Core Strategy Preferred Policies - Whitehill Bordon
6. Policies for the Strategy and Future Role of Whitehill/Bordon
6.1 The Ministry of Defence will be relocating its forces from Bordon Garrison to St Athan in Wales in phases after 2013, leaving around 570 acres (about 230 hectares) of land empty in the town. The availability of the MoD land is subject to contract award and to affordability.
6.2 The impact of the armed forces and their families leaving the area could be severe. Many businesses, shops and community facilities rely on their support to stay open.
6.3 However, this large amount of MOD land and additional land owned by public bodies brings the total amount of land available to around 340ha. This therefore provides an exciting opportunity to carry out a masterplan for the future regeneration of Whitehill/Bordon. The town can respond to the challenge of climate change, the need for more homes, and the need for more sustainable living in an innovative and ground-breaking way. It can make an important contribution to the development of new technologies and practices and put Whitehill Bordon on the map as an example of a modern sustainable community in the 21st century. Most importantly it gives us the chance to work with local people to meet their needs and to put in place the facilities that are lacking today.
6.4 The Government recognises that there is an exciting opportunity at Whitehill Bordon to meet strategic housing needs and this is reflected in the South East Plan which contains a specific policy for the town. The decision to make it one of the UK’s first eco – towns will attract funding and investment and give the town a new sense of purpose. It is also a gateway to the newly formed South Downs National Park.
6.5 In anticipation of the Defence Training Review (DTR) a great deal of technical work and public consultation has been carried out over the past four years. This has been led by the Whitehill/Bordon Opportunity Group. The aim is to get the best for the people of Whitehill/Bordon. The Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Group is partnership of local authorities, landowners and government agencies who are working together to make the project a success. The Partners are:
- East Hampshire District Council
- Hampshire County Council
- Homes And Communities Agency
- Ministry of Defence Estates
- Natural England
- South East England Development Agency
- Whitehill Town Council
- Whitehill Town Partnership
6.6 The Place–Shaping policies and proposals for Whitehill/Bordon need to be included in the Core Strategy of the Local Development Framework (LDF). The development options are guided by the Green Vision for the town. This was worked up by the Opportunity Group, endorsed through local consultation and adopted by the District Council in April 2006. East Hampshire District Council made the decision to bid for eco–town status because the aims of the initiative fit closely with the aims of the Green Town Vision for Whitehill Bordon.
The Green Town Vision
6.7 The Green Town Vision aims to meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors alike. It places the environment and landscape setting at the heart of the Masterplan for the area and seeks to create a modern, sustainable community that balances additional housing, jobs, education and leisure opportunities with the needs of the environment.
The Green Vision sets out 5 key elements:
- encouraging the community to live and work in ways that respects natural resources on which our society an economy depends
- creating an attractive built environment with a balanced mix of housing, community facilities, commercial and employment opportunities where people want to live, work, shop and play
- creating a thriving sustainable community with a distinct character that will give our town a unique identity within Hampshire and the South East
- improving the built environment in the town so that it complements the superb landscape that surrounds us
- using innovative, modern environmentally friendly design including eco – homes and modern methods of construction
6.8 Part of the Vision relates to encouraging lifestyles that respect the environment while improving the image and competitiveness of the town. A key challenge is to improve the social and economic profile of the town and achieve a greater mix of housing. The Vision provides the principles to guide the future of the town and to create a new Whitehill Bordon with a new sense of purpose.
6.9 Government has published ‘Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns’ as a supplement to PPS1. This identifies Whitehill/Bordon as a potential location for an eco-town. Eco-towns should be allocated, and the extent of the eco-town boundary shown through the Local Development Framework process, in this case the Core Strategy. The South East Plan already identifies Whitehill Bordon as a Strategic Development Area. The Core Strategy sets out policies for the development of a strategic development area and an eco-town. It is the Government’s view that eco-towns should be exemplar projects that encourage and enable residents to live within managed environmental limits and in communities that are resilient to climate change. The policies for Whitehill/Bordon are being developed to reflect its status as an eco-town. At this stage, therefore, the policies below set out a preferred approach rather than precise policy wording.
WH1 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR WHITEHILL BORDON
The preferred approach forWhitehill Bordon is to allocate it as a Strategic Development Area and eco-town, and to identify a boundary within which the eco-town policies would apply. The approach then sets out a range of policies to deliver the community’s vision for the area.
The overall aim is to create an eco-town that responds to the challenge of climate change, meets the need for more homes, jobs and facilities, and acts as an exemplar of sustainable living in an innovative and ground-breaking way. Proposals should make an important contribution to the development of new technologies and practices and put Whitehill/Bordon on the map as an example of a modern sustainable community in the 21st century.
Proposals for development on the Proposals Map will be considered against the following:
- National Planning Policy Statements and Guidance (especially the PPS on eco-towns)
- The Development Plan including the South East Plan (relevant policies and Policy AOSR3 (Areas Outside Sub Regions))
- Policies WB1 to WB13 in the Core Strategy
- The Whitehill/Bordon Masterplan as set out in a Supplementary Planning Document produced with the involvement of stakeholders and the community (this includes The Principles of the Green Town Vision)
- European Habitats Directive
Planning Applications that comply with the Masterplan will be granted consent. Where the proposals materially alter or would have a negative impact on the integrity of the Master-plan should be refused consent. Development must be carried out in a comprehensive manner and will be required to deliver the necessary infrastructure, including a full range of facilities and services to meet the needs of the expanded community. The town will provide a gateway to the adjoining South Downs National Park.
The preferred boundary for the proposed eco-town has been identified as a circle of radius 2km focused upon the new town centre and proposed transport hub. Taking into consideration the location of local and town centre shops, schools and facilities identified in the EDAW / AECOM masterplan, this should ensure thatthe PPS1 requirement ofa maximum walking distance from homes to schools be 800m for children under aged 11. In addition, that for older children and adults there should be access to a local centre within 1km and the town centre within 2km.
2km represents is 20 minutes walk or 8 minutes cycling at a moderate speed.
Planning applications within this boundary will be judged by the eco-town criteria in PPS1 supplemented by the special Whitehill Bordon policies, along with any saved Local Plan policies that are still relevant. In addition, this boundary will be the preferred cut-off line for applications for support funded by the eco-town support fund including retrofitting of existing housing stock.
Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure
6.11 The town is situated in an extremely beautiful area. It lies on the edge of the South Downs National Park and is bounded by areas of environmental designations of European, national and local significance (Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Area for Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS). For example, Broxhead Common, an SPA to the north of the town, is designated partly because it is a nesting area for ground nesting birds as well as a sanctuary for invertebrates, reptiles and a rare heathland landscape. Woolmer Forest, also an SPA, is an extensive area of land directly to the south. Woolmer Forest is also a NATO training area owned by the MoD and will remain so.
6.12 Within the town are other sites of ecological importance which link to the wider countryside. The impact of new development on these sites will be a major factor and could affect the future scale and location of development. Some of the main principles are:
- The need to protect areas of nature conservation interest, particularly the SPAs to the north and south of the town, will influence the scale and type of new development.
- The SPAs are particularly vulnerable to impacts associated with housing development. Non-residential development would be more acceptable on land immediately adjacent to the SPAs.
- Avoidance of impacts and mitigation measures to protect sites of ecological importance are the key to expanding the town in a sustainable manner. Large areas of new open space for informal recreation, e.g. dog- walking, are likely to be required both within and on the edge of town.
- The proposed South Downs National Park creates the opportunity for the town to be a ‘gateway’ to the National Park, providing services and facilities for visitors coming to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the area.The town lies within an area of archaeological interest. Development in the town should avoid impacts to historic sites.
- There are existing air quality issues around the A325 within the town.
- A number of archaeological sites of national importance lie within MoD boundaries.
- Monitoring has shown that there are pockets of poor air quality near the A325 in Bordon.
- To the west is common land and to the east there lies school playing fields and a large tract of undesignated woodland and farmland which is owned by Hampshire County Council
- A number of green tongues bisect the town including the Wey and Deadwater valleys and the Hogmoor Inclosure – currently a tank training area. Proposals should safeguard Hogmoor land by introducing sensitive perimeter development which would overlook and thus provide passive control for the land.
6.13 All these sites are within the ownership of the District Council, the County Council or the MoD and the aim is to safeguard them all from inappropriate development. .
6.14 The Core Strategy is proposing under Policy CP18 to retain the existing local gaps between Whitehill Bordon and Lindford and between Lindford and Headley. These gaps will ensure the separate identity of the settlements.
WH2 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR BIODIVERSITY
The preferred policy is based on the following principles:
- The attractive local environment will be the centrepiece of future development.
- The importance of protecting the natural environment, whilst expanding the community, needs to be carefully considered. Whitehill Bordon is a very special place for wildlife. The heathlands are home to several important protected birds. The creation and protection of all important greenspace and wildlife habitats is a core element of the Green Town Vision. As an eco-town, Whitehill/Bordon will show a net gain in local biodiversity.
- Development proposals must show that there is no adverse effect on the integrity of any European site. Where there is an adverse effect, proposals must show that appropriate mitigation or compensation measures can be put in place to minimise the effect on individual species and habitats of principle importance and to enhance local diversity overall. These sites, known as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGS).
- The Masterplan includes a strategy for conserving and enhancing local biodiversity. Planning applications should reflect the strategy and include proposals for the management of local ecosystems and, where appropriate, the restoration of degraded habitats or the creation of replacement habitats.
- Housing sites will not be built within 400 metres of a Protected Area.
- If proposals show that 5,500 homes (figure in the South East Plan) cannot be provided because of the adverse impact, or because the impact cannot be adequately mitigated, proposals should provide as close as possible to the minimum size for which it can be concluded that it does not affect the integrity of any European site.
WH3 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
The Council’s preferred approach is based on the following principles:
The Core Strategy will allocate land for green space. This will amount to 40% of the new area that is to be developed (110 hectares). At least half of this (20%) should be available to the public. The area required must be agreed by Natural England and informed by the Habitats Regulation Assessment.
The green space should consist of a network of well managed, high quality, green open spaces which are linked to the wider countryside.
- There should be a range of types of green space – the network will comprise new public parks and formal gardens, amenity green space in and around housing, sports grounds, playing fields, open spaces, semi-natural areas including woods and heaths, green corridors including rivers, cycleways and rights of ways, allotments, green streets, and green roofs.
- Community allotments or commercial gardens will allow the production of local food. The green spaces will enhance the spatial qualities of the area, will improve biodiversity, meet the needs of the new community and improve public access to the countryside. Some areas will be multi-functional – accessible for play and recreation, walking or cycling safely and support wildlife and flood management.
- Wildlife Corridors will make the town more permeable for wildlife. Some areas will be more restricted in terms of access. These sites, will have a biodiversity function first (disturbance free) and collectively will provide a network linking the protected areas to the north and south.
- The Green Loop at Whitehill Bordon will be a major element of the SANG strategy (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces). These areas will have a recreation function first. It will offer residents the chance to enjoy green landscapes right in the heart of the town. It will provide opportunities for cycling, walking, dog walking, jogging. It focuses recreation away from the SPAs. It links the internal green loop with external footpath network.
- Hogmoor Inclosure, Bordon Inclosure, Eveley Wood and farmland at Standford Grange will be part of it and will form country parks and natural areas for people to enjoy. A network of rights of way, footpaths and streets will link into the green loop.
6.15 Delivery will be via a public sector delivery board and will design will seek to be exemplary both technologiaclly and aesthetically. Excellent and imaginative design will deliverd through the masterplan, design guidance and development briefs. In certain key cases where the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity executive Board is the landowner, sites will be sold with the benefit of planning permission to ensire high quality and that design meets the guidance set out in the PPS on eco-towns and local policy objectives. In addition there will be the opportunity for peer review and setting up a local design group to advise on development control. Starting in November 2009 the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) is also planning close scrutiny of the development
WH4 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR DESIGN
The Council’s preferred policy will require imaginative, innovative, modern, environmentally friendly design including eco homes and modern methods of construction. The development will be planned on a scale where individuals are important and development is designed with people and nature in mind.
Achieve an exemplar standard of sustainable design and an attractive and accessible public realm with active street frontages to create safe and attractive environments. The design should reflect local character and create a sense of place, and include elements of public art where these contribute to the identity of the new neighbourhood/communities.
Planning applications should show that they have considered the local landscape and the historic environment.
Unlike all the other eco–town proposals, Whitehill/Bordon is an extension of an existing community. The Council’s preferred approach is to integrate the old with the new. The town is set in an attractive Iandscape. The aim is to develop and improve the built environment in the town so that it complements the landscape framework. The military areas contain historic buildings including the Commandant’s House, the Prince Philip’s Barracks and the old Fire Station. Designing high quality places that work with the landscape and re-using land mark buildings will give the town a special and distinctive character. The entrances to the town are important and sites such as the Whitehill Club and the Old Fire Station will require a high quality of design.
Reducing Carbon Emmisions and Water Consumption
6.16 Global warming and climate change will affect us all and could lead to extreme weather conditions with hotter summers and wetter winters and more flooding. By its designation as an eco–town, Whitehill Bordon now has the chance to lead the way.
6.17 The Council’s preferred policy approach is to maximise the opportunity presented by development to make a significant contribution towards reducing carbon emissions and water consumption, such as through the provision of district heating systems or on-site renewable energy generation.
WH5 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS AND WATER CONSUMPTION
The following factors must be taken into account in development proposals:
- All new buildings will be zero carbon. However the aim is to achieve carbon neutrality for the whole town by 2050 – not just homes but also commercial and public sector buildings. This means that the carbon footprint of the new larger town will not exceed the carbon footprint of the existing town.
- Planning applications should be accompanied by a water cycle strategy that provides a plan for the necessary water infrastructure and water quality improvements, and sets out measures for managing surface water, ground water and local watercourses to prevent surface water flooding from those sources.
- An outline water cycle study has shown that there are a number of feasible ways of providing enough water for the whole town. This may include bringing the MOD water supply into public use or using the water already planned for the town expansion by the water authorities.
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) – SUDS must be provided which are fully integrated into the network of multi- functional green spaces, help to enhance local biodiversity, provide open space, and offer flood risk and water quality benefits.
- Planning applications should include a strategy for the long term maintenance, management and adoption of the SUDS.
- Avoiding inappropriate development in areas identified as being of at risk of flooding. The built area will be fully within Flood Zone 1 – the lowest risk.
- Protecting the aquifer from the impact of development.
- Achieving water neutrality – i.e. achieving development without increasing overall water use across a wider area.
- Water efficient measures in all buildings; new homes will be equipped to meet the water consumption requirement of Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes
6.18 The impact from constructing new building and infrastructure needs to be reduced to help lower the overall level of carbon emissions. Where possible, buildings should be retained because carbon has already been invested. Recycling and reusing existing buildings should be encouraged.
WH6 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION
The following factors must be taken into account in development proposals:
- The new houses will be Code for Sustainable Homes level 6;
- New homes should have real time energy monitoring systems, real time public transport information and high speed broadband access;
- Buildings should be durable with an increased design life. All homes will achieve the Lifetime Homes standard, CABE’s Building for Life Silver Standard, use English Partnerships’ Quality Standards and follow Secure by Design principles. There is a need to design for deconstruction so that the materials can be used at the end of the building’s life;
- Homes should show high levels of energy efficiency in the fabric of the building. Proposals will be included to retro-fit all existing dwellings to Passiv Haus standards where possible.
6.19 Managing the waste of an eco-town represents a significant set of challenges. But eco-towns provide an exciting opportunity to provide mechanisms, facilities and services that make it easier for residents and businesses to reduce and manage their waste in a sustainable way. As exemplar developments, eco-towns should aim to achieve more than current best practice. They should be leaders in the transformation from a waste management economy to one based on resource management, and they should contribute to reducing the impacts of waste on climate change.
WH7 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR WASTE
Planning applications should include a sustainable waste and resources plan covering both domestic and non – domestic waste.
- The use of forestry and farming waste as biomass fuel
- The use of locally generated waste as a fuel source for combined heat and power for the town
- Including composting schemes
- Using organic waste for anaerobic digestion off site to provide energy
6.20 Whitehill/Bordon has a young population with a high proportion of children. It has fewer elderly residents than average. Many homes are small with mainly one and two bedrooms, and most are terraced. About 20% of householders rent their homes. House prices are lower than average in the District and there are many affordable homes. This attracts low income earners and first time buyers and has created an imbalance in the social and economic mix in the existing population. Some of the key principles of development are:
- There is a vital link between providing homes and new facilities. The more the town and its population grows, so more jobs, services and facilities will be attracted to the town.
- A broader range of larger, detached homes could redress the imbalance in the population.
- The land releases will enable the construction of up to 5,500 homes subject to the outcome of further studies including the Habitats Regulation Assessment and a Transport Study. Whitehill Bordon is located in an area of high housing pressure with an affordability rating of Very High.
- The supply of labour provided through people moving to new housing should match the type of employment that is provided in the town to avoid additional commuting.
- Securing high quality design which is distinctive to the town, including sustainable design and energy efficiency measures
WH8 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR HOMES
The South East Plan sets out a housing target for Whitehill Bordon for 5,500 homes. It states that the final figure will be determined following further studies. Work on the Masterplan has assessed the physical capacity of each site to accommodate new homes. It also takes account of the Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), and further transport studies.
The preferred strategy is to consult on a figure of 4,700 dwellings phased over a 20 year period.
4,700 dwellings would provide opportunities to bring about a new town centre that would be viable. Should further land become available in the town this figure may rise but an upper limit or cap should be 5,300 dwellings. Any development over that upper limit may start to undermine the mitigation strategy to protect the SPAs.
Type of housing: The overall densities reflect the overall Town Vision of 72% houses, 28% flats
The tenure mix is affordable 35% and private 65%
The affordable housing comprises social rented, low cost home ownership, intermediate rent (38% flats, 62% houses)
Private homes comprise owner occupied, private rented (23% flats, 77% houses)
For each site, details will be given on the mix of homes required, the type and size of homes, the percentage of affordable housing and the tenures to help create a more balanced and sustainable community and create a place that is distinctive and varied.
The Masterplan identifies 3 neighbourhood areas. These areas will have a different character with a mix of high quality new homes in a range of styles and sizes to suit all ages and family groups. This includes large executive homes to help to rebalance the population profile of the town. It will attract new residents to live and work in the town.
Other issues to be considered:
The needs of the elderly will be met. Proposals will include lifetime homes which must meet the Homes and Communities Agencies Design Quality Standards and be an integral part of the design. Building for Life (Silver standard) should be achieved.
Homes will allow for flexible living and working and reflect whole life principles. Self employment is high in the area and likely to increase over time.
Homes will have real time energy monitoring systems, real time public transport information , high speed broadband access.
All of them will be built to the Code for Sustainable Homes level 6.
Homes should demonstrate high levels of energy efficiency in the fabric of the building.
Homes should achieve carbon reductions of at least 70% (relevant to current Building Regulations Part L 2006) through a combination of energy efficiency, and low and zero carbon energy generation on the site of the housing development and any heat supplied from low and zero carbon heat systems directly connected to the development.
Plans for existing homes include retrofitting to Passiv Haus standards or similar where possible.
In order to encourage people to walk, cycle, and avoid using the car, a more dense level of development (up to 80 dwellings per hectare) will be built in certain areas such as the town centre, and in some residential areas
6.21 In Whitehill Bordon there are limited jobs locally, especially in the office and service industries; this means that that 65% of residents commute out of town by car to work, mainly to Surrey and the inner South East. There are more jobs in the Industrial sectors. When the MoD leave GVA it is estimated that there will be a loss of 2452 jobs, representing an economic impact of £28M per year to the local economy. (GVA Grimley Final Baseline Report - September 2008). Further work has been carried out by SQW (Whitehill Bordon Economic Potentials Study 2009). Some of the main principles are:
- More local employment opportunities are needed to reduce out- commuting.
- There is a need to encourage investment in high quality sustainable employment, and innovation/technology goods and services to a national/global market.
- Any withdrawal of MoD will occur over a short period of time whilst major redevelopment will be longer term requiring careful management of land assets to enable economic growth and regeneration over the plan period. There is a need for careful programming and phasing of land release to minimise impacts on the local economy and population.
- It is necessary to start planning now for a new economy to ensure the right skills and business spaces are available before the Garrison departs.
- There is scope for a major employer of global repute to locate in the town.
- There should be a mix of businesses so that the town is not reliant on one sector or company.
- The Town is identified as a Strategic Development Area in the South East Plan. It lies between the sub regional growth areas of the Blackwater Valley and South Hampshire (PUSH). Policies need to integrate with, and complement, the policies for those areas.
- Business growth requires a supporting infrastructure of an excellent local education system, high capacity digital technologies, diverse housing, convenient access to regional transport networks, business advice/support services and good value commercial premises
WH9 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR JOBS
The town has relied on the Ministry of Defence for jobs. The policies will aim to create a strong mix of businesses so that the town is not reliant on one sector or company but a genuine mixed use community, although there is scope for a major employer of global repute to locate in the town. Many jobs will occur through inward investment.There are 4 potential roles for Whitehill Bordon (identified in the SQW report):
- Linking Whitehill Bordon with the Blackwater focusing on aerospace/high value engineering
- Exemplar for Sustainable Development /Green Industries
- Centre for Tourism and Leisure (National Park)
- Focus on Further Education and Learning provision
Together we anticipate that this will lead to in the region of 5,500 jobs. This is intended to redress the balance resulting from the loss of MOD jobs and to provide the creation of a minimum of one new job for each new home. Careful monitoring, particularly in relation to the loss of employment land for other uses, will be essential. More local jobs are needed to reduce out-commuting. Each new job should be easily reached by walking, cycling and/or public transport. Many people will choose to work from home.
The town is identified as a Strategic Development Area in the South East Plan. It lies between the sub regional growth areas of the Blackwater Valley and South Hampshire (PUSH). Policies should integrate with, and complement, the policies for those areas.
The Council’s preferred approach is for a dispersed distribution of employment development. Sites will be allocated at:
- Louisberg Barracks (the focus or new business, possibly an eco- business park for green technologies. Investment will be encouraged by those businesses which share the vision of a sustainable environmentally-friendly community)
- Quebec Barracks
- Viking Park
- The Town Centre
- New employment uses will wrap around Woolmer Trading Estate and make use of the REME building.
Jobs will be permitted in different locations - offices, workshops, high tech companies and small medium sized business premises will be mixed in town centre locations and residential areas.
Larger business premises, manufacturing and other light industrial uses will be located on the edge of town with good access to the local road network.
It is necessary to start planning now for a new economy to ensure the right skills and business spaces are available before the Garrison departs.
The policy will indicate which sites can be used for business use in the early phases of development as land is released, to provide jobs in the transitional period but which can revert to an alternative use once more suitable business sites are released with the phased withdrawal of the armed forces.
Shopping and Leisure Facilities
6.22 The town has reasonable convenience shops e.g. food, drinks, newspapers but poor comparison shops e.g. clothing, household goods, for a town of its size. Residents travel elsewhere to do their comparison shopping and have expressed a desire for a new town centre with additional shops. The town lacks a stand-alone leisure centre, family pubs, restaurants and hotels. Some of the main principles are
- There is an opportunity to make the town a more sustainable community with a wider range of shops and leisure facilities. This depends on the scale of housing development.
- The perceived profile of the town needs to be raised to attract quality retailers.
- The potential for creating a new town centre needs to be carefully examined.
- A diverse town centre with a mix of retail, culture, entertainment, leisure, housing and related business uses which are easily accessible by local people and visitors.
- A town capable of attracting customers from the surrounding villages.
WH10 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR SHOPPING AND LEISURE FACILITIES
The Council’s preferred option is to allocate land for the comprehensive development of a new town centre shown on the proposal’s map.
This focuses on the existing A325 north- south corridor from Tesco, along the existing High Street (and includes Highview Business Park, the Catholic Church and Guadeloupe car park. A new east – west route is created along Budds Lane (Prince Philip Barracks). The southern side of Chalet Hill is included and the east west link from Tesco along Devon Road to the Forest Centre will be retained.
Two options were considered by the community through the Masterplan work. The option described above was the community’s preferred option.
The scale of development in the town centre will be more than that at existing centres of Petersfield and Alton. The core strategy will need to reflect Whitehill/Bordon’s changed role and function in the retail hierarchy.
Proposals will include:
- A town park and a market square
- 30,000 square metres of retail floorspace – this will include a mix of uses including those which contribute to the evening economy (pubs, cafes, restaurants etc)
- Leisure and recreational facilities, community and civic/cultural uses
- Around 13,000 sq. metres of office and commercial development, and an hotel
- High density residential development above the shops. Densities should be up to 80 dwellings per hectare (scope for 580 dwellings)
- A public transport hub
- New uses for the Sergeants Mess and the Sandhurst Block
- Car Parking – this will be flexible. Once alternative modes of transport to the car are established, car parking areas may not need to be so large and other uses be accommodated.
- Flexibility over time to allow the town centre to expand
New development will be designed to the highest quality to create a sense of place. The layout of the town centre will be designed to ensure that the built form is complemented by quality open spaces, civic or town squares. Proposals must take account of 3 buildings important to the town’s heritage – the Sergeant’s Mess, the Sandhurst Block and the Frisby Building on the High Street.
Landscaping, street furniture, and public art should be an integral part of the design of the new town centre. Priority will be given to pedestrians and cyclists. Footpaths and cycleways will be designed to link the town centre with housing and commercial areas in the rest of the town, both sides of the A325. If a new rail station is included in the overall Masterplan, a location close to the town centre will be required.
THE FOREST CENTRE
The Council’s preferred approach is to provide a new Policy specifically relating to the Forest Centre, once the details of the Masterplan are known. It will continue to provide a sustainable retail centre subject to the provisions of the Masterplan.
6.23 The size and range of facilities in Whitehill/Bordon is limited compared to similar sized towns (Alton and Petersfield). Many people travel out of town for their health and services.
6.24 The lack of public playing fields and children’s play space is made worse by flooding problems and a lack of changing rooms and car parking. Many of the areas used as informal open space are important environmental sites. Public indoor sports and swimming pools are only available at Mill Chase Community School where public access is limited during term time.
6.25 There is no emergency dentist practice in the town and access to the nearest hospital for emergency and acute/specialist services is in Basingstoke.
- There is an opportunity to make the town a more sustainable community with a wide range of local facilities.
- More public playing fields and children’s play spaces are needed to meet significant under provision. The existing MoD pitches and sports facilities could be retained, improved where necessary, and released for public use.
- More GP and dental surgeries will be needed as the town grows.
- Improvements to specialist hospital services are required.
6.26 The withdrawal of the armed forces will also impact on already falling school rolls. For example Bordon Junior and Infants School report that 30% to 40% of their entire school roll represents garrison children and Mill Chase Secondary School – the only secondary school within the area is already running at only 70% capacity. (Figures provide by HCC 2008)
6.27 Thus the strategy to include up to 7,000 new jobs is crucial to the vision of a sustainable settlement where you can live, work and play within the same town.
6.28 In general, Whitehill/Bordon residents are less qualified compared to residents elsewhere in the District. This is partly due to the lack of further education and training facilities. A lower ratio of residents is employed in managerial or professional occupations. There is no sixth form or further education provision in the town and public transport to colleges elsewhere is poor. There is an identified shortage of pre-school places.
- Land will be required for new schools for the additional population and it may be necessary to extend existing facilities.
- Improvements in the quality of education and access to 16 to 19 education provision which enables young people to follow both sixth form and vocational skills to meet the needs of new businesses.
- Good educational facilities are essential to attract a wider socio-economic mix to the town and to attract new businesses.
WH11 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR HEALTHY LIVING AND EDUCATION
The population will decline in the short term when the military families move away. But as the town grows it will need a full range of social and physical infrastructure including new schools, health and leisure facilities, arts and culture, library services and other community and voluntary sector facilities that meet all the needs of the community in terms of equality and inclusion. The Council’s preferred approach is to allocate land for these uses.
The town should be designed and planned to support healthy and sustainable environments and enable residents to make healthy choices easily. Well designed development and good and good urban planning can also contribute to proposing and supporting healthier and more active living and reduce health inequalities.
The Masterplan identifies the need for 3 new primary schools, 1 children’s centre, 4 early years centres, a skills centre, a new secondary school and flexible community space in town centre. The schools will act as hubs for the new neighbourhoods. Further consideration will be given to the need for a sixth form college; tertiary education Including college facilities, a skills centre and adult learning, new doctors and dentists, a new sports pitch, a multi purpose community space and space for places of worship. The Garrison Church and the Pheonix theatre will be retained.
Schools will be located so that the maximum walking distance is 800m from homes to the nearest school, for children aged under 11.
There is already a corridor of schools and playing fields along Mill Chase Road and Budds Lane. It runs east - west and is easily accessed from existing homes and from the proposed new development (the MOD swimming pool and sports pitches and other facilities are located there). It makes sense to locate new community facilities there too.
Two options for a new secondary school are under consideration:
Option A - a site on Budds Lane is central to the new community, on MoD land, is and is more compact. Leisure uses would be relocated east of Hollywater Road on HCC land.
Option B - uses HCC Land. Larger site with some built development east of Hollywater with a leisure hub split between Mill Chase and BuddsLane.
Budds Lane or Mill Chase focus for active leisure hub. Leisure hub could include:-
New sports hall
New 6 lane pool
Around 100 gym stations
Full size public synthetic turf pitch
4 tennis and 4 squash courts
Improvements at BOSC
Shared school pitches and community halls
Large town centre multipurpose space
WhitehillClub –leisure or tourism focus
Commercial Leisure opportunities at town centre edge and Viking Park
6.29 The town is set midway between the A3 and the M3 and between the London/Portsmouth railway and the London/Alton line, which extends as the Watercress Line – a steam tourist attraction.
6.30 A disused complex of railway lines runs northwards towards Bentley. This potentially links the town with the line from Alton to Waterloo Station in London.
6.31 Access via the A3 is currently undergoing improvement by the construction of the Hindhead Tunnel which will increase pressure for development in the area.
6.32 The town suffers from poor public transport services. However the strategy should be to provide a public transport solution for access within and to-and-from the new town.
6.33 High car ownership and poor public transport in the area leads to a lot of car use for everyday trips to school and work. The scale of development proposed needs to reflect the ability of the A325 and local roads to cope with the additional demand and scope for improvements. Other issues relating to the A325 include its poor accident record and its separation of the town.
- The impact of any future development on the wider highway network will need to be considered in the longer term.
- Options for development need to be assessed against their ability to provide a network of new roads to the west of the town to alleviate the physical barrier caused by the A325.
- The impact of traffic and reliance on the car for local journeys could be reduced by improving walking and cycling facilities.
- Improved public transport is required within the town, to local railway stations and other regional centres.
- As the scale of development and number of shops, jobs and leisure opportunities increase in the town, the more scope there is to reduce car trips and provide better public transport.
- Reduction in private traffic will contribute to control of pollution levels on the SPAs.
WH12 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR TRANSPORT
Policies are awaiting the outcome of various transport studies. The preferred policies will provide the opportunity for a new transport hub. This hub will be the focal point for trips in the town, for links with the villages and links to regional networks. The mains aims of the strategy are to establish sustainable patterns of movement to and within the town and to minimise the use of the private car by providing appropriate and realistic alternatives.
Travel in the town should support people’s desire for mobility whilst achieving the goal of low carbon living. Proposals must show how the carbon impact of transport will be monitored.
The Council’s preferred approach is to include a series of policies designed to encourage residents to walk, cycle or to use public transport or other sustainable options and to significantly reduce trips made by car.
This will help to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the town and the amount of traffic generated by the town’s growth. Much will depend on the level of positive behavioural change of the residents.
The design of the town should enable at least 50% of trips originating in Whitehill Bordon to be made by non-car means. Design principes should be drawn from "Manual for Streets" (Dept. of Transport), "Building for Life" and the Design Portfolio Cycle Parking (Cycling England).
Policies will include the following:
- the designation of priority areas for pedestrians and cyclists – including the new town centre - and certain residential areas. Residents would not need to own a car to get about. These areas will be identifed on the Proposals Map.
- ensuring that each new home is within 10 minutes walk of a frequent public transport and neighbourhood services
- a network of footpaths and cycleways that connect residential areas with the town centre, employment sites, and other local facilities and services
- secure bike storage facilities in every new home and place of work
- bike hire schemes around the town
- car clubs and car sharing schemes – new businesses must include such measures in their travel plans that must be submitted with planning applications
- measures to restrict parking in residential areas; in some areas existing parking standards will be reduced by 50%. Parking must be integrated with the development
promoting the best quality public transport
system that is easy to use, cheap, convenient, frequent,
pleasant, comfortable, stylish, fast and reliable. This
- an express long distance strategic bus service to the east linking with with the larger towns and railway stations at Liphook and Haslemere, and to west to Alton. A north south route would link with Liss and Petersfield and Alton and Farnham. These services will have infrerquent stops. be within the town, and to other Proposals should extend the travel plan beyond the immediate boundaries of the town
- a west of town local bus loop will serve and link Whitehill/Bordon with Greatham, Selbourne, Oakhanger, Lindford and an east of town loop will serve Sleaford, Churt, Headley and Stanford
- a town wide loop will serve all the key destinations and serviceswithin the town. There will be an east/west town loop and a north – south town loop
- promoting an eco-delivery service so that residents do not need to drive to the shops
- measures to mitigate the traffic impacts of the proposed development to ensure that the strategic and local road networks can accommodate it.
- The Masterplan shows a network of connected streets ranging from main streets to minor streets to prevent traffic solely using the A325. The focus will be on a new through street together with a network of streets which will need to be carefully designed to redistribute the traffic away from the A325 and to cater for the type and level of traffic anticipated to use them. A main street will be busier and will take more commercial traffic. All streets will be designed to be comfortable and attractive places for people to walk, live, play and shop. The existing A325 will have public transport and pedestrian/cycle focus, with some parts bus only.
- Safeguard land from development that lies along the route of the former Bordon to Bentley railway line. A disused complex of railway lines runs northwards towards Bentley, potentially linking Whitehill Bordon to the Alton - Waterloo line.
- Promoting a train service that carries bicycles so that cyclists can use their cycles at their destination.
- Piloting the use of electric and hybrid cars. Low carbon vehicle options should demonstrate that there will be sufficient energy available to meet the higher demands or electricity and that the additional number of private cars will not cause extra congestion
- Promoting forms of transport that use less fuel and cause less congestion e.g. motor cycles
6.34 The property market and the commercial viability is crucial to any new development proposals.
- Regeneration of the town will be market driven and a strong market for new housing will need to lead the town’s expansion.
- New housing near the town centre and within walking distance of shops and leisure facilities will be vital in creating sufficient demand to sustain new commercial development.
- Improvements in public transport are essential so that it becomes viable to run new services, walking and cycling links to the new facilities are essential.
- A consolidated, conspicuous and viable town centre is needed, offering a strong anchor store and other large units to attract a wider range of retailers.
- Phasing of housing and commercial and retail floorspace needs to be carefully co-ordinated.
- Initial phases of all new development will need to be of high quality in order to set a precedent for future development.
- On-going, co-ordinated and pro-active marketing of site availability will be key to raising the profile and attractiveness of the town to the market and the development opportunities it affords.
6.35 Housing development at Whitehill/Bordon in the past has not been accompanied by the necessary infrastructure. Future development must be phased to ensure that infrastructure and services are in place before the start of the next phase.
- Surface water runoff from new development must match or improve the existing situation on site.
- A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment has been done. A strategic flood risk assessment has been carried out for the district. This development proposal lies between two valleys of the River Wey and the River Slea. However development is planned for the top of the hill between these two valleys on Flood Zone 1 land (The land with the minimum of risk.) A further local flood risk assessment is planned once the masterplan is established.
- Appropriate sustainable urban drainage systems are envisaged to allow for moderation of run off from the development. Much of the MoD site we plan to develop on is entirely tarmac covered at the moment. The development of houses with gardens interspersed by a green network is sure to provide for a better situation than currently exists.
- There is scope to investigate the potential to manage our water supply with an inset appointment. This would allow us to consider rainwater harvesting and a dual water systems to some sections of the town. We are also keen to establish more modern methods of waste disposal including the potential to generate power from waste solids by anaerobic digestion.
- An outline water cycle study identifies sustainable methods to address water supply and quality issues on site.
WH13 PREFERRED POLICY APPROACH FOR A DELIVERY MECHANISM
It is the Council’s preferred approach to establish a robust delivery mechanism or special purpose vehicle to manage the development. It will be clearly controlled by the Whitehill/Bordon Development Trust but will listen and respond to the market and the public.
We need to ensure that we can achieve least environmental impact. In order to achieve this we will need to monitor such items as carbon footprint and modal shift through to 2050. Thus the delivery company will also need to spawn a legacy company which will oversee the environmental ethos as well as manage the infrastructure.
We recognise that an Eco-town may require higher levels of management and that the important landscape features will require higher levels of maintenance than in other parts of the district.
It is the ethos of the district council to find ways that management of council services can become self funding. We are actively considering a number of different enterprises and methodologies. We anticipate that a legacy of the Whitehill Bordon Development Trust would be an improved quality of service and management of the town.
Planning applications should be accompanied by long term governance structures for the development to ensure that:
- appropriate governance structures are in place to ensure that standards are being met, maintained and evolved to meet future needs;
- there is continued community evolvement and engagement to develop social capital;
- future development continues to meet the eco-town standards;
- Community assets are maintained.
As regards the delivery of infrastructure, it must be accepted that some individual developments may not be able to deliver the infrastructure, including the full range of facilities, but should be expected to make either appropriate contributions towards infrastructure delivery or make provision in accordance with an agreed delivery mechanism.