East Hampshire District Local Plan: Joint Core Strategy
3. Spatial vision and objectives
3.1 The spatial vision is a brief description of how East Hampshire, will change. The Joint Core Strategy must contain a spatial vision of what the District should be like by 2026. The research undertaken for the Sustainable Community Strategy and the Joint Core Strategy helped to identify a list of the things that matter most to the quality of life of people in East Hampshire. Using this list, and taking into account all the issues and challenges set out earlier, the Council and the National Park Authority have produced an overall spatial vision for the Core Strategy.
Over the next 20 years East Hampshire will experience major changes that are unique to the district. The new South Downs National Park, covering 57% of the district, including Petersfield, will ensure that the natural beauty, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area is conserved and enhanced. It will also offer potential opportunities in terms of recreation and tourism related activities.
Just beyond the National Park plans for an Eco-town at Whitehill Bordon including 4,000 new homes and 5,500 new jobs will be in place. The regeneration of the town will include a new town centre, new businesses, community facilities, improvements to public transport, new open spaces and an increase in biodiversity to enable more sustainable living.
In the north Alton's market town role will be strengthened with more housing, retailing and improved facilities.
The three southern parishes will be influenced by the proposed regeneration and economic growth in the South Hampshire sub-region centred on Portsmouth and Southampton.
These four distinct areas of the District will be carefully managed to achieve sustainable communities within a high quality natural and built environment. The district’s rich biodiversity and diverse countryside and landscape will be conserved and enhanced. Within this context local people will be able to live in affordable homes. The rural nature of the district suggests there will be continued reliance on the car; a key aim will therefore be to create sustainable working and living environments.
3.2 Sustainable communities in East Hampshire will balance the Social, Economic and Environmental needs of the area. The following section sets out the detailed issues and objectives that the Joint Core Strategy policies, together with the work of colleagues throughout the Council and other partners will seek to deliver to create sustainable communities.
3.3 Joint Core Strategy objectives have been developed to underpin the implementation of the East Hampshire spatial vision. They take into account the vision, key issues in the District, national and regional planning guidance, the Sustainable Community Strategy, the Council Strategy, other Council strategies and responses to the Issues and Options and Preferred Policies consultations.
Sustainable Economic Development
To maintain a sustainable, buoyant local economy designed to provide jobs to meet residents needs and improve the quality of life in East Hampshire, but always within the constraints of the local environment;
To plan for the District’s town and village centres to provide a range of facilities and services that meet the needs of local communities;
To maximise the value of sustainable tourism while minimising environmental impacts and acknowledging that within the National Park tourism will be subordinate to the protection of the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area.
3.4 The District’s economy will meet the employment needs of both residents and businesses of East Hampshire. A wider base of employment types will increase the availability and choice of modern business premises, allowing new smaller businesses to set up providing opportunities for better paid jobs for local residents. This will help to address the mismatch that exists between employment opportunities and the skills of the workforce.
3.5 There will be improved infrastructure and local services for businesses and their employees, allowing local businesses to thrive with better employment prospects for local people. As a result fewer residents will need to work outside the District. This will be achieved in ways that complement and enhance the special qualities of the District’s environment, particularly the National Park, and without putting unacceptable pressures on the local housing market.
3.5 Economic development will build on the strengths of the District with Alton, Petersfield, Horndean and Whitehill Bordon providing the main bases for industrial development. Alton, Petersfield and Whitehill Bordon, along with a number of smaller centres will provide the focus for retail and service based employment. These centres will be reinforced to strengthen these sectors, particularly at Whitehill Bordon. The National Park and rural areas will be fulfilling their potential for sustainable rural businesses.
3.6 There will be new educational opportunities to meet the challenges faced in skills deprivation, leading to an increase in the number of qualified people. Young people, the disadvantaged, women and others returning to work will find training, apprenticeships and employment, while more part-time work will be identified for the elderly.
3.7 The main towns and villages will remain the focus for tourism and recreation facilities. In the countryside any tourism or recreation development will be sustainable, small scale and done sensitively to protect the character of the landscape and provide opportunities for its enhancement, especially that of the South Downs National Park and areas around the international wildlife sites. Opportunities will be taken for suitable diversification within the National Park.
To plan for sufficient land to be available for 5,720 homes to be built in the District in the period 2006-2028 (4,400 in the SDNP and north of the SDNP and 1,320 in the Southern Parishes). Within the National Park development should be focused on local needs. Up to 4,000 additional housing will be built at Whitehill Bordon subject to environmental constraints;
To make the most efficient use of land and the existing housing stock so that everyone has the opportunity to live in a decent, sustainably constructed and affordable home, which is capable of being adapted to changing personal needs;
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 design to reflect town and village design statements and the characteristics of individual settlements;
To provide the opportunities for a high quality of life for everyone, enhance the well-being of people and reduce inequalities in health;
To improve access to all facilities and services particularly in rural areas;
To promote opportunities for vocational training;
To design development that reduces the opportunities for crime and the fear of crime;
To provide and retain a range of high quality open space, sport and recreation facilities;
To actively encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices including opportunities to increase the level of physical activity and participation in sports and recreation;
To promote multi-functional and cost effective green infrastructure in urban and rural areas including closer working with rural enterprises, farming and forestry.
3.8 A range of housing types, tenures and sizes, both open market and affordable, will be available for local people. Opportunities for local people to find affordable living accommodation will be maximised, although it has to be recognised that this is also an area where people from outside the District want to live and work. The emphasis, however, will be helping to reduce the migration of young people and families away from the District.
3.9 Within the South Downs National Park housing provision will be restricted to that needed to serve its communities.
3.10 The provision around the District of sheltered housing, 'extra care' housing and nursing homes will reflect the increasing number of elderly residents. Existing homes will be adapted to older people’s needs enabling them to be able to retain their independence for longer.
3.11 Different people, irrespective of age, disability or where they live, will have opportunities to take part in leisure activities by having access to open space, sport, recreation and cultural activities. Links between villages and towns into the countryside will also be strengthened. People will have the opportunity to lead a long and healthy life with little variation in the health of residents across the District. New housing provision should also include accommodation that will encourage elderly people to downsize.
3.12 Development will help to encourage young people to stay in the District through measures to encourage entry into vocational jobs or apprenticeships.
3.13 Low levels of crime and antisocial behaviour will make East Hampshire a very safe place and most people will feel safe going out after dark, including younger and older people.
Natural and Built Environment
To make best use of land in sustainable settlements to minimise the impact of development upon the countryside;
To ensure that any decisions or activities relating to land within, or affecting the setting of, the South Downs National Park meet the relevant National Park purposes as set out in statute;
To conserve and enhance landscape quality, distinctiveness and character in the wider landscape;
To conserve and enhance designated sites and natural habitats whist creating networks of habitats and wildlife corridors to encourage adaptation to climate change;
To conserve and enhance the District’s attractive built and historic environment, including heritage sites, conservation areas, listed buildings and important open areas;
To plan for new development to be built to a high quality that promotes the use of sustainable resources in developments, in particular to minimise waste, increase energy efficiency and resilience to increasing energy costs in new and existing developments and to maximise the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources;
To protect and enhance water quality, water supply, groundwater and minimise the risk of flooding in the District;
To prevent development resulting in unacceptable levels of air, noise, land, light or other pollution and to ensure that new development is adequately protected against such pollution;
To address the causes of climate change and ensure that the District is able to adapt to it within environmental constraints.
3.14 Central to the Joint Core Strategy is the need to provide protection to the built and natural environment, in particular the internationally and nationally protected wildlife habitats, and to ensure that the beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the South Downs National Park are conserved and enhanced.
3.15 Development within the South Downs National Park will be focused on that needed for the economic and social wellbeing of the National Park’s communities, including housing for local needs. Proposals for major development will be subject to rigorous examination and will only be favourably considered if they do not conflict with the purposes of the National Park and comply with all the requirements within national planning policy. The National Park will also be protected from cumulative small scale changes, or development affecting its setting, that could harm its special qualities.
3.16 New development will protect and where possible enhance biodiversity by considering, in particular, the impact of any change on the designated sites but also the many other sites which are of local value for wildlife.
3.17 New areas for informal recreation will be provided as alternatives to the heathland sites which are part of the internationally designated Special Protection Area (SPA) in the north eastern area of the District. The rare species of bird on this particularly important heathland will be protected from the recreational pressure from residents of any new housing in the Whitehill/Bordon, Liphook, Liss, Headley and Grayshott areas.
3.18 Wildlife sites will be extended and linked to create large, functional areas or networks which will allow wildlife to flourish and adapt to the threat of climate change. Developers will be expected to incorporate appropriate landscaping and also enhance links between existing habitats, including the enhancement of wildlife corridors and the restoration of key lost habitats such as heathland and water meadows.
3.19 Community and Parish landscape character assessments will be used to protect the important characteristics for each landscape type in the District.
3.20 The gaps which separate towns and villages and contribute to their character and identity will be protected.
3.21 New development will be high quality and imaginative in design and will also complement and enhance the historic environment, which will be protected to retain the distinctiveness of the towns and villages. The design and layout of new development will have a positive impact upon the character of the area creating a distinctive identity or sense of place while respecting and enhancing local character. This will help to create attractive places that are valued by local people.
3.22 Measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change will be in place. Development will avoid areas of flood risk and will not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere where practical these risks will be reduced. Development will avoid areas within Groundwater Source Protection Zones where there may be a risk to the quality of the groundwater source or a risk to its ability to maintain a public water supply. The quality and quantity of water in rivers and other watercourses will be protected and enhanced where possible. More efficient use will be made of water resources.
3.23 New technologies will help to reduce carbon emissions from new and existing development. New buildings will perform well in energy and water efficiency and renewable energy generation and other sustainable factors, such as materials, recycling facilities, cycle spaces, home offices, waste and ecology.
Transport and access
To reduce the need to travel, particularly by car, through careful planning of development and the location of services, whilst recognising that the car will remain part of the mix of transport modes, particularly for those in the rural areas;
To improve accessibility to all services, particularly for those who may need them most, but are least able to access them;
To increase the use of public and community transport, cycling and walking where travel remains necessary.
3.24 Access to facilities in more rural areas will be improved, within financial limitations, particularly in evenings and at weekends, through better community transport, more flexible and more frequent taxi-bus services and other services that respond to demand. Non-transport improvements will include increased provision of services directly to residents, for example more local outpatient/testing clinics.
3.25 New development will be integrated with transport networks which will be more joined-up to provide more sustainable transport choices for commuting and recreation and to encourage sustainable tourism. Whitehill Bordon will have particularly high standards of sustainable travel through an integrated package of transport measures. Overall, congestion and pollution will be minimised and tranquillity will be improved.
3.26 Development resulting in a lot of new journeys will be located near existing centres to reduce the need to travel and increase the scope for shared and multi-purpose trips. New development ‘travel plans’ will encourage the use of public transport services and provide facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
3.27. The level of parking provided with new housing will vary to reflect expected car ownership, accessibility to facilities and availability of public transport. This will help to alleviate on-street parking problems.
Whitehill Bordon Strategic Allocation
The Eco-town Vision
3.28 The vision for the Whitehill Bordon Eco-town will put the outstanding natural environment at the heart of the regeneration.
3.29 The ‘Eco-town Vision’11 means that new facilities, leisure opportunities, jobs, education, infrastructure and housing will be provided to enhance this unique area and create a model sustainable community that is recognised locally, regionally and nationally.
3.30 The Vision is to:
create an attractive town where people want to live, work, shop and play with excellent facilities, leisure opportunities, jobs, training opportunities and a balanced mix of housing.
regenerate and improve the built environment in the town so that it complements the superb surrounding landscape, whilst protecting the town’s heritage.
use innovative, modern, environmentally-friendly design, incorporating eco homes and modern methods of construction.
ensure that the town is regenerated in a way that encourages and enables us to live and work in ways that does not damage the natural resources upon which our society and economy depends.
encourage ‘One Planet’ living (living within the planet’s means) and encourage local food production and ‘grow your own’.
create a town centre that is pedestrian friendly and is well-connected to residential, employment and leisure areas.
ensure there is accessible green space and attractive town squares.
encourage investment by businesses and industries and will particularly seek out those that share our vision of a sustainable, prosperous, environmentally-friendly community.
enhance and promote public transport so that it is easier to travel around the town and to other towns and cities.
create a town where regeneration and ongoing management is designed with people and nature as our priority.
Objectives for Whitehill Bordon
3.31 Joint Core Strategy objectives have been developed to underpin the strategy that will enable East Hampshire to realise its overall spatial vision and deliver the Green Town Vision for Whitehill Bordon:
WB1 To encourage investment by those businesses and industries which share the vision of a sustainable, environmentally-friendly community and particularly those within local grown markets;
WB2 To improve the image and competitiveness of the town by encouraging the development of sustainable schemes to create a low carbon community;
WB3 To provide an attractive and thriving town centre with a mix of uses including community facilities;
WB4 To increase local jobs, minimising the need to travel outside the town to work and supporting walking, cycling and public transport over the car;
WB5 To provide access to new higher education and training facilities and to improve the quality, standards and facilities of schools throughout the community;
WB6 To encourage provision of a wide mix of quality low carbon housing to rebalance the socio-economic profile of the town;
WB7 To rebalance the housing mix of the town to meet the needs of residents and a new workforce;
WB8 To improve access to services and facilities within the wider area, particularly the hinterland villages and invest in public transport and improved cycle/pedestrian links;
WB9 To continue to investigate the potential for a rail link from Whitehill Bordon to the rail network;
WB10 To protect and enhance the landscape setting of the town including the extensive areas of land with landscape and environmental designations of international, national and local importance;
WB11 To avoid and mitigate against any potential impacts on the integrity of the designated sites nearby (see WB10);
WB12 To provide areas of green infrastructure, and networks or corridors of natural habitat throughout the town for people and wildlife;
WB13 To ensure that development takes place within the environmental capacity of the town and of the surrounding countryside, especially the rural roads and the sunken lanes;
WB14 To monitor and reduce the carbon footprint of the whole town by facilitating environmentally sustainable design and planning;
WB15 To create an attractive built environment with a distinctive character and to ensure that the development achieves the highest standards of sustainability and design;
WB16 To improve the sustainability and attractiveness of the existing built up area;
WB17 To achieve water neutrality in all development areas and monitor the hydrological and hydro-geological regimes to ensure no adverse impact on the nearby European designated sites;
WB18 To deliver a net gain in biodiversity within all development by ensuring opportunities to secure biodiversity improvements are built in the design and planning process at all stages.
3.32 The Joint Core Strategy Objectives set out above provide the overall context for the policies of the Core Strategy. Each of the policies has a positive impact on one or more objective. Overall the Joint Core Strategy must be read as a whole. All of the policies of the Joint Core Strategy contribute to establishing the mechanisms for all the Joint Core Strategy Objectives to be met during the plan period.
3. 33 The Council and National Park Authority working with other partners will plan to create sustainable communities within the District so that by 2026, East Hampshire will provide an environment in which people with a direct interest in its future – residents, businesses, workers and visitors - can prosper. The District’s towns and larger villages will be the main focus for new development. Future development will maximise their potential but will also respect and enhance the characteristics that make them and the surrounding countryside unique.
3.34 Town and village centres will have different roles depending on their size, but they will all retain an important part in the life of their communities. They will also be at the heart of a thriving, well-connected network of smaller villages and hamlets in the countryside. These centres, many of which are steeped in history, will be protected and enhanced.
3.35 The links with the adjoining areas, including the major conurbations in South Hampshire and the Blackwater Valley, will be managed to maximise access to jobs and facilities to provide opportunities for fulfilling lives while respecting the different attributes of the different areas, and protecting the countryside, especially the South Downs National Park.
11 Eco-town Vision
Eco-town Revised Bid, Whitehill-Bordon Opportunity Eco-town, East Hampshire District Council, September 2008