CANDIDATES in next month’s local elections have been explaining where they stand on the hot topic of housing development.
Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have all published their stance, after being quizzed by campaign group We Heart Hart.
Voting day is May 5, from 7am to 10pm, and it’s the voters’ chance to elect their parish councillor and their representative on Hart District Council, as well as the police and crime commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Here’s how some of the district contenders stand on the burning issue of new building, and specifically – proposals for a new town at Winchfield.
For the Conservatives, John Kennett, standing in Odiham, responded to the campaign group, saying: “My answers to your questions are that on the basis of information currently before us I am not convinced that a new town is necessary at Winchfield.
“In fact it has been rendered even less necessary by the very welcome bringing forward of the 135 acre brownfield site at Pyestock, or Hartland as we should now call it.”
For Labour, the candidate for Hartley Wintney, Ieuan Williams, wrote: “Due to this national under-development, central government has given Hart a fairly high building target to reach by 2032, of around 7,500 homes.
“Somewhere in the region of 3,500 homes have been granted planning permission, some of which being on brownfield sites. These developments are simply extensions to our existing towns and villages, but crucially don’t come with any money to pay for improvement to our infrastructure, be it our schools or surgeries.”
We Heart Hart highlighted that there is a target of 7,500 homes up to 2032, and said Mr Williams was inaccurate in stating that 4,000 homes are yet to be granted planning permission for Hart’s local plan. Hart’s own recent assessment gave 2,500 as the figure.
In the comments section, Williams said: “We are not necessarily in favour of Pyestock, as we would rather Winchfield happen, therefore fulfilling our building requirement in one go.”
The Liberal Democrat candidate for Hartley Wintney, Alan Woolford, produced a newsletter, condemning a new town in Winchfield, and slamming Hart District Council as ‘shambolic’. The Lib Dems highlighted that plans for a new town with one B-road running through it, was completely non-viable.
It looks as if the new town will be a loser, whoever wins on May 5.