East Hampshire District Council has published its pre-submission “Local Plan”: Joint Core Strategy for a period of consultation ending on 16 March 2012.

The main feature of East Hampshire’s plans for the future is the development of an “Eco Town” at Whitehill-Bordon just outside the new South Downs National Park. This is one of the few remnants of the previous Government’s Eco towns initiative. This proposal however is not a completely new town, as these were originally conceived, but rather a consolidation of these rather dispersed settlements with a stronger town centre and some 4000 new homes all built to high “eco” standards. The document sets out many requirements for this development.

The Whitehill-Bordon development conveniently takes the vast majority of the District’s housing allocations to 2026 leaving just 330 to be allocated in Petersfield, 200 in Alton and 200 in Horndean. These other sites will be identified in later documents. One has to question whether such a skewed approach will enable the housing local needs to be adequately met in this large dispersed District.

The Core Strategy proposes a zero- threshold for affordable housing contributions – i.e. every new dwelling has to contribute. The contribution sought is 40% which should be onsite for developments of 5 or more. It also proposes to require increasing Code for Sustainable Homes levels through the years as well as 10% of energy from renewable or low carbon sources.

As ever Pure Town Planning are happy to advise on the implications of draft policies and if necessary make representations on your behalf – call us to find out if we can help.