the south east of the village the pleasant rural character of the area provides a countryside setting. The narrow country lanes contribute to this character. Any development in Liphook would need to to take account of the impact that it may have on these surroundings.

Housing

5.94 There have been 136 houses built in Liphook between 2006 and 2008. It is likely that the Local Plan reserve housing sites will come forward for development so additional greenfield sites will not be needed in the Central Hampshire part of the district to meet the strategic housing requirement for 4,000 homes for the period to 2026. There are existing commitments for about 429 homes on sites in the village, including the Local Plan base line site at the former King George’s Hospital (147 homes), the Local Plan reserve site at Silent Garden, The Firs (116 homes) and the former OSU site (128 homes). In addition there is also a Local Plan reserve site at Lowsley Farm (155 homes). A further 11 dwellings could be built on identified redevelopment sites in the town. This provides a total of 595 dwellings. Other windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward in the village during the plan period.

5.95 A total of around 600 homes, all of which could be developed in the early period of the Plan, is a substantial amount of housing for a village the size of Liphook so the impact on the community and facilities, particularly education and medical provision, will need to be monitored closely.

5.96 The former King George’s Hospital site and the former OSU site have both been granted permission for nearly 300 homes for the elderly. This is a substantial number and once again, the situation will need to be monitored to assess the impact on the community and services in Liphook.

5.97 There are currently 172 households in Liphook in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large sites mentioned above. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need. 

5.98 A potential constraint to new housing in the village is the proximity of the Wealden Heaths SPA, which is approximately 1.5 km from the village centre, and the national park. Any new development in the village, therefore, should provide green space to ease the recreational pressure on the wildlife in the SPA.

Employment

5.99 Liphook has a limited amount of employment sites, the main one being the Beaver Industrial Estate. Others include Bleaches Yard which lies behind Station Road. It has lost the potential to increase the level of employment provision through the loss to other uses of the previously allocated employment sites at the former King George’s Hospital site and the former OSU site.

5.100 The Council’s Employment Floorspace Study concluded that there was little requirement for additional employment floorspace allocations through to 2026 so no new allocations are proposed for Liphook. However, the study also indicated there was no need to release the well located and better quality employment sites. It stated that sites within recognised industrial clusters should be supported and not released without careful consideration.

5.101 In view of the limited amount of floorspace available in Liphook, it is important that the protection of existing well located and well suited employment sites is maintained. It is accepted that the loss of some sites, which are of poorer quality or poorly located may be necessary. However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified.

Retailing

5.102 The retail centre in Liphook is split between the The Square and Station Road, with a large supermarket lying between the two. The two areas are sufficiently distant that they do not realistically form one shopping area. This split, as well as the supermarket, may partly explain a lack of vitality and viability, particularly around the area of The Square.

5.103 The Council’s Retail Study recommended that Liphook’s centre be redesignated from a local centre to a district centre, due to the range of shops and the presence of a large supermarket. It also recommended that the district centre should complement the two town centres of Alton and Petersfield by providing a wide and varied range of shops and other services. Its role should be maintained to ensure it provides an appropriate range of facilities and services.

5.104 Consideration needs to be given as to how the vitality and viability of Liphook, in its role as a district centre, can be enhanced. One question is should it retain two retail areas? The improvement of the area around The Square also needs to be addressed. The area to the rear of the east side of The Square offers the opportunity to improve the retailing and commercial offer in this area.

Transport

5.105 Good transport links to Guildford, London and to the south by road and rail are of benefit to Liphook. The opening of the A3 Hindhead Tunnel will improve road transport links to the north.

5.106 The key transport issues include congestion at peak times at The Square; a lack of parking near The Square and a lack of safe pedestrian and cycle links.

5.107 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for towns and villages within the Central Hampshire area. It focuses on improving traffic management, accessibility, passenger transport and road safety. The key elements of the strategy for Liphook are:

  • manage traffic, including traffic routing, speed controls and safety improvements;
  • promote and enable passenger transport tailored to local needs to improve rural accessibility, assisted by infrastructure improvements and information provision;
  • access strategy for the rail station;
  • investigate the potential to reduce sign clutter.

5.108 Development in Liphook will need to contribute to promoting these improvements. The parking issues at The Square also need to be examined.

Community facilities

5.109 Community facilities can include a wide variety of services and facilities that all help to improve people’s quality of life. In Liphook there are concerns over future pressure on schools, medical provision and other services and recreational facilities. This could be exacerbated by providing for the needs of both young people and the growing number of older people in the area. The housing section above has referred to the large number of homes for the elderly which have been permitted in Liphook.

5.110 The surgeries in Liphook have expressed a need for further space to expand.  In addition, concern has been expressed by Hampshire County Council about education provision in Liphook given future development. The availability of primary school places is tight and the ability to extend existing schools is limited.

5.111 The Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study (2008) shows that there is a need for more open space in all categories, except natural greenspace. There are a number of good facilities in the parks, sports and recreation grounds category. The study suggests that many of the facilities suffered from an ad hoc approach to layout, such as the War Memorial recreation ground in Liphook.  This site, along with others, would benefit from improvements to provision for children and young people.

5.112 Also, Liphook provides playing pitches for a much wider area. The playing pitch strategy has identified overall need for more junior football pitches on Sunday morning in Liphook (as well as Grayshott, Headley and Whitehill).  Consideration will need to be given to how this situation can be improved.

5.113 The same study says that Liphook is well served by natural greenspace sites, such as Radford Park, although better maintenance and signs may encourage more use of footpaths, bridleways and cycle paths. There is a need for allotments and these may be provided through development opportunities or by buying additional land.

5.114 Residents in Liphook use recreational facilities in Whitehill/ Bordon, Haslemere or Petersfield, as well as the Bohunt Centre in the village.

.5.115 The indoor sports facilities at the Bohunt Centre are not widely accessible or visible and access is limited because of the school timetable. Also, the sports hall is not up to modern day expectations. These all limit its potential to accommodate the need and demands of the community. Residents are also unable to access facilities during term daytime and the facilities available for older people are limited.

5.116 The study also raised the issue of a reliance on the car in rural areas. This area will also need to take account of the proximity of Whitehill/Bordon both in terms of current provision and also with regard to the increasing opportunities for facilities that may arise from any development of the MoD land.

CP8 The preferred policy approach for Liphook:

For future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance Liphook as one of the most sustainable settlements in the district. To develop its role as an important village providing commercial, retail and community uses for nearby rural villages and hamlets.
For housing
  • Make no further provision for additional homes on new housing allocations in Liphook beyond the existing commitments on housing sites in the town (429 dwellings), Local Plan reserve sites (155 dwellings), identified redevelopment sites in the town (11 dwellings) and future windfall sites. Any new housing will have to respect the proximity of the Special Protection Area.
  • Provide affordable housing on the large sites and reserve sites mentioned above and on some future windfall sites.
For shopping and retail
  • Re-designate Liphook’s centre as a district centre, with consideration given as to how the vitality and viability of the centre can be enhanced.
For employment
  • In view of the limited amount of employment sites available in Liphook, safeguard and/or encourage the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and well suited to employment use.
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and townscape of Liphook, particularly by protecting the River Wey valley.
  • Protect and enhance the centre’s historic character. In particular The Square, including enhancing the vitality and viability of its shops and traffic management and car parking issues.
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around the village and into the village from the surrounding rural areas. Parking issues at The Square and an access strategy for the rail station also need to be considered.
For community facilities and open space
  • Provide for the community needs of Liphook and surrounding residents. Address issues concerning the provision of education and possible provision of health services.
  • Address issue of open space and built facilities particularly playing pitches and facilities for young people.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Clanfield

Vision

5.117 Clanfield is a large village with a good range of services and facilities, close to the A3. It is well established and lies near to the boundary of the South Downs National Park. The local community is well advanced with its Parish Plan and have been working hard to develop a vision for village development over the next ten years. It is acknowledged that new development in the village is unavoidable. One of the community’s objectives is therefore to: ‘ensure that any development that does take place is acceptable in terms of the phasing of construction, the range of dwelling types, the external appearance, that any new development takes account of ‘eco’ technology and that the resources and infrastructure of the village expand at an appropriate pace to create a balanced community.’

5.118 Also the Clanfield community is aware that the village is surrounded by attractive, open, rural countryside and its location next to the South Downs National Park will make it a gateway to this area. 

5.119 The intention is to ensure Clanfield remains an attractive place to live, work and visit. Any new development will need to take account of the close relationship between the landscape and the town. Our aim will be to incorporate the aims, objectives and vision of the community into the Parish Plan development.

Setting

5.120 The surrounding landscape of open, rolling chalk downlands, with little natural tree cover is important to the setting of the village. Fields are open and large and the land is made up of a number of ridges and valleys. The boundary of the AONB passes through the centre of Old Clanfield, to the north of Clanfield along Petersfield Lane and immediately to the east of the A3. The boundary for the South Downs National Park is now further south to Chalton Lane. Links and rights of way between the urban area and the wider downland landscape should be maintained and enhanced where possible.

5.121 Clanfield is a village that has grown significantly from its small centre and it now also includes a densely developed housing area. The built up area extends from Chalton Lane along the edge of the A3(M). The part of this built up area to the south of Drift Road is within Horndean Parish.

5.122 There are gaps between Old Clanfield and Clanfield and, to the south of development on Drift Road, the Clanfield/Horndean/Catherington gap. It is important for these gaps to be maintained to avoid a continuous sprawl of development from Waterlooville and Horndean into Clanfield up to the edge of the Downs. Otherwise the distinct nature of Clanfield will not be retained.

5.123 Localised flooding occurs during heavy storms along Green Lane, due to intensive run-off from the countryside to the north, and along South Lane in Old Clanfield. This will need to be taken into account when considering any future development.

Housing

5.124 Clanfield will continue to provide services and community facilities for local people to meet their changing needs. This will be particularly important for both young people and also for the growing number of older people. There is a need for modest development which reflects the needs of the population and by providing this will ensure the continued vitality and viability of Clanfield.

5.125 The preferred strategy for housing provision and distribution is to meet the requirement for 1,200 new homes in South Hampshire 2006-2026. This will be achieved through the completion of existing projects, development within the towns where it is consistent with maintaining and enhancing the character and quality of life, and greenfield sites in the most sustainable settlements to be identified through further planning documents.

5.126 In the South Hampshire area there is a requirement for 200 additional homes to be found on newly allocated sites. Horndean has been selected as the location for these additional homes.

5.127 There have been 45 houses built in Clanfield between 2006 and 2008. In addition there is an existing commitment (planning permission) for 14 homes, together with about 275 homes on the Local Plan reserve site at Green Lane, Clanfield and a further 16 homes on identified redevelopment sites in the town. A total of 305 dwellings. Other windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward in the village during the plan period.

5.128 There are currently 79 households in Clanfield in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large site at Green Lane. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need. 

Employment

5.129 Clanfield has very few employment sites. The Council’s Employment Floorspace Study concluded that it will be important to maintain and protect existing employment sites. Some sites that are of poorer quality or poorly located may be lost.  However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified. This will ensure that the village can continue to flourish and provide valuable support to the smaller rural villages and hamlets.

5.130 The Council will, have to find sites to accommodate the floorspace requirements set out in the South Hampshire Employment Floorspace Apportionment document in order to satisfy the requirements of the South East Plan. It is anticipated that Horndean will accommodate most of this requirement.

Retailing

5.131 Clanfield has a reasonable variety of amenities that are sufficient for most day to day needs. They include a supermarket, a surgery, chemist, post office and newsagent. The Council’s Retail Study recommended that the centre be maintained to provide basic food and grocery shopping, supported by a limited choice and range of comparison shopping and a range of non-retail services and community uses. Opportunities for small scale (infill) development to provide additional shop premises may be appropriate. This will help to reinforce the role of the village centre which also provides facilities for nearby rural hamlets and villages. 

Transport

5.132 Public transport will be key to ensuring that Clanfield has a future role to play in the area. Improved links to, for example, Petersfield and areas to the south, will help people to get to work and access recreational facilities that are important to maintain a high quality of life. There is a relatively frequent bus service to Waterlooville and Portsmouth. It is hoped that the existing bus services on the A3 corridor will be extended into Clanfield. We are aware that a large number of people rely on the car. 

5.133 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for settlements within the South Hampshire area. The key elements of the strategy for Clanfield are:

  • pedestrian improvement measures
  • promoting bus use through infrastructure improvements and better travel information, including real-time information at bus stops and other locations
  • promoting public transport through the development of an ondemand responsive rail feeder bus/taxi service for the area covering Waterlooville, Horndean and Clanfield to Petersfield
  • promoting and encouraging public transport use through the extension of existing services from the A3 corridor to Clanfield.

5.134 Development in Clanfield should contribute to promoting these improvements.

5.135 The survey work that Clanfield have undertaken for the Parish Plan also highlights the possibility of speed and weight restrictions for vehicles within the village, as well as better maintenance and provision of pedestrian routes.  There is also interest in using smaller buses within the village as well as looking at parking issues.

Community facilities

5.136 Clanfield can maintain and reinforce its role by helping to provide services and community facilities for local people to meet their changing needs. This will be particularly important for both young people as well as the growing number of older people. Other facilities may be required by future new development in addition to those already identified in the East Hampshire Local Plan: Second Review. The reserve housing site at Green Lane, Clanfield includes the provision of a community hall and open space. The effect of this new development on not just the quantity, quality and accessibility of facilities but also the opportunities that it may afford for links into the countryside will also be important for the future of the village.

5.137 The results of the local survey work being used to draft the Parish Plan show that both young and older residents are looking for greater opportunities for social interaction. A meeting place such as a village or community hall would be a valuable asset in this regard as well as giving Clanfield another focal point.

5.138 The Open Space, Sports and Recreation Study shows that there is provision for football and cricket but this is currently in the north of the village.  Access to informal open space is also limited and Clanfield only has access to provision for children and not for young people. This is a particular issue for the local area. Similarly, there is poor overall access to natural greenspace and no provision of allotments. The provision of new open space as part of any new development in the area should be a priority. 

5.139 Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle together have a population of around 19,500. Recreational links tend to be towards the south into Horndean, Waterlooville and Havant. Residents may also choose to travel to Petersfield to the north or Portsmouth for specialist sports or days out. The study also identifies the need to retain community hall facilities in Clanfield.

5.140 The ‘opening up’ of Horndean Technology College has provided new opportunities for community sport, reflecting an innovative and ‘state of the art’ approach.  Although this should be encouraged the facility is shared by the school and timetabling can restrict access and restrict developing their use for the community. Although the college is near to the A3 there is poor road access.

5.141 Residents with access to transport can use a hockey facility in Havant and the Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre, which includes a swimming pool. The West of Waterlooville development will provide community and sports facilities and these will be accessible to Clanfield residents.

CP9 The preferred policy approach for Clanfield:

Future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance Canfield as a local service centre.
  • Take account of the location of the village in attractive surrounding countryside and close to the South Downs National Park.
For housing
  • Housing provision through existing housing commitments (14 homes), the Local Plan reserve housing site at Green Lane (275 homes), identified redevelopment sites (16 homes) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the large site at Green Lane and on some of the future windfall sites.
For shopping and retail
  • Maintain and enhance Clanfield’s role as a local centre. Opportunities for small scale (infill) development to provide additional shops in the centre.
For employment
  • In view of the limited amount of employment sites available in Clanfield safeguard and/or encourage the reuse of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and village character of Clanfield, particularly by protecting the AONB/National Park. Seek opportunities for further woodland planting to soften, screen and contain built development. Maintain links and rights of way between the urban area and the wider downland landscape.
  • Protect the integrity of the existing gaps between Clanfield and Old Clanfield, Catherington and Horndean.
For transport
  • Contribute to promoting public and community transport in the area through infrastructure improvements, including the extension of existing services from the A3 corridor to Clanfield.
For community facilities and open space
  • Provide for the community needs of Clanfield with the provision of facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people. In particular, through the provision of a community hall and allotments.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Four Marks/South Medstead

Vision

5.142 Parish plans for Four Marks and Medstead have yet to be prepared. The vision, however, is likely to cover issues relating to:

  • maintaining and enhancing the rural character of the area
  • ensuring that future development reflects the character of the part of the settlement into which it falls
  • safeguarding existing local employment opportunities
  • providing a range of facilities and services for residents of Four Marks/South Medstead and nearby villages
  • improving the accessibility and safety of travel within the settlement and to the surrounding area.

Setting

5.143 The village of Four Marks is considered with the southern part of Medstead parish as together they form one continuous built-up area (indeed the area also includes a small part of Chawton parish). The aim of this place-shaping policy is to plan for the future of this wider built-up area.

5.144 Four Marks/South Medstead form a well established built-up area with Four Marks itself identified as a small local service centre in the settlement hierarchy. It has a good range of services and facilities, including a primary school and relatively significant employment opportunities. As well as providing for its own community Four Marks and south Medstead play an important part in providing services and facilities for nearby rural villages and hamlets. The bus services to Alton and Winchester are relatively frequent compared to the services in much of the area and this provides access to main line stations and a wider variety of shops and facilities. Nevertheless, many residents could not manage without the care groups who voluntarily take people without access to cars, to hospitals, doctor’s appointments, visiting and shopping. It is important that shops and employment opportunities are maintained and enhanced to ensure these villages remain a vital part of the community. 

5.145 The main A31 road offers accessibility but it is a busy road The southern part of Medstead looks towards Four Marks for day to day requirements but most facilities are the other side of the busy A31. The pedestrian access under the railway bridge at Lymington Bottom Road has been improved by the County Council. But the access over the railway bridge at Boyneswood Road is still dangerous and needs improvement. The area has a rural character with homes dispersed along country lanes that are unlit and without footways. For these reasons it will be important to try to seek an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all transport both around and into the villages from the surrounding rural areas.

5.146 The boundary of the South Downs National Park runs behind the houses in Telegraph Lane, Headmore Lane and behind Hawthorne Lane. All of the area lies on high ground so there are many locations in the villages that benefit from distant views.

5.147 To the south of Four Marks the built-up area is well defined. Any further development on the land between Blackberry Lane, Telegraph Lane and Alton Lane would encroach into the countryside and the rural setting of the village. The extent to which the country lanes in this area could cope with extra traffic is limited. Medstead itself has a small village centre but there is less pressure to develop here than in the south of the parish near the Four Marks boundary.

Housing

5.148 There have been 96 houses built in Four Marks/Medstead between 2006 and 2008. It is likely that the Local Plan reserve housing sites will come forward for development so additional greenfield sites will not be needed in the Central Hampshire part of the district to meet the strategic housing requirement for 4,000 homes for the period to 2026. However, there are existing commitments for about 254 homes on sites in Four Marks/South Medstead, including the Local Plan baseline site at Land South of Winchester Road (175 homes). In addition there is also a Local Plan reserve site at Land North of Brisland’s Lane (90 homes) and 16 homes on identified redevelopment sites. A total of 360 homes. Windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward in the area during the plan period.

5.149 There are currently 56 households in Four Marks and 17 in Medstead in need of affordable homes (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large sites mentioned above. 

5.150 The prevailing pattern of housing development in Four Marks/South Medstead is one of well spaced, low density frontage development on well treed roads. There are few examples of development in depth. It would therefore be difficult to integrate large housing developments given the existing, rural character of the area. Backland development (building on gardens) should only be supported where it emphasises the existing street pattern and retains the loosely dispersed pattern of development that prevails. Replacing smaller homes with bigger ones of an urban design should be avoided. There will therefore be a need to promote high quality design that is appropriate in its context and to encourage imagination where opportunities arise.

Employment

5.151 The area of Four Marks/South Medstead has a reasonable range of employment sites. More recent development, providing a range of employment floorspace, has taken place along Station Approach, Medstead.

5.152 The Council’s Employment Floorspace Study concluded that there was little requirement for additional employment floorspace allocations in the district through to 2026. No new employment allocations are, therefore, proposed for Four Marks.

5.153 The study did conclude that existing employment sites should be safeguarded and that the re-use of existing employment sites should be encouraged, provided they are well located and suited to employment use. There are a variety of employers in Four Marks/South Medstead and these are beneficial to the local economy.  It is accepted that the loss of some sites, which are of poorer quality or poorly located, may be necessary. However, alternative uses of employment land should only be considered where justified.

Retailing

5.154 The Council’s Retail Study recommended that the local centre at Four Marks should be maintained to ensure it provides a choice of basic food and grocery shopping, supported by a limited choice and range of comparison shopping and a range of non-retail services and community uses. The Retail study did not identify a specific need for additional shops within Four Marks/South Medstead but there may be opportunities for small scale development in the future. 

Transport

5.155 Due to its position on the A31 Four Marks/South Medstead is one of the most accessible villages within the district. Four Marks/South Medstead is relatively well served by bus routes that link to the railway stations in Alton and Winchester. The A31 cuts the villages in two and acts as a physical and psychological barrier to travel between the two halves. There is a need to improve the accessibility and safety of travel within the villages and to the surrounding area.

5.156 Trying to integrate the two built-up areas of the settlement that lie to the north and south of the A31 will be key to the future of the village. Links will be reinforced and developed where opportunities arise. The Hampshire Local Transport Plan has highlighted a need for a safety plan and it is hoped this will improve accessibility and safety in this area.

Community facilities

5.157 There are some community facilities in Four Marks/South Medstead but more needs to be done to increase the variety of community facilities. The long term requirements of people living in the settlement and in nearby villages will be taken into account when making decisions about which facilities should be provided. The Open Space Sports and Recreation Study (2008) identified a need to provide more facilities for teenagers, as well as to make improvements to children’s play areas, footpaths and cycleways. 

CP10 The preferred policy approach for Four Marks/ South Medstead:

For future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance the role of Four Marks/South Medstead as a small local service centre.
For housing
  • Make no further provision for additional dwellings on new housing allocations in Four Marks/South Medstead beyond the existing commitments (254 dwellings), the Local Plan reserve housing site at Land North of Brisland’s Lane (90 dwellings), identified redevelopment sites (16 dwellings) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the large sites and the reserve site mentioned above and on some of the future unexpected windfall sites.
For employment
  • Safeguard and/or encourage the recycling of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.
For retailing
  • Maintain and enhance Four Marks/South Medstead role as a local centre. Opportunities for small scale (infill) development to provide additional shops in the centre may be appropriate.
For environment
  • Conserve the current density of development, quiet roads and rural character of the landscape. Backland development should be limited, emphasing the existing street pattern and retaining the loose dispersed pattern. Avoid redevelopment of smallholder plots with buildings of greater size/massing and incongruous urban style.
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around and into the built-up areas, including from the surrounding rural areas,
For community facilities and open space
  • Provide for the community needs of Four Marks/South Medstead by the provision of community facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Grayshott

Vision

5.158 A Parish Plan for Grayshott has not been prepared yet so the vision of the local community for the village is not available. It is, however, likely to cover issues relating to:

  • the importance of safeguarding open spaces and the wooded valleys within the village
  • maintaining its role providing services and facilities for the surrounding area
  • some additional housing on the edge of the village and protection of the built up area from further unsuitable infill development
  • safeguarding existing local employment opportunities
  • maintaining and enhancing the village to ensure Grayshott remains a vibrant and busy place.

Setting

5.159 Grayshott is a well established village with a historic centre and a good range of services and facilities. Relatively frequent bus services provide access to Bordon, Aldershot and Haslemere. It will be important to maintain and enhance Grayshott’s role as a place where people come to use shops and other facilities both from the local community and from nearby villages.

5.160 The village is located on high ground on a west/east ridge with impressive wooded valleys to the north (Whitmore Vale) and south (Waggoners Wells). The area is characterised by significant tree cover and extensive woodland areas which create a pleasing enclosed quality. The scenery around Grayshott, with its rich and varied flora and fauna, is valued by residents and visitors alike.  It is important that the wooded valleys within the village and in the surrounding area are safeguarded. The views of St Luke’s Church and the greens should be maintained and enhanced. Together these features provide an attractive area where development will need to be considered sensitively. 

5.161 There is a local gap between Grayshott and the neighbouring village of Headley Down. It is important that this is maintained to enable the villages to keep their separate identities.

5.162 The heathland of Ludshott Common lies close to the west of the village along Headley Road. This area forms a part of the internationally recognised Wealden Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA).

Housing

5.163 It is unlikely that additional greenfield sites will be needed to meet the housing requirement in the Central Hampshire part of the district. This is because the reserve housing sites in the Local Plan are likely to come forward for development.

5.164 However, some new development in Grayshott, including housing, will help the village maintain its role providing services and facilities for the surrounding area. This need is highlighted by the fact there are currently 32 households in Grayshott in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register).

5.165 Over the past 20 years in Grayshott the only housing to come forward has been on small-scale windfall sites. There have been 11 houses built in Grayshott between 2006 and 2008 and there are existing commitments (planning permissions) for 15 dwellings. There are few remaining potential windfall sites that will provide environmentally acceptable opportunities for new housing. An allocation for about 50 new homes in the area is therefore appropriate. It will be necessary to ensure that this is not at the expense of the local environment.

5.166 There are steep valleys to the north and south of Grayshott, as well as extensive woodlands which limit opportunities for new development. Also, the district boundary borders the eastern edge of the village. The area to the west of the village along Headley Road has the most potential for new housing but this would need to be approached sensitively as it is close to Ludshott Common which is a part of the Wealden Heaths SPA. New housing may have to provide suitable green space to reduce recreational pressure on the wildlife interest of the SPA.

5.167 The Kingswood Firs area lies to the south of the main part of the village beyond the valley at Stoney Bottom. It is a low density residential area. An extension to this area would be damaging to the surrounding countryside.

Employment

5.168 There are very few employment sites in Grayshott so it is important to protect existing employment opportunities. Some employment sites, which are of poorer quality or poorly located, may be lost but generally alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified. This approach was recommended in the Council’s Employment Floorspace Study.

Retail

5.169 The Council’s Retail Study recommended that Grayshott’s place as a local centre should be maintained to ensure it provides a choice of basic food and grocery shopping, supported by a limited choice and range of comparison shopping and a range of non-retail services and community uses. Opportunities for small-scale (infill) development to provide additional shops and commercial units in the village centre may be appropriate. There is a need to maintain a balance between commercial and homes in this village.

5.170 It is important for the traditional shop fronts to be maintained, as recommended by the Grayshott Village Design Statement (VDS).

Transport

5.171 One key issue in Grayshott is the congestion on the side roads that feed on to the A3. This creates a danger to pedestrians and cyclists using the main routes through the village. The scale of this problem after the completion of the A3 Hindhead Improvement remains to be seen. The Grayshott VDS recommends that development should be designed to provide more effective and attractive traffic-calming measures, such as well positioned and attractively designed pinch points, keeping on-street parking and lower speed limits both within the village and on the approaches to it.

5.172 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for towns and villages within the Central Hampshire area. It focuses on improving accessibility, passenger transport and road safety. The key elements of the strategy for Grayshott are:

  • to manage traffic, including traffic routing, speed controls and safety improvements
  • to tailor transport needs to improving rural accessibility, assisted by infrastructure improvements and information provision
  • to look at how to reduce sign clutter.

5.173 To support this there will also be the need for an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety, for all types of transport, in and around the village and from the surrounding rural areas.

Community facilities

5.174 The Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study (2008) highlights a lack of all categories of open space in Grayshott except for natural greenspace, parks and sport and recreation grounds which show a small surplus. Grayshott Playing Fields are an example of good facilities but are poorly laid out. Support for the parish council to develop a management plan for the site to help guide future investment and management should be encouraged. This site, along with others, needs improvements if it is to appeal more to children and young people. The playing pitch strategy has identified a particular shortage of junior football pitches in the area (along with Liphook, Headley and Whitehill). 

5.175 Although well served by natural greenspace, sites would benefit from better maintenance and clearer signs to encourage use of footpaths, bridleways and cycle paths. There is also a need for allotments which could be provided as part of new development schemes or when opportunities arise to buy additional land.

5.176 The area also needs to take account of the proximity of Whitehill/Bordon both in terms of current provision and also with the opportunities which may arise from the development of the MoD land.

5.177 The Grayshott VDS recommends that development should respect the important green spaces in the village notably, The Village Green and The Lyndon Green.  Development should also respect the ‘informal’ green spaces in the village such as Waggoners Bend and Beechanger End. 

5.178 Grayshott is likely to look towards neighbouring Whitehill and Liphook, and Haslemere in Waverley Borough, for recreational sports centres.

5.179 The Bohunt Centre in Liphook has restrictions because of the school timetable.  However, the Millennium Centre at Liphook is a new facility that is in good condition, has many uses and good access by car. The alternatives are to travel to Mill Chase Leisure Centre, the Taro Leisure Centre or open air swimming pool in Petersfield or the Herons/the Edge in Haslemere.

5.180 Grayshott would benefit from an accessible community hall which is dedicated to the village.

CP11 The preferred policy approach for Grayshott is therefore:

Future growth and development
  • Some new development in Grayshott is appropriate to enable the village to maintain its role as a local service centre providing services and facilities for the surrounding area.
For housing
  • There are few remaining potential windfall sites that will provide environmentally acceptable opportunities for new housing. An allocation for about 50 new homes in the area, to include an element of affordable housing, is therefore appropriate.
  • The new housing is likely to be located to the west of the village but will have to respect the proximity of the Special Protection Area.
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and townscape of Grayshott, particularly undeveloped areas of woodland and heathland (Special Protection Area) and the wooded valleys within the village.
  • Protect the integrity of the important open gap along the B3002 between Grayshott and Headley Down.
  • Protect and enhance the centre’s historic character.
  • Promote high quality design that is appropriate in its context and encourage imagination where opportunities arise.
For retail
  • Maintain and enhance Grayshott’s role as a local centre. Opportunities for small scale (infill) development to provide additional shop premises in the centre may be appropriate.
For employment
  • In view of the limited amount of employment sites available in Grayshott, safeguard and/or encourage the recycling of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around the village and into the village from the surrounding rural areas.
For community facilities
  • Provide for the community needs of Grayshott by the provision of facilities, open space and built facilities especially for young people. In particular, through the provision of junior football pitches in the area.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Liss

Vision

5.181 A parish plan for Liss is still being prepared and so the local community’s vision for the village is not available. A vision for the village is likely to cover issues relating to:

  • the importance of Liss and neighbouring villages and hamlets being situated in the hollow of the valley or within the wooded slopes of Hill Brow, creating a ‘hidden village’.
  • the need to safeguard existing local employment opportunities.
  • maintaining and enhancing the local centre to ensure Liss remains a vibrant and busy village.
  • the need for the village to provide a range of facilities and services for local residents.

Setting

5.182 Liss is an attractive place to live, work and visit and benefits from the high quality of its natural and built landscape. The village has most of the key services including employment and a good range of local shops and services meeting many of the day-to-day requirements of residents in both Liss and surrounding smaller villages and hamlets. 

5.183 Liss has a mainline railway station providing direct services to London, Guildford and Portsmouth. It is close to the A3 and there are bus services to neighbouring towns. This means that Liss provides services to a number of other villages and hamlets in the area.

5.184 Liss Forest, to the north of Liss, is about 1km from the village centre. It has few services and facilities.

5.185 Liss lies within the South Downs National Park. The attraction of the village is the way that it merges into the surrounding countryside. There is  no vantage point from which you can see the whole of Liss as both the village and surrounding villages and hamlets are situated in the hollow of the valley or within the wooded slopes of Hill Brow, creating a ‘hidden village’. The impression of a community enveloped by the countryside is heightened by trees and hedgerows. For this reason the Liss Village Design Statement (VDS) states that ‘it is vitally important that Liss and its associated settlements should retain the characteristic of a hidden village.’ The Liss Parish Landscape Character Assessment emphasises the need to protect the village from development that would make it more prominent in the landscape. It adds: ‘in particular ensure any development above the 75 metre contour in the built environment does not impinge on the wider landscape and is hidden within the tree cover. Ensure that any development along Andlers Ash Road is low rise and contained below the 65 metre contour.’ 

5.186 The village also lies on the River Rother which meanders naturally over its floodplain. The river contributes to the attractive setting and nature of the village. It serves as a wildlife corridor which should be protected from development.

5.187 The surrounding countryside is mainly used for farming. The layout of the farmland is, for the most part, traditional small fields enclosed by hedgerows, a key characteristic of the area and one that contributes to its beauty. It is imperative that the impact of development on the natural environment is minimised.

5.188 New development will need to take account of this setting and the impact that it may have through its design. Additionally the VDS recognises the importance of open spaces and green corridors to contribute to the rural feel of the village. 

5.189 A gap between Liss and Liss Forest is identified in the Second Review Local Plan. When heading north on Mill Road there is housing on the west side of the road as far as the railway line. Although there is countryside on the eastern side of Mill Road for a distance of about 150 metres south of the railway, the impression when travelling north is that the railway forms the boundary of Liss. North of the railway there is an open area on both sides of Forest Road until the housing estate on Forest Rise is reached. This development is regarded as being the southern edge of Liss Forest. The area to the east of Forest Road remains undeveloped up to the property Oaklands. This area should be protected as a gap as it helps to separate the villages.

5.190 Liss lies mainly on low lying land near the river Rother with hills to the east. This wooded hillside can be seen from a wide area of surrounding countryside, including the Hangers to the west. Further development on the wooded hillside would be seen from a wide area and in the past it has been possible to resist development on these grounds. The south-eastern edge of Liss lies within about 400 metres of the northern edge of Hill Brow. However, there is some further development along Hill Brow Road between the two settlements. It is regarded as appropriate to designate a gap to maintain the separate identity of Liss and Hill Brow in the vicinity of Hill Brow Road.

Housing

5.191 There have been 29 houses built between 2006 and 2008. It is likely that the Local Plan reserve housing sites will come forward for development so additional greenfield sites will not be needed in the Central Hampshire part of the district to meet the strategic housing requirement for 4,000 homes for the period to 2026. However, there are existing commitments (planning permission) for about 48 homes on sites in the village. There is also a Local Plan reserve site at Inwood Road (25 homes) and 5 homes on identified redevelopment sites. This provides a total of 78 homes. Other windfall housing sites will inevitably come forward in the village during the plan period.

5.192 There are currently 141 households in Liss in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large sites mentioned above. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need. 

5.193 The proximity of the Wealden Heaths SPA, which is approximately 1.5 km from the village centre, may limit new housing development. Any development should contribute to the provision of suitable alternative green space to reduce recreational pressure on the wildlife interest of the SPA. Further guidance on the SPAs is given in our ‘Environment’ chapter.

Employment

5.194 There is a limited range of employment sites available in Liss so it is important to safeguard these sites, as well as to encourage the re-use of existing sites which are well located and suited to employment use. It is accepted that the loss of some sites, which are of poorer quality or poorly located may be necessary. However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified.

Retailing

5.195 Concerns have been raised about the decline in the number of shops in the village over the last three decades and the need to address this issue.  Most shops are on the east side of the level crossing in Liss and there are limited facilities remaining in Liss Forest. It will be crucial to try to meet the challenges created by this trend to ensure that Liss remains a vibrant and busy village. 

5.196 The Council’s Retail Study recommended that Liss’s status as a local centre should be maintained to ensure it provides basic food and grocery shopping, supported by a limited choice and range of comparison shopping and a range of non-retail services and community uses. It noted there was a limited range of comparison shopping for a centre of its size and that there were five vacant units.

5.197 The Council will have to consider carefully its planning policy approach to the village centre, in particular its approach to development proposals where small scale (infill) development opportunities, or change of use proposals, arise.

Transport

5.198 The village has good transport links to London. The mainline railway station is on the main London to Portsmouth line. There is a bus service from Liss to larger towns and villages and it is close to the A3.

5.199 The key transport issues identified in Liss include the lack of safe pedestrian and cycle links and the routing of large lorries through the village. The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for settlements within the Central Hampshire area. It focuses on improving accessibility, passenger transport and road safety. The key elements of the strategy for Liss are:

  • manage traffic, including traffic routing, speed controls and safety improvements;
  • promote and enable passenger transport tailored to local needs to improve rural accessibility, assisted by infrastructure improvements and information provision;
  • access strategy for the railway station;
  • investigate the potential to reduce sign clutter.

5.200 Development in Liss will need to contribute to promoting these improvements.

Community facilities

5.201 The Open Space, Sport and Recreation Study (2008) shows that the village would benefit from more open space. Most parks, sport and recreation grounds for this area are in Petersfield rather than Liss itself. Liss does make provision for football and cricket although a shortage of cricket wickets has been identified and there is likely to be fewer junior football pitches. 

5.202 There are a number of recreation grounds but provision for children and young people needs improving. Similarly informal open space needs to be better maintained with improved planting and better infrastructure.

5.203 The people of Liss will generally look elsewhere for sports centres and other built leisure facilities. Its proximity to key access routes (north/south A3, east/west A272, B3006, B2070 and A325/A3 from Whitehill/Bordon) provides opportunities for choice. Residents might choose to travel to leisure and sports facilities at Petersfield (Tarot Centre and secondary schools), Whitehill (Mill Chase Leisure Centre), Liphook (Bohunt Centre), or Midhurst (The Grange).

CP12 The preferred policy approach for Liss:

Future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance the role of Liss as a small local service centre.
For housing
  • Housing provision through existing housing commitments (48 homes), the Local Plan reserve housing site at Inwood Road (25 homes), identified redevelopment sites (5 homes) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the large sites mentioned above and on some of the future windfall sites;
  • Any new housing will have to respect the proximity of the Special Protection Area.
For environment
  • Take account of its location within the South Downs National Park and ensure that Liss and its associated villages and hamlets retain the characteristic of a hidden village. Consider the impact of development in views from the Hangers and chalk scarps and conserve views out to these rural ridgelines;
  • Protect the gaps between Liss/Liss Forest and Liss/Hill Brow;Protect and enhance the centre’s historic character.
For retailing
  • Support Liss’s role as a local centre, in particular maintaining and enhancing the vitality and viability of the village centre with a carefully considered planning policy approach. Particular attention should be paid to infill and change of use proposals.
For employment
  • In view of the limited range of employment sites available in Liss, safeguard and/or encourage the recycling of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.
For transport
  • Contribute to an integrated approach to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of transport around the village and into the village from the surrounding rural areas. An access strategy for the railway station should also be promoted.
For community facilities and open space
  • Meet the community needs of Liss by increasing the supply of all categories of open space and improve existing facilities.

Preferred policy – summary of the strategy and future role of Rowlands Castle

Vision

5.204 The Rowlands Castle Parish Plan 2008-2018 identifies the following as its overarching objective: ‘To guide and influence the future of the parish of Rowlands Castle, to preserve and enhance the character and distinctiveness of the natural and built environment, and improve it as a community where most residents are very satisfied to live.’ 

5.205 The enthusiasm of local people for their community is clearly reflected in the parish plan. There is a strong community spirit to influence the development of the village and to retain its distinctive identity. The plan gives us an important and credible document on which to base our plans for the future. The Council can then help to support and deliver some of the actions and projects that are outlined in the plan and encourage further development of the detail of the vision of the village for the future.

Setting

5.206 Rowlands Castle is an attractive village that lies towards the southern end of the district. It is identified in the settlement hierarchy as a small local service centre that provides local services and facilities and benefits from a mainline railway station. The attractive nature of both the surrounding countryside and the village centre will define its future role and mean that the village continues to be somewhere that people enjoy living, working and visiting. 

5.207 The South Downs National Park lies to the north, west and east of the village. The protection of the existing gap between Rowlands Castle and Havant will complement the setting of the south western part of the village. In addition, the central area of the village, around The Green, forms part of the conservation area and is visually attractive as well as providing a focus for the village.  Taking account of constraints from the gap, conservation area and proximity to the National Park, it will be crucial to promote high quality, appropriate design and to encourage imaginative design where opportunities arise.

Housing

5.208 The preferred strategy for housing provision and distribution is to meet the requirement for 1,200 new homes in South Hampshire 2006-2026. This will be achieved through the completion of existing permissions and allocations and development within the towns, where it is consistent with maintaining and enhancing the character and quality of life and greenfield sites in the most sustainable settlements to be identified through later planning documents.

5.209 In the South Hampshire area there is a requirement for 200 additional homes to be found on new allocations. As a large service centre, Horndean has been selected as the location for these.

5.210 There have been 8 houses built in Rowlands Castle between 2006 and 2008. In addition there is an existing commitment (planning permission) for 14 homes and provision for 47 homes on the Local Plan reserve site at Oaklands. Other windfall housing sites will also inevitably come forward in the village during the plan period.

5.211 There are currently 33 households in Rowlands Castle in need of an affordable home (as identified on the joint housing register). An element of affordable housing will be provided on the large site mentioned above. Some of the windfall sites will also help to meet this need. 

Employment

5.212 Rowlands Castle has a very limited number of employment sites. The Council’s Employment Floorspace Study concluded that there was no need to release the well located and better quality employment sites in this area. It is considered important to maintain and protect existing employment sites. It is accepted that the loss of some sites of poorer quality or poorly located may be necessary. However, alternative uses on employment land should only be considered where justified.

5.213 The Council will, have to find sites to accommodate the floorspace requirements set out in the South Hampshire Employment Floorspace Apportionment document in order to satisfy the requirements of the South East Plan. It is anticipated that Horndean will accommodate most of this requirement.

5.214 The study did go on to recommend that the existing Local Plan employment allocation at the Builders Merchants site in Rowlands Castle should be de-allocated. Although there is a requirement to find sites, it is not considered that this is viable as an employment allocation.

Retailing

5.215 The Council’s Retail Study recommends that local parades and small local centres should continue to be maintained and protected, to ensure all residents have access to a basic range of small shops and services. Core facilities should include convenience stores, post office, newsagent and pharmacy. Rowlands Castle has a good range of local services and facilities and it will be important to try to maintain and enhance these in the future. The village can also help to provide for nearby rural villages and hamlets.

Transport

5.216 One of the main issues that will need to be addressed in the future is the role of transport in and around the village. Currently the railway station is on the Portsmouth to London line and there is a limited bus service to Havant. Some of the key transport issues include congestion on roads linking the centre of the village with the B2149 and parking near the station and The Green. The need to improve public and community transport in the area is recognised, especially the bus link to Rowlands Castle. It is also critical to look more closely at local traffic management and parking issues. This will become increasingly important with the location, access points and parking arrangements for both the South Downs National Park and Havant Thicket reservoir.

5.217 The Hampshire Local Transport Plan sets out a long-term transport strategy for towns and villages within the South Hampshire area. The key elements of the strategy for Rowlands Castle are:

  • pedestrian improvement measures;
  • promoting bus use through infrastructure improvements and better travel information, including real-time information at bus stops and other locations;
  • accessibility improvements.

5.218 Development in Rowlands Castle will need to contribute to promoting these improvements and careful consideration will also need to be given to the traffic management and parking issues.

Community facilities

5.219 Although the Open Space, Sports and Recreation Study (2008) shows that there is good access for football, cricket and tennis, the provision of new open space as part of any new development is still seen as a priority. People in Rowlands Castle and nearby surrounding areas may choose to travel to Horndean or further towards the south into Waterlooville and Havant for sports centres, swimming pools and so on. For special interest activities, Chichester is also accessible to residents.

5.220 Although Rowlands Castle does have a railway station the services tend to be slow whereas faster services are available from Havant and Petersfield.  Links to and from the towns and villages are poor and would benefit from improvements.  The built facilities study also identifies the need to retain substantive community hall facilities in Rowlands Castle. This is underlined in the Parish Plan where the renovation of the Parish Hall is identified as one of the actions.

5.221 Part of the sense of place of Rowlands Castle comes from the character of the village, centred on The Green. The area acts as a meeting place for cyclists, walkers and ramblers as well as providing a venue for local gatherings. This allows it to reinforce its role in the community and help maintain the identity and function of the village centre. A particular problem is the lack of public toilets in the village centre.

5.222 There is now an increased emphasis on the need for people to have the chance to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Council can help by encouraging and providing ways to do this through facilities, green space and links to the countryside.  The close proximity of the National Park and the nearby proposed Havant Thicket reservoir will also give increased opportunities for recreation in the area that may benefit and contribute to healthy living.

CP13 The preferred policy approach for Rowlands Castle:

Future growth and development
  • Maintain and enhance Rowlands Castle as a local service centre with an attractive village centre;
  • Enhance and maintain the close relationship of the attractive nature of the surrounding countryside, including the South Downs National Park, and historic village centre.
For housing
  • Housing provision through existing housing commitments of 14 homes, the Local Plan reserve housing site at Oaklands (47 homes) and future windfall sites;
  • Provide affordable housing on the large site mentioned above and on some of the future windfall sites.
For employment
  • De-allocate the existing Builders Merchants employment site;
  • Safeguard and/or encourage the re-use of existing employment sites that are well located and otherwise well suited to employment use.
For shopping and retail
  • Maintain and enhance the role of Rowlands Castle as a local parade or small local centre.
For environment
  • Preserve the relationship between the landscape and townscape of Rowlands Castle, particularly by protecting the setting of the South Downs National Park;
  • Protect and enhance the historic character of the village centre;
  • Protect the existing gap between Rowlands Castle and Havant.
For transport
  • Contribute to promoting public and community transport both into and around the village through infrastructure improvements. The local traffic management and parking issues also need to be considered.
For community facilities and open space
  • Provide for the community needs of Rowlands Castle and nearby rural villages and hamlets by the provision of community facilities, open space and purpose- built facilities especially for young people;
  • Maximise the recreation potential of the South Downs National Park and Havant Thicket reservoir whilst respecting the amenity of local residents.

Development in the villages

CP14 Preferred Development in Villages Policy

The preferred approach to development in the rural area is to sustain, enhance and, where possible, revitalise villages, providing the opportunities for strong, diverse economic activity, whilst maintaining local character and a high quality environment. Priority will be given to:

1. Maintaining a hierarchy of settlements consisting of villages and hamlets in the countryside and working with our partners to improve access between them and the larger settlements.

2. Protecting and enhancing the village centres to provide a focus for communities by resisting the loss of and providing for essential services and facilities to meet local needs.

3. Retaining existing employment sites and providing opportunities for e-working and home working.

4. Providing housing to meet local needs, including through the provision of rural exception sites where appropriate.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS7
South East Plan Policies BE5, H3
Sustainable Community Strategy Key Outcomes:
3.1 (1) Provide housing with the aim of meeting the specific needs of each community and complementing the existing character, with appropriate infrastructure and services.
3.1 (2) Reduce the migration of young people and families away from the district. For example by increasing the percentage of affordable houses built, especially in rural areas; and increasing the delivery of rural exception sites.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
2. Safer and more vibrant communities
  • Developing better facilities in our towns and villages
3. Improve our focus on special community groups
  • Provide more affordable homes
Core Strategy Objective CSOH4  To meet affordable housing needs as far as practicable
CSOH5 To promote safe, sustainable communities by ensuring an appropriate housing mix, taking account of the needs of identified groups in various settlements, and utilising good quality urban design.
CSOEM3 To ensure that communities are happy with their town and village centres
CSOT2  To improve accessibility to all services, particularly for those who may need them most, but are least able to access them
Policy Indicator Local Indicator:
Number of dwellings provided on rural exception sites
Delivery Bodies EHDC, Registered Social Landlords, development industry

Background evidence

5.223 PPS7 sets out guidance on the approach to development in rural areas. The objectives are:

  • Promotion of sustainable growth and diversification;
  • Focusing most development in or next to existing towns and villages.

5.224  The PPS also identifies a number of key principles which should be applied to achieve sustainable development:

  • Most developments which are likely to generate large numbers of trips should be located in or next to towns or other service centres which are accessible by public transport, walking and cycling. Decisions on the location of other developments in rural areas should, where possible, give people the greatest opportunity to access them by public transport, walking and cycling (para 1(iii));
  • Priority should be given to the re-use of previously developed land, except where these brownfield sites perform poorly in terms of sustainability considerations e.g. remoteness from settlements and services (para 1(v));
  • Most development should be focused in or near local service centres (para 3);
  • Some limited development should be allowed in or near rural settlements, not designated as local service centres, in order to meet local business and community needs and maintain the vitality of these communities (para 4);
  • Be supportive of small-scale development where it provides the most sustainable option in remote villages with poor transport links to service centres (para 6)

5.225 Many of the smaller villages are at the heart of a rural community providing some of the essential services and facilities that meet day-to-day needs of local people. Protecting and enhancing village centres is essential to maintain these communities and encourage sustainable transport. Retaining existing employment sites and providing for e-working and home working will reduce the need to travel and also encourage less dependency on the car.

5.226 Developing diverse rural enterprises that provide a range of jobs will ensure a strong rural economy and a thriving network of rural villages and hamlets. These centres are essential to serve local communities and visitors, who in turn support the rural economy. This approach is supported by PPS7 which recognises that small-scale development in villages can provide the most sustainable option in the more remote rural areas.

5.227 It is recognised that local needs will arise over the plan period. Some of these villages and hamlets may benefit from further growth to meet local needs or help to retain vulnerable services. Opportunities will arise for windfall and infill development in these villages. Other small scale development to meet a specific local need will be achieved through exception sites.

5.228 In line with PPS3: Housing, affordable housing in rural areas can be provided through these rural exception sites.

5.229 The approach above reflects Policy BE5 of the South East Plan which states that the defined local needs of rural communities for small scale affordable housing, business and service development should be met, taking account of changing patterns of agriculture, economic diversification, and continued viability of local services.

5.230 The policy adds that the approach to development in villages should be based on the functions performed, their accessibility, and the need to protect or extend key local services. All new development should be subject to rigorous design and sustainability criteria. To assist this, local planning authorities should encourage the community to be at the heart of decision-making.

5.231 The sustainability appraisal recognises that the provision of new housing and new affordable housing will be modest in these villages but will help to ensure young people remain in the rural area. The option will also help to protect and enhance village centres and provide some essential services and facilities to meet daily needs for the wider rural area. 

5.232 However, many of these smaller rural settlements have a very limited range of facilities and accessibility, making them relatively unsustainable locations for significant levels of new development. The general lack of sustainability in these villages means that it is not appropriate to promote the allocation of housing or employment sites within them in the Core Strategy.

5.233 The responses to the Issues and Options consultation revealed a variety of views. These ranged from the concern that villages may die without low-cost housing and a certain amount of facilities, such as a shop and village hall, to the need to be careful not to swamp a community with a large area of new build.

5.234 The workshop on housing highlighted the following main issues:

  • Affordable housing in the villages should primarily be family housing;
  • The long-term aim should be one of dispersal with some development targeted to villages. Need to look at services and facilities that should be retained in villages. Viability studies, with the help of parish councils, of services and facilities, for example falling school roles;
  • People want to remain in the villages but young people are having to move out. Affordable housing in the villages should concentrate on larger family homes. There is a need to recognise the opportunities for market housing to enable affordable housing;
  • Local people need to be educated to the fact that villages should accept residential development to achieve affordable housing and improve the viability of local services and facilities.

Development in the countryside

CP15 Preferred Development in the Countryside Policy

The Council’s preferred approach to development in the countryside is to operate a policy of general restraint in order to protect the countryside for its own sake. Priority will be given to:

1. Ensuring that only development is allowed that has a genuine and proven need for a countryside location, such as that necessary for farming, forestry, countryside recreation and small-scale tourism.

2. Protecting the overall character, quality, tranquillity and appearance of the countryside.

3. Protecting and enhancing the intrinsic local character of the landscape, sense of place and local distinctiveness by valuing all the contributing features.

4. Safeguard and strengthen the long-term sustainability of the rural economy by providing opportunities for commercial activities which utilise rural resources appropriately.

5. Providing housing only to meet local needs.

Policy conformity

PPGs / PPSs /Circulars PPS1, PPS7, PPG13
South East Plan Policies C1a, C2, C3, C4
Sustainable Community Strategy Key Outcome:
3.1 (2) Reduce the migration of young people and families away from the district. For example by increasing the percentage of affordable houses built, especially in rural areas; and increasing the delivery of rural exception sites.
Council Strategy 1. Intensify our protection of the built and natural environment.
  • Using planning more effectively to promote our quality of life
  • Caring for our natural environment
Core Strategy Objective CSOH2 To make the most efficient use of land and the existing housing stock.
Policy Indicator Local Indicators:
Number of dwellings provided on rural exception sites
Number and use of rural buildings with change of use
Delivery Bodies EHDC, Registed Social Landlords, development industry

Background evidence

5.235 PPS7 sets out guidance on the approach to development in the countryside. The objectives are:

  • Promotion of sustainable growth and diversification;
  • Good quality sustainable development that respects and enhances local distinctiveness and all aspects of the countryside;
  • Develop diverse and thriving rural enterprise;
  • Promote sustainable, diverse and adaptable agricultural sectors.

5.236  The PPS identifies a number of key principles which should be applied to achieve sustainable development:

  • New building development in the open countryside away from existing settlements should be strictly controlled. The overall aim is to protect the countryside for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty (para 1(iv));
  • Priority should be given to the re-use of previously developed land, except where these brownfield sites perform poorly in terms of sustainability considerations e.g. remoteness from settlements and (para 1(v);
  • Be supportive of small-scale development where it provides the most sustainable option in remote locations (para 6)

5.237 PPS7 also recognises that farm diversification is vital to the continuing viability of any farm enterprises. Local planning authorities should be supportive of well-conceived farm diversification schemes for business purposes. However, diversification schemes should not result in excessive expansion and encroachment of development into the countryside.

5.238 PPG13 predates PPS7 but set out similar themes with respect to reducing the need to travel by car:

  • The availability of previously developed land is not in itself a sufficient reason for developing in rural areas (para 41);
  • Promoting adequate employment opportunities in rural areas can reduce the need for long-distance commuting in rural areas (para 43);
  • Need to be realistic about the availability of alternatives to the car. Should not reject proposals where small-scale business development or expansion would give rise to only modest additional daily vehicle movements, and the impact on minor roads would not be significant (para 43).

5.239 PPS7 confirms that new development outside the designated urban areas should be strictly controlled. The Government’s overall aim is to protect the countryside for the sake of its intrinsic character and beauty, the diversity of the landscapes, heritage and wildlife and the wealth of its natural resources and so it can be enjoyed by all.

5.240 At the same time, the countryside is under great pressure to meet a range of demands. Farming has a key influence on the landscape. There is now more emphasis on producing energy crops – crops farmed at low-cost to be used for biofuels - and on locally produced food. PPS7 promotes the need to be supportive of farm diversification to help sustain agricultural enterprise and to maximise opportunities to strengthen the rural economy.

5.241 Rural buildings can be an important resource for new enterprises so long as they are no longer required for agriculture. Where conversion is appropriate, consideration should be given to commercial or community re-use or residential conversion to meet local housing needs.

5.242 There is a continuing trend for more people to move into the countryside seeking a rural lifestyle. This leads to pressure for replacement homes and extensions. Over time this can change the composition of the rural housing stock with fewer small dwellings. In the countryside, any provision of housing should reflect local need. 

5.243 The sustainability appraisal recognises that the approach will safeguard and strengthen the long-term sustainability of the rural economy and to provide affordable housing where there is a local need.

Options considered

5.244 The key issue is how to balance the objective of promoting sustainable development that supports the rural economy whilst ensuring that the quality and character of the wider countryside is protected and where possible enhanced (PPS7, para 15). The direction of the advice in PPS7 is quite clear i.e. policies should be in favour of controlling development in the open countryside (para 1(iv)).

5.245 Among the options considered were permitting no change in the countryside, managing change to protect and enhance key features of the countryside, and allowing a greater range of development.

5.246 The changing nature of agriculture and the likely demand for more and new types of development over the plan period mean that a more restrictive approach to development is not realistic.

5.247 The high landscape and biodiversity value of the countryside create a distinct rural character. Even cumulative, small-scale development can have a major impact. A more relaxed approach to development in the countryside would gradually erode this special character and so is not favoured.

5.248 It is therefore recognised that some development can take place which is beneficial to the countryside and the people that live and work there. The emphasis in the Core Strategy should therefore be on allowing development in the countryside where it can be demonstrated that a countryside location is both necessary and justified. Such an approach would preclude development for which a rural location was not essential. Inappropriate types and scales of development would be restricted to maintain the landscape character and quality of the countryside. The countryside should continue to be protected for its intrinsic value in line with national policy guidance. Even so, it is possible to maximise opportunities to strengthen the rural economy by encouraging uses related to the land, including appropriate forms of agriculture, forestry and green tourism. Housing should only be provided to meet local need. 

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