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Local Talkback
Talkback is for the residents and businesses in Liphook to voice their views and opinions about local issues and events.

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Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Nick and Tracey Hancock (23rd Dec 2003  21:13:03)

There is a proposal to change the draft local development plan to allow the construction of fifteen acres of housing and five acres for “educational use” on the south side of Longmoor Road. We believe that this proposal is wrong in principle because:

1 It is important to the rural character of the village that there should be open fields visible from the approaches to the village centre

2 The land has been designated as part of the proposed National Park - any attempt to develop the land before the park is established must be seen as an underhand attempt to steal a march on it

3 It would be particularly unfair to the residents of Longmoor Road to change a long established planning policy with regard to this land. The supporters of the new proposal seem to have made no attempt to consider the effect on views from the north side of Longmoor Road

4 The development is quite unsuitable even having regard to existing levels of traffic on Longmoor Road, let alone the increases which would result - particularly if new schools were built

5 There seems to have been no attempt to ask the existing schools whether there is a need for new land. If new school places are needed, should they be on Longmoor Road or elsewhere in the village, perhaps nearer to where other new houses have been built?

The Parish Council plans to decide its approach in advance of a meeting of East Hampshire District Council to be held on 9th January – but it will only oppose the change if it hears from residents. The last date for written comments is 5th January yet the Parish Office, where the plans are on display, is closed from 1 p.m. tomorrow until then! So far as we are aware, the proposal has had only two mentions in the local press.

If you are as concerned about the proposal as we are, PLEASE write to the Parish Council before 5th January and ask them to allow more time for consultation. Please also write to East Hampshire District Council. The Parish Council will not oppose the proposed change unless it hears from local residents.

Nick and Tracey Hancock

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Freddie Dawkins (26th Dec 2003  20:49:42)

....and remember you are welcome to come along to the next Parish Council Planning Committee, 8pm, Monday January 5 at the Parish Office in Midhurst Road car park.

This is a major proposal that could have an enormous effect on Liphook. The more views and ideas we can debate at this stage, the better.

The Parish Office, like many public buildings, is closed for the holiday period. But everyone is welcome to go to the office during the day (from 10am) on January 5 and take a look at the documents which have been deposited.

Freddie Dawkins
Parish Councillor

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Mike Grimes (28th Dec 2003  02:25:22)

I feel that the views expressed by Nick & Tracey Hancock may be just a tad nimby and some stated facts may be open to question. I am not necessarily in favour of the development but I would prefer that any argument against it were factually correct. Taking the points sequentially :

1) It is important to the rural character of the village that there should be open fields visible from the approaches to the village centre.

Devil's Advocate) There happens to be open fields on one side of this approach to the village centre but not on other approaches (e.g Haslemere Road) Why is Longmore Road so important?

2) The land has been designated as part of the proposed National Park - any attempt to develop the land before the park is established must be seen as an underhand attempt to steal a march on it.

Devil's Advocate) I thought that Liphook lay just to the north of the proposed park and that Longmore Road is out of it.

3) It would be particularly unfair to the residents of Longmoor Road to change a long established planning policy with regard to this land. The supporters of the new proposal seem to have made no attempt to consider the effect on views from the north side of Longmoor Road.

Devil's Advocate) Has there been long established planning policy for this land or has it just not been tested? I am also sure that any developer will be forced to consider the effect on views (screening etc.)

4) The development is quite unsuitable even having regard to existing levels of traffic on Longmoor Road, let alone the increases which would result - particularly if new schools were built.

Devil's Advocate) Longmore road probably needs improving as it is an unsatisfactory route out of the village south to the A3 (the signs even direct you north on the London Road to Portsmouth). This may be an opportunity to get the access improved.

5) There seems to have been no attempt to ask the existing schools whether there is a need for new land. If new school places are needed, should they be on Longmoor Road or elsewhere in the village, perhaps nearer to where other new houses have been built?

Devil's Advocate) The schools are full so there probably is a case for enlargement (the Infant school is squeezing another classroom in this year) but land probably isn't the main issue; access to the schools is. Ask any resident of Avenue Close or parts of The Avenue if they would like the schools moved to the Longmoor Road site and they would probably assist with the move. I agree that the remaining part of the OSU site might be an ideal place for a school but the owners of that site are currently putting four alternate proposals up for consideration, none of which include schooling.

All that said, why should every man and his dog have a say in this? We have elected able councilors to look after decisions like this, they have processes to allow solicitation of public opinion and presumably they will take some account of it (Central government knows, in advance, what public opinion will be and has no need to confirm it. )

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Nick & Tracey Hancock (28th Dec 2003  21:39:34)

Thanks to Mike for his comments. Our aim in starting this discussion was really to bring the proposals to other people's attention when otherwise they would not have heard about them until too late. The proposals involve some 15 acres of housing, which at current densities could mean 150 homes. This would be a major development for the whole village and we feel that people should have a chance to comment on it. If that makes us nimbies then so be it!

The Parish Council has told us that it will not make any comment to EHDC about the proposals unless it hears from people in Liphook - this is their "process to allow solicitation of public opinion", so if you have something to say then this is your chance to say it!

We do need to comment on a couple of specific points made by Mike. Using the same numbering as before:

2 - the National Park: so far as we can tell, Longmoor Road is the proposed northern boundary and the land under discussion is within the proposed park. The proposal documents acknowledge this.

3 - planning policy: we checked the planning history of this land about four years ago. It was designated for agricultural use and all applications to develop it had been refused.

The proposal documents consider the effect on views, but mainly from the south. So far as the houses on the north of Longmoor Road are concerned, the documents simply explicity assume that they have no views - which is quite simply wrong.

Nick and Tracey Hancock

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Mike Grimes (30th Dec 2003  01:39:51)

Thanks for the reply, I was merely trying to create a two sided debate instead of the usual one sided whinge.

I am happy to concede that the Longmoor Road forms the northern boundary of the proposed national park and I assume your research was correct as to previous planning applications.

I happen to believe that it ought to be possible for everybody to be able to buy somewhere to live near to where they work or where they would like to live, if they want to.

I believe that this is not always possible in the south east because there is migration into this area, both from overseas and from other UK regions without there being sufficient housing stock built to accomodate this migration.

One reason for this is the perpetual reluctance of local communities and their elected representatives to allow developments to take place at the required rate.

I am not saying this is is a good proposal, I just do not like the attitude that every proposal is a bad one.

I also despise the, now standard, requirement that developers should be required to allocate part of the development to 'affordable housing'. For that read sub-standard housing. The price of housing is market driven therefore the price is governed by the number of units available so my argument goes - build enough 'nice' housing to meet demand and (according to the laws of supply and demand) it becomes affordable. Then everybody gets a nice dwelling that is not labelled 'Social Housing'.

Back to the 'designated agricultural use' issue. Much as I would prefer cheaper food to CAP, we seem to be stuck with the latter and the millions of acres (sorry hectares) of set aside land that this subsidises. Yes I pay loads of tax to pay a farmer to do hmm, nothing. Whilst I know people who may never be able to buy a home (due to shortage of development land) - and they pay tax (some of which subsidises this useless land)

In summary, building a number of houses near you may diminish your perception of quality of life but it may play a part in increasing the quality of life of millions.

PS

One observation about the specific proposal for Longmoor road. The land 'allocated' for educational use is obviously a sop. The final permission (if appropriate) should only be given if the developer actually builds the schools as well as, this seems to be the only way that state schools get built these days.




Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Freddie Dawkins (30th Dec 2003  11:41:33)

Mike -

Like your two-sided debate approach. I tend to play Devil's Advocate when I can too.

One part of this whole ? - what would happen to the existing school buildings and the playing fields?

I really would like to encourage everyone to come along to the Planning Committee meeting on January 5 at 8pm. It's totally transparent, everyone gets a chance to put their views and the Parish Councillors do listen. In fact, on something as major as this proposal, I know that all 12 of us will have been taking soundings from Parishoners.

Remember too that we'll have District Councillors attending and probably our County Councillor. So this is a first opportunity to make comments and really start the debate with the elected representatives.

The good thing about the proposal is that it is very detailed. The documents submitted by the developer are all in the Parish office for examintaion before the meeting.

And Happy New Year!

Freddie

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Eneida Nelson (1st Jan 2004  11:15:21)

Poor old Longmoor Road ! I was sad to learn about the proposed development on the fields. With 150 houses there plus the proposed developments on the other side behind Nos. 98-102 (19 houses) and Nos. 20-22 (12 houses) assuming the worst scenario of 2 cars per household, that would mean an extra 362 cars living on the road plus the added school traffic.

I suspect that is only the start, with Liphook just outside the proposed National Park and the A3 tunnel making commuting easier, the developers will be buzzing around like the proverbial flies.

I remember Milton Keynes when it was just a pretty village with a few houses around the church...look at it now (better not). At least Mr. Grimes will be happy, it will no doubt, improve the lives of hundreds of migrants,
if not ours.

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Mike Grimes (2nd Jan 2004  00:52:23)

I'm glad Eneida mentioned Milton Keynes because I agree the 'New Town' concept was flawed in that you cannot create a community overnight, it must grow 'organically' to knit the community together and provide the correct infastructure based on need rather than a topographic view as to what it ought to have. For instance, building 2000 houses in the middle of nowhere and building them a Tesco, a church and (more likely) a community centre is not going to create a community (Christian or otherwise).

It is widely recognised that there is a severe housing shortage in the south east and in an effort to relieve this it is proposed to build something like 200,000 homes in the M11 Corridor (including Stansted Mountfitchet - a pleasant village similar to Liphook) and at 'Thames Gateway' which, as I understand it, is around a big quarry with a shopping center in it.

It would be much better for society as a whole, and Stansted Mountfitchet in particular, if these houses were built in small clusters across the south east rather than in two massive developments.

I'm not asking you to feel sorry for Stansted Mountfitchet, even though this village's local airport is about to get a second runway, but what if these 200,000 homes had been assigned to the A3 corridor? It wouldn't just be poor Longmoor road then.

Anyway, there is a planning meeting on the 5th January at the parish council offices which will discuss this particular proposal (and not Stansted Mounfitchet).

But, one further thing, if these homes get built that will not make me happy. For Liphook (and most other places) to accept that organic growth is necessary - that would make me happy.

Happy new year.

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Steve Jenkins (4th Jan 2004  11:22:37)

As a Longmoor Rd resident (in fact, Nick & Tracey Hancock's neighbour) I'd just like to throw in a few, hopefully pertinent points.

1. Given that the new National Park inquiry has only just started and the outcome will not be known until at least July 2004, why waste administrative time and effort revising existing plans which may be over-ridden when the new National Park boundaries are established ?

2. In the words of the Chairman of the South Downs National Park Inquiry " The South Downs is a very special place. It is worthy of designation because of its natural beauty and the opportunities it provides for open air recreation. It is especially desirable to designate it for the achievement of National Park purposes. And when I say “special” it means special. There have been only two proposals in the last 50 years for new National Parks – the New Forest and now the South Downs. I have been involved in them both. It is easy to underestimate the significance attached to such status. "

Surely this carries weight with our local parish councillors (none of whom appear to have actively solicited any opionions on this proposed revision along Longmoor Road). The FIRST NATIONAL PARK PROPOSAL FOR 50 YEARS...and someone, somewhere wants to squirrel away 20 acres ...hhmm, gets me thinking...

3. Why introduce such a radical revision at the last minute...who introduced it and who will it benefit ?

4. An extract from the EHDC Local Plan states "After the First Deposit Plan was prepared, the Government published PPG3 - Housing (March 2000) which aims to promote sustainable patterns of development and to maximise the use of previously developed land. Local planning authorities are advised to assess the capacity of urban areas (settlements with policy boundaries) in order to accommodate more housing. It encourages higher density housing development where sites have good access to local facilities although it recognises that good design is crucial to creating attractive, high quality living environments. Plans should adopt a sequential approach to the allocation of land for housing development. This Plan has been revised to take account of the guidance in PPG3."

Lets look at this.

(a) maximise use of previously developed land - (OSU site falls neatly into this category and was a sensible place for development. The question now is whether that amount of new development already absorbed by Liphook has pushed local facilities (schools, transport) to its limit. I would argue that it has. Addressing the point of improving Longmoor Road which was made earlier in this electronic exchange of views, this flies in the face of stated National Transport policy as regards new road building and the desire to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads.

(b) good access to local facilities - Schools, shops and roads are all seemingly at their limit. Just go to Sainsburys at peak time, experience Liphook gridlock twice a day in The Square and all approaching roads and tell me that the village needs hundreds more vehicle journeys. Short of building a by-pass of The Square, the village is wholly unsuitable for further increases in planned traffic flows. Don't forget that planning guidlinnes actually encourage HIGHER DENSITY housing, giving rise to higher traffic flow projections than in the past.

Overall, my opinion (nimby or not) is that a settlement with the physical structure and layout of Liphook has recently been developed to its practical limit (through the OSU development) and that any further housing development, if any, should be on already developed land. This is consistent with the primary strategies of National, regional and local government planning authorities.

Interesting too that district and perhaps even a county councillor will be at the Parish Council meeting tomorrow..is this just coincidence...hhhmmmm ???

Re: Development plans - Longmoor Road
- Freddie |Dawkins (6th Jan 2004  11:16:50)

Steve -

I was making the point that precisely BECAUSE this was such an important application, all the elected councillors who could make the meeting would.

I had to miss last night's planning meeting because I'm laid up with a nasty flu bug and have been for 3 days. But I'm sure some of the people here will have attended and will tell us what was discussed.

On a personal note: I've lived in Liphook for almost 11 years now and always thought that Sainsbury's would not be a good development for what was still then a village. The originally planned option of a relief road off Haslemere Road, should have been followed through.

The Sainsbury's traffic survey was proved to be lacking some time ago - but by then it was all too late.

Sainsbury's and the housing developers should not have been allowed to cut that piece of land out and build on it.

We've lost the fish/game shop, the greengrocers, and I think the bakery has struggled at times. Alldays went last year and the Co-op, although it's a useful shop, is not the best place for the Post Office.

With central government insisting that housing density should rise, I'm afraid it's going to get harder and harder to maintain any real control on development in Liphook.

Freddie Dawkins
Parish Councillor

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