Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Consultation Events Report October 2008 â€“ November 2009
Page Summary Introduction
Stage 1 - Scene Scetting and Orientation Report
Stage 2 - Masterplan Choices Report
Stage 3 - Presentation of Draft Masterplan Report
Whitehill Bordon masterplan Engaging with the Community Overview The development of a framework masterplan to guide the co-ordination of proposals for future development in Whitehill Bordon was undertaken in tandem with a series of dialogues with local community and stakeholders. The intention of the process was that both the masterplan team and community would be able to learn from each other, progressively improving their combined knowledge and understanding of the issues. Meaningful consultation with a broad cross section of the community was a key element of our brief from EHDC and the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Executive, and the method responded to this. The approach was deemed to fit – and follow from - previous consultative processes, and also to exemplify good practice Kevin Murray Associates were engaged as independent facilitators of a series of events, alongside the EHDC and the AECOM design team, at different stages of the masterplan process. This is a summary of the events, to be read in conjunction with the full Consultation Report (appendix B) which set out the details for each stage of the process. Consultation and engagement process The ‘place momentum’ approach employed by the consultant team is a progressive learning and participation process that runs in tandem with, and contributes to, the technical development of the masterplanning process. It was designed to enable people to engage in an open and collaborative way, helping participants understand the propositions and content of the proposed Eco-town, inputting constructively and without apprehension at any stage. The Masterplan consultation process aimed: To re-engage with previous consultees and introduce new ones To set up a progressive learning process for all, including the design team To provide a vehicle for communication To build awareness and confidence To take the project ‘to the people’ Engage residents and other stakeholders in the process in a creative manner Build new relationships, dialogue, aspirations and some consensus around the regeneration of the area Prior to the start of this commission East Hampshire District Council had already consulted widely with residents and stakeholders in preparation of the Green Town Vision and via the Core Strategy Issues and Options. The Opportunity Group had already set up four thematic Policy Advisory Groups (PAGs) which consisted of volunteer members including local residents, stakeholders and Councillors whose role was to report back on more detailed issues to the Opportunity Executive. The 3
consultant team attended a number of PAG meetings and specific PAG events were held as part of the consultation process.
The PAG groups are: Transport and Infrastructure – Chair Cllr Philip Drury Housing and Culture – Chair Cllr Adam Carew Biodiversity and Environment – Cllr Dr Chris Wain Economy and Town Centre – Chair Cllr Ian Dowdle A further group was set up during the process to look at active leisure and sport. This is chaired by Nigel Welch. The issue of climate change was covered by all these groups. The key stages of consultation were Stage 1 issues,
October – December 2008
November 2009 present preferred plan.
Scene setting and orientation - to input themes and opportunities for the area
Masterplan Choices -to review the emerging approaches, Big Ideas and options Presentation of the draft masterplan - to and discuss the emerging
Engagement methods To enable participation, in these various stages of the process, letters were sent to known residents and stakeholder parties, using a database that grew with the process. In addition emails were sent to those with email addresses, again growing with the process. Posters and fliers were disseminated to the local area in advance of each stage and further information was communicated to the local community through newsletters and the local press. All the information was also made available on a dedicated website set up by EHDC www.whitehillbordon.com. The events were planned and held at various times of the day and week to ensure that everyone could find a suitable time to attend and at accessible centrally located venues. Separate events were also held in the villages around to ensure that impacts outside the town could be discussed with outlying residents. There were events held early in the morning and at lunchtime for businesses and in the evenings and on Saturdays to enable greater attendance by the local community. Daytime sessions were held for officer and organisational stakeholders, again to optimise attendance. Sessions were also conducted during school lessons to allow young people to participate. In addition, postcards with a short series of questions 4
were used as a means to gauge views from those unable to attend the events (or as follow up to those attending events). Generally these events took the form of a combined presentation/discussion workshop, to enable a closer scrutiny of the plans, photos, the model, ideas and options in smaller groupings. This was usually accompanied by plenary Q&A and discussions. Site visits, allowing residents and stakeholders a rare view within the MoD estate, gave people a greater appreciation of the area. The full details, with attendance and photos, are provided in the Consultation Report.
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Scene Setting and Orientation Consultation Events Oct â€“ Dec 2008
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Issues and Orientation Consultation Events October â€“ December 2008 1. Introduction In 2008 East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) appointed a team led by EDAWAECOM, to develop a masterplan supporting the existing Green Town Vision for the twin towns of Whitehill Bordon. An integral part of that masterplan work was a community engagement process, which was undertaken by Kevin Murray Associates who were appointed as independent facilitators as part of this masterplan process, but remained separate from the actual design team. The following note summarises the proceedings of community and stakeholder workshops held over a number of days between October and December 2008 at a number of locations. Over 240 participants attended the various events, drawn from the community, local businesses, councillors and school children. Attendance at the events was as shown below based on those who signed the registration sheets.
Session (Number signed-in at events) PAG Preview (Hollywater School) (N/A) Fireworks Night Consultation (Bordon Garrison) (N/A) Stakeholders sessions (AM & PM) (Mill Chase School) (90) Business breakfast (Woodlark Inn) (26) Investorâ€™s lunch (Havannah Officers Mess) (5) Family Fun Day (Hollywater School) (103) Schools Session (Mill Chase School) (20+)
Date 29th Oct 5th Nov 6th Nov 7th Nov 7th Nov 8th Nov 11th Nov
2. Background The format of the events ranged from providing information about the forthcoming consultation and gathering views on video vox pops and the short postcard questionnaires at the Garrison Fireworks Night Display, to presentations by the design team followed by interactive workshops and discussions at the stakeholder, business breakfast, investorâ€™s lunch and school sessions. The family fun day was a drop in event with scheduled presentations. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss their concerns and ideas with members of the design team and representatives of EHDC, Hampshire County Council and the MoD. There were large maps and a model of the existing area for people to add their issues to. There was also the opportunity for people to note their issues on flipcharts which were themed and displayed around the room. Attendees were also able to complete the postcards at each of these events.
Consultation at the Bordon Garrison Fireworks Display November 2008
3. The Postcard In total, 193 completed post cards were returned to EHDC. The postcard asked people to mark, 1, 2 or 3 to signify their top three priorities for the Eco-town. There was a range of issues for them to consider including: -New high quality homes - New jobs in the town - Better public transport, footpaths and cycling routes - Low energy & water use - New community facilities and schools - A better town centre - New parks and sports facilities - Protection of wildlife and natural areas In addition the card invited people to put forward their ideas for Whitehill Bordon Eco-town.
Headline feedback There was broad enthusiasm for the Eco-town/Green Town Vision approach, particularly from local people. There was particular support for: • • • • •
the provision of better local shops and community services and facilities a strong town centre function, serving a wider catchment (with a possible preference to build around the existing square) the protection and enhancement of open space, environment and wildlife the creation of new jobs locally - using skills available already - and including specialist construction the level of confidence/profile/prestige the Green Town Vision/Eco-town approach could bring to Whitehill Bordon
However there were a number of concerns and worries which existed, mainly over the following issues: • • •
• • •
• • •
transport and traffic impacts - and the need for a good public transport system (bus, rail and tram all frequently suggested) the severance caused by the A325 the risk of a split community, a them and us between the old and the new with a lower standard of design and energy efficiency in existing neighbourhoods - and lower house values (a big worry for some) the projected housing numbers, for some this was too high and would create overly densely populated neighbourhoods the infrastructure – old and new, would this be adequate for all the new housing and facilities the impact on the (geographically) wider wildlife and environment through the development, including human impact and traffic which was stressed very strongly by many not enough local economic activity coming from the proposals, leading to an undesired commuter dormitory town function how and when will it all be delivered - given the uncertainty over when and if the MoD will actually move out? the image and branding of Whitehill Bordon. The current image is perceived to be very poor, how can this be turned around to encourage investment
Some of the concerns about the wider impact were appearing to come from residents of the wider sub-area, while those about fear of non-delivery were more locally biased - though this is not a clear-cut division. The following is a summary of some of the key issues emerging from the feedback cards and each of the consultation events. 9
The top priority for the majority of those who responded was to have a better town centre, closely followed by new parks and sports facilities. The third top priority was better public transport, footpaths and cycling routes.
However, a better town centre appeared most in the top 3 priorities of people, followed by better public transport, footpaths and cycling routes
Although once again, a better town centre and better public transport, footpaths and cycling routes were weighted the top two respectively, protection of wildlife and natural areas also scored much higher.
Other key issues and ideas emerging from the postcards were: • Improving leisure and recreation - a new sports centre, cinema, ice rink, bowling rink, etc • Improving transport links - tram link, new rail link, improve the A325 • Preservation of historic buildings, retention of military playing fields • Enthusiasm for an ‘Eco-town’ • Concern over the heathland and wildlife protection 10
Stakeholders Sessions Community, facilities, services There was a strong desire for the development to provide a holistic, connected whole town and not to create an â€˜old vs newâ€™. The fear was that the older properties would not be of as high a standard of design or energy efficiency as the new and that this would then be unfairly reflected in the market value of these properties It was noted that there were a lack of facilities for all age and interest groups in the area and so more facilities and activities, running at all times of day and during the weekends, were sought. There was little for young people to do in the area, which might explain why so many expressed a keenness to move away if the town continued to have a poor range of facilities. Phasing of the development was an important consideration, particularly to ensure that community facilities and services were provided in advance of any substantial house building to ensure that the existing services were not stretched so far that they failed to serve the community. Town centre, business, investment A strong town centre was considered necessary to improve the image of the town and to create a distinct town identity. If it was of a high enough quality with a range of shops, businesses, hotels and other services it could become a service centre for people from other areas and potentially a tourism attraction alongside the draw of the natural environment.
Stakeholder group discussing economy and community facilities and services
Transport, movement Transport issues were considered to be of paramount importance to resolve before any development was undertaken. Issues were raised about the problems of the severance caused by the road running through the centre. There was currently no rail link which makes the area inaccessible for many. Public transport would need to be improved substantially with more bus routes and more frequent services, including a regular bus service to neighbouring rail stations. Improved cycle paths and walk ways would encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport as opposed to the car. If more services, jobs and facilities were available locally this would reduce the need to travel greater distances, particularly in cars. A transport hub at Whitehill Bordon was suggested with a green infrastructure and links to the country side. Infrastructure The re-use of existing buildings, facilities, bricks and materials was encouraged to avoid waste and encourage sustainable development. The early installation of appropriate infrastructure is a must if the development is to be a success and not to cause any additional disruption to existing residents. Housing A range of house types and tenure including Lifetime Homes were supported allowing for a truly mixed community to develop in Whitehill Bordon. This should include affordable homes, homes for rent as well as the larger, private, family homes.
Stakeholders examining the model 12
Business Breakfast Management For local businesses a very real concern was how many of them would survive the loss of the MoD. Assistance would need to be provided in the form of support to help them manage the transition period. Local people should be offered small business incubator units to help get businesses started and to help them stay in the area. Transport & infrastructure Once again ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place first was of overriding importance to the business group. Transport is important for people to access jobs so the provision of a railway link was deemed to be absolutely essential. Equally, a number of businesses said that they relied on passing traffic which was critical to their businesses thriving and if roads were re-routed away from their shops then this would have an adverse affect on their business. Education, skills Currently, there is a low skills base in the area, with some companies having to bus staff in from other areas. This situation would have to be addressed by providing further education and skills courses locally to help up-skill the local community. Services, facilities In order to attract new and established businesses to the town a whole range of services and facilities would need to be provided to ensure that they could meet the needs of their clients and customers. This included a good range of hotels, health facilities and shops and restaurants were all essential for businesses to attract new customers and clients. Image For a number of the businesses the general poor external image of town was a problem. Any masterplan would need to be bold and generate transformational (but deliverable) ideas to improve others perception of the town and also to raise the confidence of those who live and work in the town now.
Representatives from local businesses in discussion
Investors Lunch Image For potential investors a positive image of place is very important, in terms of attracting and retaining, employees, clients and customers. It was important to shift the balance of the townâ€™s image away from the negative association it held (for some) as an Army town to a stronger, more positive one of a place where people choose to live, work and spend their leisure time. The â€˜Eco-townâ€™ status was considered a very useful boost which could be used to help re-brand and re-market the area. With the high level of technology available in the area, similarities were drawn to Silicon Valley. Education, skills Again, investors noted the lack of high level, appropriate skills in the area, needed to attract industry leading companies. A centre of excellence in technology or similar area of expertise could be established to encourage and build the skills base and to create a draw for market leaders. Further education institutions, such as universities would further enhance the education and skills of local people. Services, facilities For investors the lack of hotels or restaurants in the area posed a real problem and hindered the successful operation of their business. Such facilities are required for employees and clients especially if the business operates outside of the area, whether that is regionally, nationally or internationally. Without these facilities business becomes difficult and more expensive to conduct. On a more positive note, the existing natural environment was seen as a major draw especially for employees and their families offering the suggestion of a better quality of life. This was an opportunity to be exploited when planning and marketing the new town. The strong existing broadband connection was also a plus for the area and could help invite IT based companies to the town and also assist smaller businesses or those working from home.
Businesses and investors explore opportunities for Whitehill Bordon
Community Day Issues Infrastructure A key issue for the community was that the infrastructure must be in place before any development begins and that includes sewage and water. Retain the special green environment was critical as many believed that was what made Whitehill Bordon special. Providing family oriented facilities, like a leisure centre, were vital, if this was to be a mixed community with activities for all. Transport, movement A rail link was considered to be of great strategic significance if the masterplan was to be successful and make Whitehill Bordon more accessible. Locally, better cycle routes would be fundamental to improving local movement and encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of transport. The A325 should be upgraded or a bypass designed for the town to alleviate the existing transport problems which might be further exacerbated by additional traffic generated by any new development. Housing A major concern for the existing community was the number of proposed homes, which it was deemed were too much for the area. The belief was that there was not enough space on brownfield land to fit all the housing and facilities required. It was suggested the 400+ homes on the MoD site should be re-used and refurbished. A variety of housing, in terms of size, type and tenure was requested, but affordability was the greatest aspiration. There was some trepidation about how easy it would be to make the existing housing eco-friendly and a lot of worry about who would be required to pay for the ‘up-grading’.
A family taking part in the ‘Family-fun day’ consultation
Education, skills The community voiced concerns about the challenge of attracting new businesses to the area and of matching the existing skills of local workers to the needs of the employers. There were no existing training facilities up-skilling employees was a real problem. There was an identified need for a further education college to help meet the short fall in skills and educational qualifications. Services, Facilities There was a call for more community facilities, such as a cinema, restaurants and shops but also for services such as health centres including dentists, within a new town centre. A museum in the town centre that celebrated the areaâ€™s military history would help to attract visitors as well as providing a local heritage base. Environment, open spaces It was difficult, for some, to imagine how the environment could be protected and preserved if there were a potential increased footfall in the region of 15,000 people. This just indicated further damage. However, some felt that some measures could be taken to enhance the enjoyment of those who do make the most of the outdoors and the green environment. New paths and cycle ways would help as would somewhere for families with young children to go to do things like feed the ducks. Retaining the Green Lung between Bordon and Lindford was very important.
Community Consultation Day November 2008
School Session Environment, open spaces The pupils at Mill Chase agreed with much of the wider communityâ€™s views and thought it very important to protect and retain the strong green environment of the area. Transport, movement More and improved walking and cycling routes were a top priority for the young people, who also stated that they would prefer the town centre to be pedestrianised to make it more attractive and safer. They also talked about the importance of a good quality public transport system, which was regular, clean and safe to use. A sense of safety, particularly on public transport, was a very important consideration for the young people, not just for themselves but also for others, especially the elderly. Town centre The students agreed that the Prince Philip Barracks was the best location for a new town centre. Services, facilities A museum, theatre, green-art were suggested as must haves for the new development. Good design of buildings and spaces was imperative ensuring people felt safe when using them. Family oriented leisure was essential. Infrastructure The role of wind, water and solar power was central to the development of an Ecotown and must be tested.
Pupils at Mill Chase setting out their ideas and issues
The design team would take away all the comments and feedback for consideration when developing options and possible scenarios for the masterplan. These would then be reviewed at the next, choices stage of consultation in April 2009. As a result of this next stage of consultation the team would then refine the masterplan and this would be presented in November 2009 as the emerging draft masterplan.
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Masterplan Choices Stage April 2009 Part 1: Consultation Event Feedback Report
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Masterplan Choices Stage, April 2009 Part 1: Consultation Event Feedback Report Introduction East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) appointed a team led by EDAW-AECOM in 2008, to develop a masterplan supporting the Green Town Vision for the towns of Whitehill and Bordon. As an integral part of that masterplan work a community engagement process was undertaken. Kevin Murray Associates were appointed as independent facilitators as part of this masterplan process, but remained separate from the actual design team. The aim of this engagement was to build upon previous public consultation that had been undertaken by East Hampshire District Council and the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Group, since 2004. In parallel with the masterplan process, and to assist those who may be affected, EHDC kept the public informed about the issues and the consultation events. This has included regular newsletters, advertisements, press releases, a website, posters, telephone help-line and street level events. Coverage of the issues has also been extensive in the local media. Engagement process A sequence of engagement events has formed part of the key stages of the overall Masterplan process, as follows: Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
November 2008 April 2009 November 2009
Masterplan Issues Masterplan Options Emerging Masterplan
This report relates to Stage 2, around midway, termed the Masterplan Options events. Part 1 of the report covers the consultation events, while Part 2 covers the masterplan questionnaire. Other consultation events have occurred mainly relating to the Habitats Regulations Assessment, a separate process that is not covered in this document. The consultation method sought to engage with a diverse set of groups, agencies, communities and individuals to enable an appreciation of the issues, and build creative dialogue about direction and potential solutions. It is a shared learning approach that builds upon the earlier work of the Green Town Vision and the Planning Advisory Groups (PAGs). The method is progressive, with each engagement stage designed to fit with the tasks of the masterplan process. Within the engagement events the team sought to
Broaden the spectrum of consultation beyond those who normally attend public meetings. Therefore diverse events were arranged for different groups and wider sectors of the community.
Enable involvement in detailed discussions about the issues and choices available, in order that those people who had the time could make informed choices and communicate them to the masterplan team.
In this sense the engagement at this stage was purposely intensive to inform the masterplan evolution in what is an interim stage in the overall process. The events An initial series of events was held in late 2008. Then, between 1st – 4th April 2009, a number of workshops, drop-in sessions and exhibitions were held as part of the Masterplan Choices stage. The earlier events held in October, November and December 2008 raised issues, concerns and opportunities which in turn have informed the brief for the design team and the development. These 2008 events included the following: -
PAG preview session Fireworks Night consultation event Stakeholder & Agency workshop sessions Business breakfast session Investors lunch Family fun day Young people’s session
This report provides a summary record of the feedback received at the events held from 1st – 4th April 2009. It is made up of notes, images and feedback taken directly from the following sessions:
A B C D E F G H
Session (Number signed-in at events) Parish Event A, Kingsley Centre, Kingsley (24) Stakeholder and Agency Session (AM), Forest Community Centre (70) Stakeholder and Agency Session (PM), Hollywater School (29) Parish Event B – Old Thorns Hotel, Liphook (21) Young People’s Session, Mill Chase School (19) ‘Over 60’s’ Jubilee Club, Whitehill Community Centre (14) Representatives of Faith Groups, St Mark’s Church (5) Family Day, Forest Community and Shopping Centres (121)
Date 1st April 2nd April 2nd April 2nd April 3rd April 3rd April 3rd April 4th April
In total, over 300 people registered (signed in and left details) at the various events. There were many more that visited the exhibition which took place in the Forest Shopping Centre. Some 150 people responded to the detailed questionnaire, the analysis of which is provided as a Part 2 companion of this report. This provides a helpful sample of 21
those who were able to learn more about the proposals and choices from the various engagement events. It does not seek to represent a full community survey at this stage and it is acknowledged that its length may have impacted upon the response level.
Headlines This report captures the feedback, comments and questions taken directly from the various workshop sessions held during the April 2009 ‘Masterplan Choices’ events. This part does not include the analysis or feedback from the questionnaires which were completed and returned separately, often much later. The questionnaire responses form a separate element (the Part 2 report). In brief, this report highlights the issues and concerns people expressed at the Options stage. The questionnaire responses demonstrated a fair measure of support (some 46% of the respondents considered the emerging proposals addressed the issues of the community and business, while some 27% felt they did not). Although there is clearly a strong measure of support for something positive to happen, there are also fears and concerns from different directions. For instance, it is clear that more discussion was around the issues people were concerned with, or objected to, than around those they supported. This is perfectly normal, and to be expected at this stage. Support Generally there was considerable support for the principles, big ideas and proposed direction of the masterplan, as an expression of the Green Town Vision. The positive approach to greenery, wildlife and ecology is supported A new town centre is supported, preferably near Prince Philip Barracks An educational cluster is also supported Other new community facilities are also supported These points are reinforced in the questionnaire responses, sometimes with preferences for specific locations. Concerns However there were still a number of concerns around the scale and quantum of new housing (up to 5,500 units) which is perceived by some to be too high for this area, including a belief that it cannot be fitted onto MoD ‘brownfield’ sites – and will therefore make incursions onto ‘greenfield’ transport, both in terms of the credible provision of an adequate public transport system (currently very weak), but also alleviating the traffic impacts arising from new development (both housing and business), particularly on outlying villages and narrow rural roads. the nature and deliverability of adequate employment, both to retain economic wellbeing after the Army departs, but also to avoid the creation of an out-commuting dormitory town with more traffic and carbon impacts. 22
The phasing of the infrastructure and development has also been identified as crucial to ensuring the community do not feel they are losing out. The provision of jobs, skills, green infrastructure and community facilities early in the process is considered paramount to guaranteeing support from the community. At the time of the events, before the award of Eco-town status, there was also some concern that there would be a ‘new town’ type approach imposed on the community. Notwithstanding these well articulated concerns and reservations – there was also considerable support for a progressive, thorough and detailed approach to improving the town’s offer and overall facilities, providing any negative impacts were minimised and mitigated. Geographically, this has appeared strongest from those living in the town, as opposed to external rural residents, who often were more wary of the potential impacts upon their villages. The issues from these events, and this report, are set out in sequence in the following pages – using the actual notes and feedback summaries produced at the time, to remain as true to the discussions as possible. These have subsequently been used to inform the evolution of the later masterplanning and design activity.
Parish A - Kingsley Centre - Wednesday 1st April 2009
Event This event combined a stakeholder presentation with an open â€˜drop-inâ€™ session around exhibition panels.
Feedback The key concern for residents was the volume of heavy traffic that may end up going through the town centre. There was particular concern about the industrial traffic. Attendees asked whether any modelling of traffic through the surrounding villages had been carried out. It was noted that both the B30006 and B3006 carries traffic to London. Alton was cited as a good example of a dispersed traffic approach. It was suggested that the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Partnership should extend to surrounding parishes and villages. It was felt that the Big Ideas did not adequately take into account the wider Parish context.
Attendees examining ideas at the Kingsley Centre
Stakeholder & Agency - The Forest Centre - Thursday 2nd April (am session)
This was a major grouping of invited stakeholder bodies – both community and national/regional agencies. A presentation was provided, updating progress and explaining the emerging ‘big ideas’ and choices. Working in themed groups attendees then considered the ‘big ideas’ and their implications. The following is the feedback of discussions held within those groups, each in slightly different formats.
Sustainability group The community is on board with the Eco-town idea, but there is concern around the scale of the development, particularly housing. Concern was expressed that overall densities across the Eco-town were too low. This was not supported by another who stressed the need for larger family homes. There was broad agreement with the need to ensure a good mix. Existing homes need to benefit from the Eco-town in terms of environmental performance. There was a strong feeling that this should happen first – why wait until the army goes? Achieving this will require a good understanding of the condition of existing homes.
Sustainability group looking at materials
Participants were keen to develop environmental technologies in Whitehill Bordon itself and that this should be part of a wider programme of community led regeneration and development. The Eldonians1 example in Liverpool was cited as a possible model for community driven regeneration. This led to a discussion on possible prerequisites:
Effective social structure that could be tapped into, focussed around the third sector; Fostering of community champions; Strong links to the PAGs; and Support for a suggestion that the community enter into a contract or charter with the delivery body or Council. This should be promoted through the third sector.
There was support for some sort of building to act as a focal point for the community. The aim should be for it to house information, businesses and uses related to a green town. A suggestion included a market for local food. The role of community groups/third sector and East Hants Council in developing and managing this was raised along with a question about where funding would come from. Could there be a link to WWF due to the proximity of their headquarters in Godalming. Gateways to the town were seen as crucial. There was agreement that the Whitehill Club (in its present state) was not suitable, but there was less agreement as to whether or not the industrial estate at the other end was positive. Two approaches to dealing with problems such as the Whitehill Club were suggested: compulsory purchase to develop; and guerrilla improvements (akin to guerrilla gardening)2. Community gardens were seen as very important alongside allotments. There is an important link here to local markets for the produce. There was support for the idea of linked green roofs and a feeling that these needed to offer public, private, semiprivate, accessible and inaccessible space. The question was asked as to whether these could be used to off-set Greenfield development losses. There was some discussion of the merits of a modern form of tied accommodation, linked to education, health or environmental employment. This could enable more people to walk to work. The problems of turnover and retirement were recognised. The final point related to the look and feel of the housing. Some but not all felt that they did not like the look of sustainable housing. It was suggested we looked at the Grange Road development in Petersfield. It was also suggested that we seek to develop a local sustainable vernacular.
The Eldonian Community Based Housing Association Ltd was set up as a Housing Co-operative in 1983 by tenants from Eldon Street and Burlington Street. The homes of these residents were scheduled for demolition: this would have meant that the community would have been broken up and the people scattered to different parts of Merseyside. 2 I’m not sure my interpretation of this as ‘environmental squatting’ captured properly the suggestion
Town Centre Group This group considered issues such as - Federation of small business – Whitehill Chase – close to town centre - Where will the town centre be? - Are the small shops to be supported? - Not enough clothes/shoe shops. - Where do people shop? – Guildford, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton – Hedge End, Portsmouth (Farnham, Alton, Petersfield) - Forest Centre popular because of free parking - Park & Ride. - Consider delivery vehicles. - Shuttle buses? - Location of centre – will people walk? How do we slow traffic on A325? - Phasing important - Interim measures needed - Develop high street – use Chalet Hill/Tesco Support for existing business was explored, including - Business rates - Trade waste - Chamber of commerce - Maintain easy and cheap access - Increase the attraction - Improve the ‘look’ of the town - Cafe - Pleasant places - Farmers Market/Sunday market The town centre should also function as a civic centre and be multi-functional including: - Administration - library, Discovery Centre, police - Shopping Centre - Shops - Leisure – pool, cinema, restaurants, gyms, youth theatre, bowling alley - Transport hub – bus, parking, taxi, cycle hire, train station, tourist info - Urban housing - Place for people to congregate – green - No cars - Employment
Looking at town centre location and function
Housing, Town Centre and Employment Group The number of homes was queried - why 5,500 units? The figure is an â€˜up toâ€™ number. A critical mass is needed to deliver public facilities particularly transport. The population is comparable with Petersfield and it functions as a town so why not Whitehill Bordon. It was felt that Whitehill Bordon has been neglected over the years and the public services and infrastructure has not been provided. This is an opportunity to make good the current deficit.
The group discussed range, tenure, type and density of housing
How can 5,500 units be achieved units in the space? The mix and type of units has to be right â€“ this is very important. The type of housing determines the population. A more sustainable community is wanted. There is a particular demand for larger houses. A safe environment to play is also needed. Good quality housing needed. There should be no differentiation between affordable and private. New homes should be built to Housing for Life standards. There is a problem with new development in Lindford and the poor design of this development must not be replicated. Community energy and recycling facilities should be provided - consider such facilities combined and at a walkable distance. Recycle waste as part of the energy strategy in the form of energy from waste, 28
Walkable neighbourhoods should be in the form of a community network. What is the extent of the town? Refuse and emergency access should not to be impeded due to a lack of parking. Consider underground parking. There is a need to consider good, adequate parking facilities as cannot enforce limited car ownership. Phasing â€“ match phasing incrementally of all land uses. Hence the need for a masterplan Need to deal with traffic before develop High Street. However avoid retail on top of hill as it is difficult for the elderly to walk to the shops. Consider first the type of shops wanted at Whitehill Bordon and then work out how they can be attracted. Other town centre functions beyond shops include: offices, restaurants and cafes, a square, arts, elderly care housing, a multi-use community space/management office, a cinema and a youth club. Other leisure facilities are important including a sports and leisure centre which should be in a non-town centre location. Arts are a valuable facility for the community The group supported the community spine principle. Early wins â€“ need some grant structure in place soon and some new homes How to prioritise early wins? Early wins may need interim solutions in order to support growth in the long term in a new building in a later phase. High quality employment is needed including green industries, quality employers and new Enterprise and life/work centre â€“ this could be an early win. Training is needed sooner rather than later
Economy & Employment Group This group’s discussion considered the following: - Believed the idea was to have a mixed use environment - but approaches show areas with segregated uses - Balance of opportunities - Depends on timing and availability of land - Need to identify areas suitable for employment early on and bring those areas forward only for employment use and related facilities - Need to take into account what small and large businesses want – what investors want – e.g. communal/civic areas – opportunity for flagship area for this development - Need investors who are prepared to buy the buildings - Opportunities to link into other centres of employment but this doesn’t seem to be available here
Long and short term objectives were considered to improve the local economy and employment
Building in flexibility of use of buildings “Building a nest and hoping the birds will come” – what about identifying the businesses we would like to attract Woolmer is thriving there are only a few units left Opportunity at Louisburg Barracks is good but still concerned about traffic on A325 Relocation of existing industrial estates is not on! Cheap properties are not invested in and deteriorate even further Facilities – Town Centres/Skills Need a range of businesses – according to skills available in the area Current infrastructure (roads) does not work and will not be able to attract or support increased flows of transport Lack of decent public transport detracts employers & employees Transition from traditional manufacturing industries to new – e.g. pharmaceuticals 30
Eco-town could be used as a demonstrator area – companies showing off their wares How do existing businesses manage the transition period from when MoD move out and any new development gets going Incentives provided to encourage people to use local businesses Need to develop logically – where will workers come from for e.g. – it has to be phased logically Is the Viking estate in the right location? Would Tesco re-locate? Another large supermarket could be attracted to town centre More needs to be done to develop skills of workforce required Quality of workforce and quality of life for employees will attract new business and employees How many houses will be left behind by the army that will be usable for ‘civilians’? Over time Annington Homes will redevelop their poor stock Need available cheaper space Enterprise zones – short term accommodation Phasing is critical How to integrate community and employment Louisburg Barracks could provide facility for low-cost start up People live here because of the cheap housing
Things to do in next 4 years: - Improve public transport – enhance accessibility - Skills centre - The Brand and marketing of the area very important – ‘tarred with Garrison town identity’. Need to do this quick but also need some certainties/fixes around the location of the town centre - Use South Downs designation to help attract investors - Having a plan - Selling a vision Economy & Employment Summary - Keep what you have got – e.g. Woolmer Trading Estate - Avoid segregation – mixed use - Louisburg – Viking (Price) – possible incubator unit area - Town Centre – mixed use – small scale businesses mixed in with other uses - Long term – “Demo Area”, project areas and the management side - Short term challenge – Supply chain To do short term: - Public transport - Skills centre - Have a plan – provide certainty - Vision/branding/marketing – to attract inward investment - Incubator space 31
Social Infrastructure and Leisure Group Key messages from the group were: The group identified the blurred edges between the different themes e.g. open space and community facilities Concerns that the spine concept ignored communities to the south of the town. The schools should be seen as a focus for community activity and therefore distributed throughout the town The group supported the concept of co-location of facilities but emphasised that the design and management was critical. The current arrangement at Mill Chase School does not work as well as it could and causes service delivery issues on both sides. HCC very supportive of a 0-19 education campus including a 6th form in addition to 2 other primary schools. The campus should be on a new site. Education provision should not be located in town centres as it causes operational difficulties. There is a general issue of access to schools, new development should provide significant green routes to schools. Community facilities should encourage movement around the town and interaction between generations. Any co-location of activities within schools should be managed by the schools. The majority of community facilities should not be in town centre except an arts centre.
The group discuss the range of services and facilities required
Voluntary sector Thoughts should be given the long term viability of community facilities and should be designed and built in a way that allows them to be income generating for example with meeting space of office space that be sub-let. Phoenix The Phoenix would strongly support the development of a new arts centre within the town to provide a new purpose built home for the theatre but also to include an art gallery and café. This would work well within the town centre. They would happily make meeting and conference facilities available. Car parking is a real issue for the theatre as lots of its patrons are from out of town. Discovery centre Youth facilities are currently wholly inadequate. Young people should be given control of the design and management of youth spaces in the town. It is important that youth provision is considered across all development and not restricted to specific built facilities. Young people need to have places to hang out, inside and out. Three Priority projects Education campus Arts centre/ discovery centre Sports and usable green space Particularly aim facilities at youth – such as the Crossover Centre in Liss. This is a great example of successful youth provision. It is housed in an old shop by the station. It has internet connection. The young people developed and agreed a set of rules and are involved in the management of the facility. It is a church project.
Ecology and Environment Group The group’s deliberations included The group expressed support for the Green Loop Concept. Both wildlife corridors and the green loop are needed. The suggestion was made that an outer wheel (loop) and spokes of bridleways are created. Detailed design of built features that cross the corridors needs to be wildlife friendly, for example kerbs can be a barrier for newts and slow worms. Does the proposed green infrastructure meet the TCPA 40% target? There are SAMs and historic features eg tumuli which must be respected. Landscape Character Assessment needs to be taken into account. Have all necessary sustainability and ecological assessments been undertaken? The South Downs National Park is on the doorstep. There are challenges (disturbance to the park from more visitors) and opportunities (Whitehill Bordon can be a ‘gateway’ town) Access to the SPAs must not be encouraged. Access to Forest Holt and the SANGs must be encouraged. The railway, if developed, will have impacts on the SPA. However a corridor for possible future reinstatement of the railway will be maintained as part of the plans. Should industrial estates be on the edge, in the centre or should employment uses be spread around? Industrial estates on the edge are better neighbours for the SPAs because there are no cats. Where should the education hub be located? Building on green field HCC land could have negative ecological impacts. SUDS should be incorporated into new development. Green roofs are part of SUDS. SUDS features can be part of the open space network. Dense housing overlooking parks may not be desirable because of disturbance to wildlife. Forestry Commission would like to have a cycleway established to connect Whitehill Bordon with Alice Holt. Alice Holt can take some of the recreation pressure. It was suggested that the number of new residents should be much lower (2500 population target was suggested). Concern was expressed that an increase in population leads to increase in fires on heathlands. It was suggested that Whitehill Bordon is the wrong location for an Eco-town because of the sensitive sites nearby and lack of transportation infrastructure.
The Ecology and Environment Group
Transport and Movement Public Transport: Agreed this should be central to development proposals, both from a geographically perspective and a forward planning one. The needs of strategic public transport links and local transport links are different. Rail system alone cannot solve all travel needs. Introduction of a railway system at Bordon with fast links to larger towns is likely to make Bordon a commuter town. Tram or bus based systems are likely to better serve local connections. Bus services are more flexible for linking surrounding villages with Bordon. There should be a central public transport hub along the High Street. This could be introduced now. North/South corridor better for rail use – safeguard disused rail corridor in any plans East/West links to surrounding communities. Public transport needs to be affordable to really encourage people to use it. By stopping vehicles entering town centre could encourage people to use public transport. Reducing Car Use: Restricting car ownership is not fair. Alternatives need to be provided to encourage non car use. Reducing visual dominance of cars is very important. Reducing speed limits on surrounding approaching routes and providing gateways to town and central areas is vital. Providing parking outside the central area with good pedestrian routes and limiting parking within town centre area could work. Pedestrian and cycle routes should be integrated for easy access by those living in the town, linking with cycle routes outside the town. Pedestrian and cycle crossing points should be provided across main trafficked roads, so that ‘green grid’ is continuous and seamless. Providing routes to schools that are pleasant and direct. One of the most effective ways to change peoples’ travel patterns is through trips to school – make sure these are well catered for through alternative methods than the car. Other points: Villages with worst traffic impact should be identified as soon as possible, and funding for traffic calming schemes in surrounding villages provided Need to deal with traffic on the high street before changing the High Street Examination of transport & movement issues 35
Stakeholder & Agency - Hollywater School - Thursday 2nd April (evening session)
This session for community and agency stakeholders combined an initial update presentation on the emerging ideas, themes and choices, with detailed group discussions around particular themes. The feedback from the different groups was as follows: Housing and Sustainability theme The amounts of housing, and in particular social housing, are too large. Residents want to see fewer numbers of larger houses. 5,500 houses is too many, 8 storeys is too high. Self build is a good idea, with work done by locals.
Need to provide land for self building.
The fire station as the museum of the future – heritage of the past plus an indication of the future. Need to push the idea of a skills centre.
Stakeholders discuss housing
Does the housing policy fit within the large houses idea? Even ¼ acre of land is considered large for a house. Need a mix – some detached are necessary, more important than social. A prestigious Eco-town will attract wealthy businesses and homes.
Are facilities important? The statistics indicate that people say yes, but it depends on how the question is worded. People don’t want facilities if it means you get so many houses too. 36
Will the playing fields be built on? Will Greenfield land be developed on? In terms of the landtake, EDAW assured that MoD buildings are huge enough to provide enough space, without using Greenfield land. If you have a large population, we need to ensure that they not all using heathland at the same time.
Will the green corridor be sufficient? The greenery is already an asset here, and the trees are beautiful. Should be used more.
The new town will only be viable if the MoD releases land for the green spaces. The high ecological standards for Eco-towns require it, even if general town planning does not.
There is good potential for woodfuel heating, which would be beneficial to local forests such as Alice Holt. Are there enough trees? Need a study done to see if biomass can be used and if so, how much.
Has sewage treatment been though about? There are a number of options and schemes. Grey and blackwater can be treated in a number of ways, depending on the scale at which they are to be implemented.
Can we use residual waste? And generate energy from it – working from local farms, e.g. anaerobic digestion. Early wins – confidence is needed to attract new business.
Transport is key, then the high street. Investment into cycle ways and signage, a new footpath. Needs to be done now.
Sell the town as the gateway to the National Park, as a major selling point. People need to believe what they’re being told. Eco-town status will achieve prominence, and maybe Bordon needs to change its name. Whitehill club as an early win, a nice building as you drive in.
Town Centre and Transport theme What will the high street look like? How can traffic be removed from it so that it is more pedestrian friendly? Can a tunnel be used? If proposals discourage through traffic what will the amount of traffic be like when it is reduced? The High Street town centre approach has to feature much reduced traffic to be successful. Why has a bypass been discounted (Godalming Relief road was cited as a good example)? Has a study of the origins and destinations of the through traffic been undertaken and can these journeys really be taken on other routes? Will Hindhead Tunnel assist with the reduction of through-traffic?
Analysis of town centre and transport issues
It is very important that public transport is convenient, attractive and frequent. Also it needs to be in early to discourage car purchase/use. Currently people without are car are disadvantaged in Whitehill Bordon as it is difficult to get jobs without public transport. In particular the current plans to stop a bus service will mean many people cannot travel to work in future. Some form of rapid transit and a corridor needs to be preserved in the masterplan if it cannot be delivered early. Right skills need to be matched to jobs. This can also assist with reducing car travel. Do not favour concentrating employment in the north as this will encourage traffic through the centre from the south both from outside the town and inside the town. Disperse rather than concentrate employment uses. Particularly associate employment uses with the town centre. Reduce journeys by putting employment close to nurseries and schools (in the town centre).Is there sufficient employment land to accommodate 7,000 jobs? Can all the new development fit in? Complex phasing relates to tipping points and triggers. If EHDC move to Whitehill Bordon it would form a strong catalyst for the success of the place.
The Eco-town can be a beacon to attract people to live and work. The image of town must recognise the sustainability story. The current image needs to change. The town can be a Centre of Excellence for all facets of eco-living and eco-business and eco-travel. What is the future of the Forest Centre? Concern was expressed about retaining the Forest Shopping Centre either as a primary of secondary shopping centre as it does not work well. As a secondary shopping centre is would but give poor integration.
Economy and Social Infrastructure theme Employment Significant amount of training required to fill the skills gap. There is a lot of scepticism about when will MoD move and how many jobs will go. Cheap employment space is required if new businesses are to be attracted to the town. Transport, roads and parking are all critically important to create jobs. There is a need for risk mitigation in case all the jobs are not delivered and everyone ends up commutiny outside the town. There is a real issue about the split of the town, the masterplan must make sure that the new and old are combined. General Comments Whitehill Bordon doesn’t have a centre and has a very poor image this needs to be resolved. The High Street currently is the ugliest part of Bordon The Forest centre is a social disaster area. Economy Why would an employer move to Bordon as it is locationally poor? People will travel outside of the town for jobs. What skills are needed? Phasing of development
Stakeholders examining infrastructure and economy requirements
General Questions and Comments During open discussion and questions the following issues/points were raised.
Affordable housing, doesn’t like 40%, it should be less. Water issues – need to reduce housing numbers because there are real supply issues in this area Tall building issues, there shouldn’t be any tall buildings it is out of context There should be more than 7000 jobs as more than 1 person per household will work and they need jobs for the local population. 5,500 homes is just far too much. Why are we not going for fewer when people have said they want fewer in the core strategy consultation? Net jobs, how can we guarantee that these jobs will be delivered? What else needs to be done to achieve these jobs figures? Doesn’t like the montage of the high street which had flats and things Are there any preferred options? Water, issue of supply South East water are exporting elsewhere so there shouldn’t be a problem Questioned if everything fits and asked if the facilities are for existing residents. The more facilities you want, the more homes you will need to build. If the army moves out in 2011 nothing happen to 2016 there is a big economy gap. The Hindhead tunnel may significantly reduce through traffic and ease larger traffic problems. Presentation is living in a bubble Doesn’t appear to take into account s/e plan A Railway would cost £5m per mile, so is never going to happen. The A325 is a country lane and can’t accommodate capacity. What’s the grand strategy? It is not clear from the presentation. 670,000 new homes in the S/E questions regional infrastructure requirements. Transport links are very important Has any scheme anywhere else in the country taken people from their cars successfully?
Parish B – Old Thorns Hotel - Thursday 2nd April
A parish community meeting was held at the Old Thorns Hotel, combining a presentation, exhibition and discussions sessions. The issues raised included
20 year development timescale Upheaval for existing companies – asbestos repairs required on Woolmer We don’t want businesses to go Business support – rent free period MoD contract been taken up by Sodeho Defence training review is worldwide Development of town shouldn’t be soulless – we need a soul as well as a heart How do we get people to talk to each other? Walkable neighbourhoods Management Town Centre Human Scale One town – integrate new and old Water – no water shortage? New rail link – strong commercial involvement – can we use train for waste? Neighbourhoods need to grows around a green or village pub We must stop severance of the A325 – reduce traffic but not completely to maintain business Feed into strategic rail projects elsewhere
Exhibition at the Old Thorns Hotel
Young people’s session – Mill Chase Community Technology College – Friday 3rd April
A session was held with a mixed group of pupils at Mill Chase School (who had participated in a previous session in December 2008). The pupils raised a number of issues of concern, before then looking at their future ideas about transport, town centre and education locations in the town, as well as housing. In particular they raised:
Concerns about the potential effect the development will have on the woodland and wildlife Fears that there would be job losses on the industrial estate if businesses were relocated Traffic on A325 was a problem Recognition that the current bus service was poor and needed improvement Would there be an increase in Water Rate charges in addressing that challenge? Fewer take-away restaurants would improve the area
Then, working in groups, the students discussed ideas for future uses, including an education campus. Some groups thought that Mill Chase should be a part of the education campus, surrounded by lots of green spaces and places. There was also a suggestion to extend Bordon Trading Centre, as well as various transport networks.
Students at Mill Chase presenting their ideas
‘Over 60s’ Jubilee Club – Whitehill Community Centre Friday 3rd April
A discussion session was held with Members of the Jubilee Club (over 60s group). They said that many of them felt very isolated because of the poor public transport in the area. Without any regular buses, regional and local, many of them were unable to go out shopping or visiting. Many of the elderly members of the community tended to take taxis, which were very costly. The number and range of shops, in the area, had declined. There were, in the past, a number of chemists, greengrocers, DIY shops and other specialist shops. It was noted that there is nowhere to buy clothes in Bordon. It was recognised that there were few facilities or activities for young people and children in Whitehill. A football/cricket pitch might help keep some young people active and out of trouble. There was some concern over the numbers of affordable housing that might be provided and also with heights and density. It was suggested that the town centre should be in a central location with easy access for both Whitehill residents and Bordon residents. There would need to be sufficient parking and possibly a Park and Ride.
Some of the Jubilee Club participants
Representatives of Faith Groups – St Mark’s Church Friday 3rd April
A discussion group was held with representatives from a range of active faith groups in the town, drawing on their extensive knowledge of the community.
Concern was raised about the 5,500 proposed new homes There was also a fear that if community accept higher numbers of housing in return for community facilities, they may not actually get the facilities but will then be stuck with a much higher density development Will the Army actually have moved out by 2015? Can funding be provided by the EC to relocate/develop an Enterprise Zone? Need to resolve the conundrum of why people would choose to move to Whitehill Bordon Designers must be very careful not to create a dormitory town There was a lack of sense of a community Places of worship can often help to bring people/communities together
Some representatives of Whitehill Bordon faith groups
Open Community Day Forest Community Centre & Forest Shopping Centre Saturday 4th April
Views and ideas were captured from participants at both the shopping centre (outside exhibition) and the Community centre (internal exhibition, plus three presentations/discussion sessions)
General Feedback from the Shopping Centre Positive comments Change was inevitable and so the proposals were exciting and welcome (view of a new resident); The Prince Philip barracks would provide a great town centre but needed to be connected to the existing high street; The land which is currently derelict behind the high street and has been covered over with undergrowth (there are Second World War bunkers buried there) needs redevelopment and would be a good place to extend and improve the existing high street so that there was development both sides of the street. The existing carpark can be extended and improved without too much trouble and should cater for disabled people better; It would be the younger generation and those that wanted to move into Hampshire who would benefit most. The concept of being green was largely accepted but the question was how relevant it was for individuals and how much it would cost to insulate home and put on solar thermal etc; If the ideas where big enough then it stood a chance of becoming distinctive in that area to bring jobs and prosperity; The idea of integrating the housing and landscaping was a positive feature if it could enhance the area - the landscape was considered a major attraction to live there; There had to be a plan to replace the vacant MOD land (as its vacated) with viable homes and business and people did not want more spec house builders homes as they separated themselves from the rest of the town and did not add to the viability of the town (more commuters); Communications needed to be improved; The town needed a change of name from Whitehill Bordon to either Whitehill or as the village used to be called Dead-Water; A demonstration unit / upgrade using proposed technology would be welcomed to engage the public to what it meant for them. The Eco-town could bring better access to the surrounding countryside and bring benefits for wildlife (special mention was made of the damage done by the Forest centre to amphibian wetlands on which it was built)
Exhibition at the Forest Shopping Centre
Negative comments The council had ignored local residents about the location of the existing Forest centre and it was felt that it had been built in the wrong place - it should have been next to the industrial estate - lorry access and adaptability for business isn't good. Residents do not believe that the council will take any notice this time either; The new town would be separate from the old town and residents didn't see the benefit of having the Eco-town for them. If upgrades were provided for existing homes who would pay for them - would the council as many are pensioners or on a low income; Traffic would only get worse and there was a lack of facilities like care homes, medical facilities and community amenity places for all ages to keep people in the town; Young people did not engage readily with the argument for a new town as they could not perceive the importance of an Eco-town to them; Many residents were retired and do not see the need for change (they may not be around when the improvements are finally made; Residents were aware that the MoD 'had not laid a brick' in Wales and that it would cost c. £17bn for them to move so it was unlikely to happen in the current economic climate. A 'B' scenario was also mooted whereby residents had heard that the garrison could stay and double in size. A concrete statement from the MoD would encourage residents to take the proposals more seriously; Transport was a major concern and the busy road was the focus for some who could not see how a 1 car per house proposal in an Eco-town would work leading to more congestion. A bus-rail link to Liphook was also being closed down due to lack of use so the proposals for upgrading public transport did not build on what they already had; There was concern that the good transport links would make the town into a commuter belt (to London and surrounding towns); The plans did not incorporate Lindford and a local resident from there felt marginalised; The Forest shopping centre is in the wrong place and rents are very high for the type of business they generate - it was noticeable that some had closed. 47
Questions and comments from the community centre Session 1 – 11.00 Create jobs before build homes Poundbury good model Rainwater harvesting Alllotments? For young people and families Economic situation and funding Stop out commuting – provide jobs first, otherwise will be a dormitory town Support rail link Use electrical vehicles/cycles Use verges for growing biomass crops Range of jobs to suit range of skills Implementation and phasing vital Integrating employment throughout the town Wider regional competition Stakeholder funding requirements Funding needs to be realistic to address needs of the community Funding for transport schemes vital Water sustainability – SUDS Biomass boilers Eco-ville (Germany) Great example Session 2 – 13.00 How to ensure employment of local people in WHB? – Skills/resources, economic study Consideration of Eco-trades? – Live demonstration projects, skills Impact of South Downs National Park on economy, transport, wildlife, planning Consideration of alternative choices – is growth the only choice? Eco growth is organic not forced. Employment for the existing people Need to work with the local people to determine needs now so that they are addressed now Plan for the future – emphasis in next 1-5 years on employment and skills Poor local skills training – need to broaden skills training and employment offer
Community drop-in and exhibition at the Forest Community Centre
Session 3 – 15.00 Why build over existing playing fields on MoD land? Agricultural use – food growing Density – what will it be? – different ones in different areas, mixed? Testing range of options and characters Getting people out of cars Visionary – using precedents from elsewhere Wildlife corridor doesn’t cover existing heathland Already congestion in the area Speed limits are too slow Parking in town Providing alternatives and choices Increasing walking and cycling is great! Impact of surrounding communities Transport studies before masterplan development Public transport first – needs funding upfront Where is funding coming from? - Using every opportunity that is available - Growth is important to increase passengers Landscape resources need protecting Landscape character and ecology go hand in hand Financial viability and phasing for up to 5,500 homes does not stack up.
Correspondence received after the events
In April and May 2009, East Hampshire District Council received a mixture of correspondence and emails from residents and households, and a Parish Council, some addressed to the Leader of the Council, and some appended to the completed questionnaires. Although these letters/emails were small in number, and responded to separately, it is worth recording the issues raised within this consultation report, as they arose following the Events and Exhibition. We have tried to capture the combined views in italics. Concern at quantum of housing growth Several respondents – including also some who replied to much of the questionnaire feedback positively on other points – expressed concern at the ability of the town to absorb 4,500 to 5,500 new housing units. They felt there was no clear evidence that this can be delivered. Location and poor transport connectivity was also given as one of the reasons, as was impact upon the rural nature of the area. Suggestions were made for lower levels of new housing (eg 2,000-2,500) Concerns at balance of housing types/style/density Some claimed there is currently an overprovision of affordable housing, and underprovision of high value executive market housing. They felt buildings of 4-6-8 storeys – and densities of 80 dph - are completely inappropriate and unacceptable in a rural would land area. Traffic impacts Concern were expressed that the additional households and traffic trips generated would have a major impact through congestion, delays, etc for instance along Hogmoor Road. It was claimed that future public transport provision is not clearly enough set out, and a re-opened rail link would be welcome, even essential to some. Off-road parking was claimed to be essential. Impact on villages and surrounding area There was a fear expressed by one that the impact on life in the ‘areas surrounding the new town would be intolerable and dangerous’. Particular concern at impacts on smaller villages – and on community life – was identified. Impact on green spaces and SSSI/SAC and South Downs National Park There was concern expressed about impact on wildlife, ecology, landscapes and green spaces, much of which covered by national or other designations. Not enough green infrastructure shown Concern came from some that that the emerging proposals do not adequately provide for the 40 per cent green infrastructure network advocated in the draft PPS
Additional infrastructure and funding Concern was expressed about the timing and phasing of infrastructure – including employment and community infrastructure – and whether Eco-town status actually helps deliver any of these dimensions (to the level of around 2,000-2,500 homes), particularly in advance of the housing.
Concern at PR ‘spin’ on level of support Views were expressed, particularly from respondents living outside the town, that the level of support for regeneration/Green Town Vision/EcoTown concept has been exaggerated by EHDC, to secure Government funding or some other ‘hidden agenda’. Support for doing something once the Army leave General acknowledgement was made of the need to do something to upgrade the town – focused on the ‘brownfield’ land. This could include significant housing – but at a much lower level. Support conditions... Where support was offered it was conditional on factors like reduced housing numbers (below 5,500), no harmful effect on surrounding areas and biodiversity, self containment of ecotown – with good provision of internal facilities. External petition(s) We understand that since the events, there may be an external petition by some to oppose the principle of redevelopment or amend the proposals, and some responses to the masterplan events also appeared to come in the format of fairly standardised responses. However, where relevant, the issues have been included, as above. However the issue of development in principle is one for national and regional policy – as well as for the local authority’s Core Strategy and LDF process, rather than a masterplan design process. These masterplan events have focused on the issues of how a place could be planned and delivered, on the assumption that something is to happen, based on the Army vacating in a few years’ time.
The intention is for the next stage of the plan to be influenced by these discussions and debates. There will be opportunities for further debate once the draft masterplan is revealed in late 2009.
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Masterplan Choices Stage, April 2009 Part 2: Questionnaire Analysis Report
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Masterplan Choices Stage, April 2009 Questionnaire Analysis Report (Part 2) East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) appointed a team led by EDAW-AECOM in 2008, to develop a masterplan supporting the Green Town Vision for the towns of Whitehill and Bordon. As an integral part of that masterplan work a community engagement process was undertaken. Kevin Murray Associates were appointed as independent facilitators as part of this masterplan process, but remained separate from the actual design team. The aim of this engagement was to build upon previous public consultation that had been undertaken by East Hampshire District Council and the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Group, since 2004. In parallel with the masterplan process, and to assist those who may be affected, EHDC kept the public informed about the issues and the consultation events. This has included regular newsletters, advertisements, press releases, a website, posters, telephone help-line and street level events. Coverage of the issues has also been extensive in the local media. Engagement process A sequence of engagement events has formed part of the key stages of the overall Masterplan process, as follows: Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
November 2008 April 2009 November 2009
Masterplan Issues Masterplan Options Emerging Masterplan
This report relates to Stage 2, around midway in the overall process. From 1 st – 4th April 2009 a series of workshops, drop-in sessions and exhibitions were held as part of the Masterplan Choices stage of the Whitehill Bordon Opportunity. These formed part of a continuing series of engagement events, initiated in November 2008, as part of the Masterplan process. Somewhere between 400 and 500 attended all the various events in April, with over 300 signing in. Some declined to, while others in the shopping centre were not recorded in this way. A detailed questionnaire was provided to all to help gauge responses to a series of exhibited propositions, and an extended period allowed to complete this. There were 125 questionnaires returned by the end of April (99 residents plus 5 resident/business), with an additional 25 provided during May. The total of 150 responses comprised over 85% who described themselves as ‘residents’. There were no significant shifts in opinion or ranking exhibited between the early April, late April to late May responses. This provides a reasonably good level of confidence about the views expressed. This report provides a record of the feedback on the questionnaires – and should be read in association with the main Event Report (Part1) – which seeks to capture the views and issues raised in the series of events and workshops. The questionnaire was not itself intended as a solitary vehicle for capturing community views and, given its length and depth, was focused around the preferences and options in the 53
masterplan presentation/exhibition, particularly of those who had the time or inclination to inform themselves. It is therefore more of an â€˜informed group sampleâ€™ and we cannot know whether it is representative of the whole community. However, in drawing some overview from those who were able to brief themselves about the issues, some 46% of the respondents considered the emerging proposals addressed the issues of the community and business, while some 27% felt they did not.
Each question is represented by a summary chart, where appropriate, and commentary.
Question 1 – The existing and the new town will be integrated to form One Green Town The majority of people who answered this question stated that they either supported or strongly supported this. However 24 people did not support this.
Question 2 – The design for the Green Town will make the most of the attractive landscape and existing landmark buildings The highest response was of “strongly support”, followed closely by the second highest reply of “support”.
Question 3 – A new town centre will be created in a central location, accessible to all The majority of respondents said they strongly supported this. Of those who answered this question, 14 participants did not support this proposal whilst 10 people had no strong view
Question 4 – How would you prefer the town to be laid out? The top preference for 48% of respondents was “Around a civic or market square”.
40% of respondents said that “Along a high street” was their least preferred option. 37% of people (24 people) said that “Around a civic or market square” was their least preferred option - this potentially conflicts with preference analysis, since this option had the highest top preference votes. This suggests that “A mixture of both” may also be welcome, since it has the lowest number of people opposed to it and a fairly high proportion of people who voted it as their top preference.
Question 5 – Which of the possible locations for a new town centre do you think would work best? 46% of people who answered this question voted “Prince Philip Barracks to Chalet Hill” as their top preference. 39% of participants who answered this question claimed that “Prince Philip Barracks to Chalet Hill” was their least preferred option. Again, this conflicts with the previous comments in the top preference section. 57
Question 6 – An east-west spine of facilities integrating the community, in a green setting Of those who responded, the majority supported this. Many people had no strong view on this.
Question 7 – Where do you think a cluster of larger education facilities would work best? 49% of people voted “Around Mill Chase School” as their top preference. 39% of those who responded voted “On the Croft” as their least preferred option. However, 31% of participants said that “Around Mill Chase School” was their least preferred area, which is not in line with the previous comments made about top preferences.
Question 8 – Are there any other locations where you would like to see an education cluster? Near Coomers in Hogmoor Enclosures/Woolmer Trading Estate On the green land at the rear of the current Bordon Infant/Junior School Would prefer schools to be spread through the town to lessen congestion (pedestrian or traffic) Towards the middle of the new development where there is the larger population mass to reduce travel, or it will only increase car usage. Re-development of the Forest Centre South half of town – Woodlea Concern over falling school rolls, should use existing facilities Around the Pheonix Theatre area, Station Road Next to Hollywater School has been suggested – prefer as farm or country park
Question 9 – Around 7,000 new jobs in total will be created in the Green Town in a successful and thriving new economy The majority of people who replied to this proposal either supported or strongly supported it. 59
Question 10 – Do you agree with the possible locations for employment uses? The majority of people supported this. Many people had no strong view (the second highest response)
Question 11 – Are there any other locations where you would like to see employment uses? Anywhere as long as it makes the community a better place Existing area, train station needs to be enlarged More on Woolmer estate No, would like to keep our green surroundings Proper use of existing employment locations. They are not currently fully utilised and the majority of existing workplaces are not labour intensive. Small workshops, shops and small home based businesses mixed in residential areas. Area would be good to take advantage of Alice Holt i.e. Tree/woodland skills, as well as local agriculture. To South of town with good links to A3 Around the Forest shopping area Large and heavy industry at Louisburg, but smaller areas as well in different grouping.
Question 12 – What types of jobs do you think the town should offer in future? Secure jobs that will sustain the economic climate Bordon needs to provide jobs to employ local people. Skills training at low cost needs to be offered to educate and enhance residents’ standards of living. Mixed and varied employment to suit all ages and types of people: 60
manufacturing, leisure, education, health, commercial, retail, professional, office based, finance, light industrial, transport, construction, local government, high technological, “green businesses”, insurance, call centre, security, engineering Need to focus on helping existing population to get jobs and plan for the next 5 years not next 30. Radio and tv assembly plant, packaging, cottage industry Start-up business sites, work from home opportunities Farming/rural jobs to keep and utilise the rural area Apprenticeships, technical and vocational education EHDC office employment (from Penns Place) relocated
Question 13 – New neighbourhoods will have a mix of high quality new homes, in a range of styles and sizes to suit all ages and family groups The majority of people either supported or strongly supported this.
Question 14 – Do you agree with the mix of residential character areas shown? The majority of people supported this (48 people) However whilst 28 people had no strong view, 35 people did not support this.
Question 15 – Are there any other residential characters that you would like to see in the Green Town? Too great a percentage of affordable housing Would prefer not to have high rise buildings but if there is a need for this the number of them should be kept down – need to make them pleasing to the eye to fit into the Green Area. Buildings with character that fit in with the surrounding area. Like the opportunity for self build Large family homes to ensure professional workers stay or are attracted to the area. Emphasis on parking, garages and driveways essential rather than reserved and roadside parking. Areas supporting an ageing population, bungalows, supported independent flats for older people and nursing home facilities allowing people to age in the same community – priority for local residents. Be careful not to create an “inner city” or “social housing” dumping ground. Do not like the choice to follow current opinion for quirky, modern designs these will date very quickly! Good brick, and design has greater longevity than plastic/wood strips/metal and flat roofs. Not like Poundbury Move the A325 out of it
Question 16 – North-south corridors are proposed for wildlife and ecology improvements Of those who answered this question, the majority strongly supported the proposal (89 people). The second highest response was “support”. However, 15 people did not support this proposal.
Question 17 – A circular recreation route is proposed for everyone to enjoy The majority of people strongly supported this proposal. Whilst some people had no strong view, the second highest response was “support”.
Question 18 – What sort of green spaces would you like to see in the Green Town? Good access - nearby bus stops, cycle paths and pedestrian areas linking to different areas, bridges or underpasses Well maintained spaces for everyone to use – areas kept safe and tidy, plenty of bins, toilets, good lighting Wildlife areas, woodland, rivers, allotments, community agriculture, boating lake, fountain Sports fields, children’s areas, picnic sites, parks, swimming pool Walking, cycling, horse riding, dog walking Keep as many existing green areas as possible, Heathland regeneration, development on Brownfield sites only There are sufficient green spaces. An Eco-town of >5,000 homes will lead to a deterioration of the current rural environment
Question 19 – A public transport system so good that you can leave your car at home The majority of people strongly supported this (85 people). 13 people did not support this, whilst 9 people had no strong view.
Question 20 â€“ A place for people, not through traffic The majority of people either supported or strongly supported this.
Question 21 – Where could a main street for most through and commercial traffic work best? 35% of participants regarded “A new central main street connecting onto Station Road” as their top preference. 42% of respondents (28 people) said that “Upgrading Firgrove,Hogmoor and Station Roads was their least preferred option. Only 7 people (11%) claimed that “Upgrading Firgrove, Hogmoor and a new section through Louisburg” was their least preferred option.
Question 22 – The design of the town will make it easy to live sustainably and put us in good stead for the future The highest response from participants was “support” The second highest response from participants was “strongly support” Of those who answered this question, 15 people did not support this idea.
Question 23 – Which of the two scenarios do you think works best? Overall, Scenario A was the most popular. In all but two categories Scenario A had more votes than Scenario B. For the “Location of public transport” and the “Location of housing”, Scenario B had marginally more preferences. Question 24 – Do you think a different scenario would work better? Smaller development with less (ie fewer) houses Focus on the green areas Preserve more heritage More compact, less impact on environment Too much concentration on west side of A325
Question 25 – Do you consider the emerging proposals address the issues of the community and business? The majority of people who answered this question responded “Yes” (62 people, 46%). 27% (36 people) responded “No”.
For me the most important change would be....? Transport – improved roads, better public transport links, keep bus link to Liphook, rail link to Bentley and LISS, local bus depot, reduce/divert through traffic, change the route of the A325 to bypass this new town Facilities – more activities for children and teenagers, no more takeaways, better shopping facilities, retail parks, more modern shops, cinema Housing – off-road parking, recycling – weekly collections, high speed internet access, limit the number of homes Education – more provision of further education Employment – more employment prospects, wider variety of jobs, attract employers to the area An integrated town which involves the whole community – need a place the community can be proud of, clean and tidy area, used by all. Improved street lighting Enhance the green areas, improve attractiveness of town centre That the EHDC listens to the local residents (from the whole of the affected area) and serves the community, rather than dictating to it. A better place to live in for now and all future residents and generations - “Keep up the good work please!”
Note of caution: Questions 4, 5 and 7 In a limited number of responses there were some issues of confusion or contradiction in relation to the scoring of preferences on questions 4, 5 and 7. Despite clear instructions, some people seemed to misunderstand and introduced a ranking which was numerically opposite to that set down. Others simply ticked one box (in which case it was assumed this was their top preference). This could account for some of the apparently conflicting results in terms of top preferences and least preferred options. The effect of this has been to have some high scoring preferences also featuring strongly as least preferred – which we do not believe was the intention. However, we have not amended or adjusted the recorded result and, because the number is relatively small, do not believe this has fundamentally altered the aggregate preferences of the respondents.
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Presentation of the Draft Masterplan Consultation Events November-December 2009
Whitehill Bordon Opportunity Presentation of Draft Masterplan Consultation Events November-December 2009
Contents page 1
Acknowledgements Jas Atwal and Kevin Murray of KMA would wish to thanks all the following for their willing contribution to the masterplan engagement process through its various stages in 2008-09: All individual resident and business participants and respondents from the town and surrounding area All local groups including elderly, schoolchildren, religious groups, the Army and Bordon Area Action Group All the Parish Councils, especially Whitehill Town Council, and the PAGs All the national, regional and local agencies, including those representing schools and education, the environment, health and the police All participating councillors and staff of East Hampshire District Council and Hampshire County Council The full EDAW-AECOM led design and technical team â€“ all the consultants involved, visible or not
It is important to note that participation in the process undertaken to date does not affect the statutory rights of any party within the formal planning process at a later stage.
Kevin Murray Associates, February 2010
The final stage of consultation for the Whitehill Bordon Eco-town Masterplan took place in November and December 2009. As in previous stages, there were several events held over a number of days to maximise opportunities for people to attend and contribute their views. Between 11th and 14th November 2009 four sessions were held, including a session with PAGs and town councillors, a stakeholder session, a meeting with representatives from the Bordon Area Action Group and two community sessions. A further event for neighbouring parishes was held on 8th December. This series of events focused around short presentations of the emerging preferred framework by the EDAW-AECOM led design team. The main purpose of these sessions was to communicate the work done to date, and to solicit comments and feedback that might be incorporated into the finalised version of the Masterplan. Session (Number signed in at events) PAG Chairs, Town & District Councillors (Forest Community Centre) (18) Stakeholder Session (Forest Community Centre) (98) Bordon Area Action Group (CAP Studios) (6) Community Session 1 (Hollywater School) (132) Community Session 2 (Forest Community Centre) (149) Parishes Event (Budds Lane Junior School) (20)
Date 11th Nov 12th Nov 12th Nov 12th Nov 14th Nov 8th Dec
Background As in previous stages, the sessions were very well attended. The numbers shown in the table above indicate only those who signed the registration sheets. There were significantly more who attended but did not sign in for one reason or another (possibly up to another 50% at the main Community events). The sessions involved a detailed exhibition, an explanatory presentation, open plenary Q&A, as well as themed discussions. There was considerable support expressed at the Stakeholder Session for the approach, aspiration and ambition, with a note of caution about deliverability and the detailed role of the masterplan (as planning guidance) in the changing economic and house-building circumstances. There was a keenness to engage further with local people, on some specific issues, such as the potential location of the school.
The open Community Sessions held on the Thursday evening and during the Saturday were well attended. Within a wide range of responses, there was support for the general process of involvement and design evolution, but there were also concerns raised by those who were opposed either (i) in principle to the concept of any development and the Eco-town project generally or (ii) to the emerging masterplan on the basis of the proposed housing numbers and densities and their perceived transport impacts. There was also a category who â€˜remained to be convincedâ€™, because they could not see that all the elements would be delivered, with concerns around infrastructure and community provision in particular. The following pages capture the broad range of views, questions raised, concerns and opinions expressed, drawing from the events and feedback postcards. These are grouped thematically, with many having subsequently been taken up in the finalisation of the Plan.
Explaining the masterplan
2 Feedback At each session there was an opportunity for attendees to ask questions or to comment on the emerging preferred framework. These matters were recorded. There was also a post card with a small number of questions to gauge views on the Masterplan. The post card was available at all the events and subsequently (and had also been previously distributed by post). Over 460 cards were received by the Council by 24 December (many from those who attended presentations, but probably also some who did not.) The following is a summary of the key issues raised during the workshop sessions, and also received by East Hampshire District Council by postcard or email.
The Masterplan (General plan-based issues) There was a mix of support for the plan as a great vision, to concern about deliverability, and some outright opposition to the plan. Issues raised included - Concern remains regarding the potential negative impact upon, and lack of benefits to, neighbouring villages and outlying areas, including into Surrey - It was good to see something on the plan that fits with the Government’s wellbeing initiatives - East Hampshire District Council was encouraged to liaise with Hampshire Police with regard to design and crime prevention - Clarity was sought around the precise Eco-town boundary - What will make WHB unique – if everywhere has grants for retro-fitting to Eco Standard 6? - The MoD ownership boundary to the east of Louisburg was considered incorrect – it was believed that the land is owned/leased by the Cadets, who are not moving – and this is currently shown within the employment area - There was a major concern that the plan appears to show the Sacred Heart Church and the Nursery as demolished - with no indication of a possible relocation site - It was not clear from the Masterplan as to what would become of the Royal Mail premises on Camp Road which are currently used as a distribution and sorting office. Royal Mail’s preference was to remain in situ - There was no mention of sand extraction from MoD land prior to and for construction - There was no specific mention of the provision of allotments - There was no mention of a new FE College or the Skills Centre or the Multi Sports Centre, heritage centre or museum
Examining the masterplan content
Town Centre The proposed town centre was seen as one of the key benefits of the plan in the feedback and postcards, including new retail and community facilities and the potential to create new places by recycling older, familiar buildings. Specific comments included: - There was some concern that there would not be enough parking in the town centre - Some residents felt the two existing swimming pools were enough. Others disagreed and believed a third was necessary as there was a general lack of facilities - There was no mention of a new hospital or police station - Concern was expressed about what might happen to the Forest Centre as the new town centre begins to develop - It was felt that the proposed primary schools were not close enough to the town centre - Whilst a luxury/boutique hotel might be desirable, some questioned its viability in Whitehill Bordon - The Library was recognised as a valuable community facility which requires expansion - The Phoenix Theatre must be retained and not developed for housing - It was suggested that EHDC should relocate to the new town centre
New Secondary School A divergence of views on school location was indicated, and this also came through in postcard responses. For instance - The site at Budds Lane was deemed not big enough to take a large secondary school - For some people the Town Centre was not the best place for a School as it would encourage children to â€˜hang aroundâ€™ (others held a different view) - The school and leisure centre were considered, by some, to be best placed on the same site, whilst others preferred them to be kept separate, one at Budds Lane and the other at Mill Chase - It was thought the primary and secondary schools should be located close to each other to avoid traffic congestion
Discussing the school 74
Ecology, Wildlife, Countryside There was support for the general approach to green space and wildlife, including from some who had reservations about other aspects. However there were also issues and concerns of detail raised, including - The Eco corridor at Hogmoor Inclosure, between Croft and Oxney was too narrow. The required minimum is 123m. HRA said Hogmoor Inclosure would be protected, so no further encroachment - There was thought to be a loss of six wildlife sites as well as playing fields and areas for dog walking - There was uncertainty as how Green Corridors could be created in the East when itâ€™s already very built up - There was concern that Standford Farm was becoming a Country Park and that this posed problems for where access and parking would be located - It was felt that formal landscapes destroy habitat, they were too manicured - There was concern about the impact on the deer and badgers when development begins - There was also concern over the houses around BOSC and the loss of woodland loss and its proximity to an SPA - It was noted that the success of new parks depends on good governance, ecological management and monitoring - Industrial units should not act as a gateway to Bordon. There must be a green buffer between Farnham Road and Louisburg Industrial Estate - There seemed to be a lack of open play space in the plan as a result of building on existing well used play spaces such as Budds Lane and east of Station Road - Worries about impact on Woolmer Inclosure and loss of trees generally
Exploring the Green strategy
Housing As in previous stages of consultation, this was the most contentious of issues. The number and density of homes received considerable criticism in the postcard feedback, particularly the idea of exceeding 5,000 units. The traffic impact and affect on ‘rural character and feel’ were most frequently cited reasons. Comments received included: - Lifetime homes should be provided within the mix of housing - Housing numbers/density/heights were still too high and unclear as what would be delivered – 4,000 or 5,300? - The pictures of flats/apartments show flat roofs but flat roofs are known to leak! - The feasibility of converting Sandhurst Block was questioned due to its cramped internal environment - Clarity over any proposals for the married quarters at St Lucia and Trenchard (Annington Homes) was requested -It was unclear as to why the Masterplan showed housing in and around Viking Park which does not have planning permission for housing, but is for industrial, warehouse, offices and leisure - An explanation was sought as to why there had been a reduction of affordable housing from 35% to 30%
Participants viewing the information panels
Transport After housing numbers transport was the most talked about and divisive issue. Opponents of any development cited traffic impacts, while also those who supported aspects of the plan (eg community facilities) expressed reservations about traffic implications and future infrastructure capability. Early provision of key infrastructure (such as rail link and some roads) was seen as crucial by many. Views communicated included: - Some people felt that the proposed new road divides the town in half - It was thought there would be serious safety issues of a major road running through a residential area, close to a school - Much more detailed testing and information was required to ensure that the new development would not exacerbate existing transport problems
A transport themed discussion group
- It wasnâ€™t clear enough from the plan as to how many parking spaces would be provided per house - There was a worry that residents would be charged for road usage - People wanted to know how likely it was that the rail link to Bentley would be reopened and when the authorities would consult neighbouring areas regarding the roads and railway route - The A325 is already very congested and the plan doesnâ€™t seem to alleviate this - Need better access to the A3 from the South of Bordon - A bus route will not work across Headley Ford which, is a single, one way route not two-way, as indicated on the plan - A dual carriageway was considered necessary if it was to have the carrying capacity for large construction vehicles and trucks used for delivering bio - It was hoped that the plan would prevent rat-running such as the Oakhanger Road which is a major rat run route to Alton - Public transport must be affordable, reliable and consistent - The potential location of the new station was not considered accessible for existing residents 77
- It was suggested that a new road should be built from Bordon along the rail alignment to Kingsley with a station there and a link to Bentley - Hogmoor Road should not be considered as an option for through road - Alternative sites for the station were suggested such as the current site of the Whitehill Club - The provision of walking routes across Hogmoor Inclosure to the town centre were suggested - Undercroft parking was noted as a means of providing more spaces - American style, yellow school buses should be introduced to reduce the number of car journeys made by parents taking children to school - Moving the thoroughfare to the West allows for a more cohesive town - There is a need to retain the alignment of the drovers route (near the 2 for 1 pub), currently it is lost in the new road alignment Employment and Economy Generally this was a less contentious aspect, with considerable support for retaining and securing new employment. However, early planning to attract jobs and businesses into the area was seen as a priority, before the Army moves out. However - There was concern over the impact that new, large companies would have on existing, small businesses - Louisburg was considered a good location for the employment and energy centre - A â€˜Green Technology Collegeâ€™ would be a positive addition to the town
Questions and discussion with school pupils about future employment in the town
Infrastructure As in previous sessions, infrastructure was considered to be an important dimension of providing for any expansion of the existing settlement. Issues raised were: - The Masterplan does not show the location of the CHP, sewage systems or water plants - There was concern about whether or not there would be sufficient water, power, electricity, for all or whether restrictions on use would be enforced. The same was said of telecoms - The capacity and location of the Household Waste Recycling Centre was queried
Discussing views on the masterplan and ways forward
Sustainability A range of detailed sustainability issues were raised, as was the issue over whether the whole plan will be able to meet Eco-town aspirations and standards. Other points included: - The question was raised as to what if any new energy sources would be provided - There was considered to be limited reference to surface water management - It was not clear what measures were being taken to mitigate against flooding. SUDs were considered better on site than off site - It was noted that development should be restricted to brownfield sites only - There were existing sites that could provide heat and power and storage for woodchip Phasing and Delivery For those who supported the content and broad direction of the masterplan, the phasing and delivery was a major priority. For those against the plan, a perceived absence of funding for delivery added to their concerns. Also the need for further
studies on several issues (such as traffic modelling) served as a cautionary element for a proportion of respondents. Discussion included - There was still uncertainty about when (or if) the Army was actually moving out - More clarity was sought on phasing - More detail was requested on many issues before progressing to any development - Re-assurances were sought that the land-uses identified in plan were protected and could/would not be used for other purposes - There was a request that the Sports/Leisure Centre be provided early in the process as a community benefit In conclusion, the issue of community provision at an early stage was considered absolutely essential and a condition of support for many. This means provision well before all the housing is implemented - with proper legal mechanisms applied to deliver this at all the right stages.
Although consultation and engagement in this particular strategic masterplan stage has now closed, a longer term programme of community and stakeholder involvement will continue as increasing levels of detailed planning and design work are developed. This will be needed to keep people appraised of progress and detailed studies. This is important not only for supporters, but for the many who have expressed opposition, either in principle, or to detailed aspects such as traffic generation. An early stage of this will be provided for the testing of the Eco-town concept and scale of development at the Core Strategy examination. Other useful stages of communication and involvement need to be undertaken in relation to the Schools location options Traffic studies and modelling Prospective rail line and other infrastructure New employment promotion and attraction Other interim measures and projects (before the Army leaves)
Postcard feedback To complement the Masterplan presentation events, in November and December 2009 all residents in the GU32 postcode of Whitehill and Bordon were sent details of the Eco Town Masterplan and a reply paid postcard. These postcards were also available at all the various exhibitions and workshops and on the www.whitehhillbordon.com website. Respondents were asked:
What do you like about the masterplan? What do you not like about the masterplan? How do you think the masterplan can be improved? Which site do you prefer for the new-build Mill Chase School? In general, do you support the masterplan? How much of our information have you seen? Any additional comments?
All eligible responses returned by 11th December 2009 were entered into a prize draw to win £500, while the Council remained available to take responses until 24 th December. Some 637 postcard responses were received. Of these, 392 came from within the wards of Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford. (In the 2001 census, the population of these wards totalled approximately 13,000 residents. Therefore the responses from within the town could be seen to represent around 3% of the population). A good spread of responses came from surrounding villages as well. 41% of respondents had actually viewed the final stage masterplan exhibition. Some 39% of respondents had been to previous consultation events. Within Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford, 54% of respondents support the masterplan and 46% do not support the masterplan. Support is stronger from those wards that are closest to the MoD site. People who responded from Headley (53%) and Selborne (68%) expressed a higher level of opposition the masterplan. Respondents were split on their general view of the framework plan at this current stage, with many seeking more detail. 47% of the respondents said they do not support the current masterplan and 45% of respondents said they do support the masterplan. (As noted above, within this balance there was a higher level of support from within the town, and a higher negative view from outside the town).
Some 8% expressed no clear support or opposition view. However, other views received included
Don’t support it as it is at the moment (7 respondents) Support in principle/with reservations (4) Don’t know (2) 50/50 (2) Need more information before I can decide (2) Not convinced it will work (2)
The key factors and reasons given for both support and opposition to the current plan (ie high repeat references in double figures) are listed in rank order, in terms of numbers of post card respondents.
Leading SUPPORT factors and reasons (in rank order, highest at top)
Leading OPPOSITION factors &reasons (rank order, highest at top)
Protection of wildlife/green and open spaces (90)
No of new houses is too many (104)
New town centre (72)
Increased traffic/congestion (75)
Improved/increased facilities (46)
Building on green land (39)
Employment opportunities (33)
Inadequate transport links (33)
Rail station/link/service (32)
How will jobs be created (19)
Improved schools/education (27)
Not enough information (19)
Will improve current poor image of area/bring new life to it (17)
Not enough sewerage/water provision (17)
More shops/retail (16)
Views of community not taken into account (15)
The key elements from feedback on each question are listed below. What do you like about the masterplan?
Of the respondents who said they support the masterplan, almost a third of (32%) said they like the protection of wildlife and the open/green spaces. Over a quarter (26%) like the new town centre and 20% said they like it all. Of the respondents who said they do not support the masterplan, over half (53%) said they do not like anything about the plan. However although these respondents do not support the plan overall, some of them do like the proposed improved facilities, the new town centre and protection of wildlife and green spaces. 83
Of the respondents who did not intimate whether or not they support the plan, 31% like the protection of wildlife and green spaces and 21% like the improved facilities.
What do you not like about the masterplan?
Of the respondents who said they support the masterplan, 22% are worried about the increased traffic and congestion that may be caused by the development. However 10% said there is nothing that they don’t like. Of the respondents who said they do not support the masterplan, over a third (35%) said they do not like the proposed number of houses, and over a quarter (26%) think it will bring more traffic and increase congestion. Of the respondents who did not intimate whether or not they support the plan, 29% think that transport infrastructure is inadequate and 20% are concerned about increased traffic levels and congestion.
How do you think the masterplan can be improved?
Of the respondents who said they support the masterplan, 17% want the rail link to happen and 12% said more consideration has to be given to road/transport issues. 10% think there need to be more facilities generally. Of the respondents who said they do not support the masterplan, a quarter think the masterplan could be improved by reducing the housing, and 19% said they think it should not be done at all. 10% said more consideration has to be given to road/transport issues. Of the respondents who did not intimate whether or not they support the plan, 19% of respondents want the rail link to happen, whilst 14 % said there needs to be better public transport.
Which site do you prefer for the new-build Mill Chase School?
36% prefer Budds Lane and 32% prefer Hollywater Road. This divided opinion reflects diverse verbal feedback at the various events. There was also a small number who preferred neither (3%) and a smaller number happy with either (1%).
How much of our information have you seen?
85% had received the postcard in the post 80% had seen other articles in local/national newspapers 75% had read about it in Partners magazine. 53% had visited the website 41% had visited current exhibition 39% had visited previous consultation events
Generally, the comments received and views expressed in the postcards were consistent with those discussed at the events and listed earlier in this section. The information from the Postcard Feedback was fed to the Design Team as they were completing the Masterplan and associated report.
Kevin Murray Associates, February 2010
Consultation feedback 2010