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Cross Farm

Appeal Decision Issued (14 February 2020)

The Inspector issued his report and decision on the Cross Farm Appeal.  His decision is to DISMISS the Appeal.
His main conclusions are that:
[118] The proposed development would be contrary to the Development Plan considered as a whole. The appeal should, therefore, be dismissed [...].

[119] The proposal would cause less than substantial harm to the significance of [the Crookham Village Conservation Area] and to the significance of the [3] listed buildings, but the harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal.

[120] Significant weight accords to the contribution which the appeal proposal would make to meeting the need for accommodation for older people in Hart, but both the number of dwellings and the financial contributions included in the planning obligation would be relatively modest. The harm to the significance of the heritage assets carries great weight. I am particularly concerned about the effect on the setting of the conservation area.

[121] There are no additional benefits to the public benefits which I have identified above. The proposal would, however, cause harm not only to the significance of heritage assets. It would have a harmful effect on the landscape of the appeal site, the setting of Crookham Village, and visual amenity in views across the site, all of which merit significant weight.  The appeal proposal would not be a sustainable form of development, and it would be at odds with the plan-led approach to providing accommodation for older people in the emerging Local Plan.

[122] For the reasons given above, and having regard to all matters raised including the suggested conditions, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.

The Appeal Decision by the Planning Inspectorate can be found here: https://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applications/files/8F13C62E7D3C4482CFE93C909DE1978C/pdf/18_00045_OUT--1463529.pdf

As a result the proposed development at Cross Farm will not go ahead.

Many thanks to all those of you who have contributed to our opposition to this proposal and to our representation at the appeal.

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Cross Farm Site Visit (07 January 2020)
The Inspector made his unaccompanied visit to the area, traversing paths, roads and the Basingstoke Canal towpath to complete his understanding of the area.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 9 (26 November 2019
Final Appeal Hearings and Closing Statements

In the afternoon the final hearing session was held for some administrative matters and the closing statements by Hart District Council and  the Appellant.  

There was a good public turnout for the closing statements which resulted in the room having to be reconfigured to provide extra seats.
Both closing statements were quite lengthy and summarised the main points of the evidence, 'findings' and conclusions.  
The inspector raised a number of clarifications with the Appellant's closing statement in the light of the site visit that morning. 

Cross Farm Site Visit (26 November 2019)

The escorted site visit to Cross Farm took place in very poor weather conditions meaning that the visit was constrained to visiting the site itself where access was required.  
Representatives of the Parish Council, FACE IT.  the Appellant, Site owner and HDC accompanied the Inspector on his visit.

The site visit covered nearly the whole site and allowed the Inspector to much better understand the topography of the site and with the aid of various diagrams understand the extent of the proposed development.  
There had been much discussion during previous hearings, based on paper charts of landform, about where the 'ridge' was (the highest point, and the watershed for south-flowing and north-flowing runoff) and whether and how far the buildings extended south of that.  
The visit showed that the buildings will be very prominent in the landscape and will extend part way down the hill and not be hidden by either the ridge line or the knoll.
Despite the weather, the Inspector could see the extent of the longer views.
Because of the conditions, the Inspector will complete the site visit unaccompanied, to traverse the site on public footpaths and explore the other routes and roads around the site.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 8 (18 Oct 2019) at the Harlington Centre, Fleet.
The Inquiry completed looking at Matter 5: The need for accommodation for older people.

This requires examination of the evidence for the demand (need for) and supply (plans for provision of) housing providing specialist care for the elderly.

The Inquiry examined the evidence by the second witness for the Appellant which relates to the planned supply of different types of housing for the elderly and other related planning matters.
The Inquiry then considered two agreements that will be needed should the appeal succeed:

1) The 'S106 Obligations' which are financial contributions towards works (footpath improvements) or other support (including contribution towards provision of affordable housing). 2) The 'Planning Conditions' which are 20 conditions on the development proceeding.  

The site visit and final hearing session, which will include closing statements, are nominally scheduled for Tuesday 26 November 2019.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 7 (17 Oct 2019)

Harlington Centre, Fleet.

The Inquiry started looking at Matter 5: The need for accommodation for older people.

This requires examination of the evidence for the demand (need for) and supply (plans for provision of) housing providing specialist care for the elderly.

The Inquiry examined the evidence by the first witness for the Appellant related to the demand for different types of housing providing specialist care for the elderly.

The Inquiry will continue tomorrow to examine the evidence by the second witness for the Appellant which relates to the planned supply of different types of housing for the elderly and other related planning matters.

Due to the length of consideration required, the site visit scheduled for tomorrow has been deferred to a later date.  

A further hearing date or dates will be required to complete the hearings, arrange the site visit and hear closing statements.  Dates tbd.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 6 (18 Sep 2019)

The inquiry heard from one resident about the issues of runoff and flooding in the area.

The Inquiry started and concluded examination of the evidence provided by the Appellant's second witness around issues of transport and their third witness around issues of listed buildings, historic assets, and conservation area, covering the following Matters:

1. Impact on the Heritage Assets, Crookham Village Conservation Area and Listed Buildings.

2. Impact on Character and appearance of Crookham Village

3. Impact on separation of Crookham Village from Fleet/ Church Crookham

4. Impact of site access, chiefly on listed buildings including Cross Farm Cottages and The Barne.

The Inquiry was adjourned due to time constraints and will re-convene on 17th and 18th October 2019, which will cover the final witnesses, site visits and closing statements.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 5 (17 Sep 2019)

The Inquiry started and concluded examination of the Evidence provided by the Appellant's first witness around issues of landscape character relating to Matters 3, 4 and 7.

3. Impact on separation of Crookham Village from Fleet/ Church Crookham

4. Impact of site access, chiefly on listed buildings, being Cross Farm Cottages and The Barne.

7. Other impacts on the overall balance of benefits vs harm.

The Inquiry will continue tomorrow.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 4 (13 Sep 2019)

The Inquiry concluded examination of the Evidence provided by Hart's third witness in respect of Matters 4 to 7:

4. Impact of site access, chiefly on listed buildings, chiefly  Cross Farm Cottages and The Barne.

5. The need for accommodation for older people

6. Whether compliant with the Local Plan & Policies.

7. Other impacts on the overall balance of benefits vs harm.

 

The Inquiry then returned to the representation from the public and third parties which had been deferred from Day 3.

Representations were made by the following and all were in opposition to the appeal: 

  • One local resident
  • FACE IT.

Two matters of factual clarification were addressed, being the question of the highway boundary at Crossways and the state or lack of a public bus service to the site.

The Inquiry then proceeded to the examination Evidence provided by the Appellant's first witness regarding landscape character for Matter 2.

The Inquiry will continue on Day 5 which is scheduled for Tuesday 17 September.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 3 (12 Sep 2019)

The Inquiry convened in the afternoon to conclude examination of the Evidence provided by Hart's second witness in respect of Matters 1, 2 and 3.

1. Impact on the Heritage Assets, Crookham Village Conservation Area and Listed Buildings.

2. Impact on Character and appearance of Crookham Village

3. Impact on separation of Crookham Village from Fleet/ Church Crookham

 

The examination of the Evidence provided by Hart's third witness, regarding Planning (Matters 4 to 7) commenced:

4. Impact of site access, chiefly on listed buildings, chiefly  Cross Farm Cottages and The Barne.

5. The need for accommodation for older people,

6. Whether compliant with the Local Plan & Policies.

7. Other impacts on the overall balance of benefits vs harm.

 

After an adjournment the Inquiry reconvened in the evening to hear representation from the public and third parties.

Representations were made by the following and all were in opposition to the appeal:

  • CPRE North East Hampshire
  • 11 local residents, in addition to those which had been submitted but could not attend in person.
  • Crookham Village Parish Council
  • The Crookham Village Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

The representation by FACE IT and one other resident were deferred to Day 4.

The Inquiry continues tomorrow.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 2 (11 Sep 2019)

Hart District Council Offices, Fleet.

The proceedings continued with examination of the Evidence provided by Hart's second witness in respect of Matters 1, 2 and 3.

1. Impact on the Heritage Assets, Crookham Village Conservation Area and Listed Buildings.

2. Impact on Character and appearance of Crookham Village

3. Impact on separation of Crookham Village from Fleet/ Church Crookham

It was agreed that the public speaking session, originally timetabled for Wednesday afternoon, would move to a new time of Thursday evening.

The Inquiry continues tomorrow.

Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry Day 1

Hart District Council Offices, Fleet.

The hearings were opened by the Inspector, Richard Clegg.

The Appellants (Crookham Care Village Ltd and Mr. Hirst) and Hart District Council introduced themselves and their witnesses.

The Inspector asked for nominations for other speakers.  FACE IT, Crookham Village Parish Council, CPRE North East Hampshire, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee, and several residents asked to speak.

The initial timetable was adjusted to allow more time for witness statements and cross-examination and preparation time for the speakers.  The public speakers will be asked to attend on the evening of Thursday 12th September.

Although there were 10 reasons for refusal of the planning application, some further agreement has been reached and therefore the main Matters to be addressed by the Inquiry were confirmed to be:

  1. Impact on the Heritage Assets, Crookham Village Conservation Area and Listed Buildings.
  2. Impact on Character and appearance of Crookham Village
  3. Impact on separation of Crookham Village from Fleet/ Church Crookham
  4. Impact of site access, chiefly on listed buildings, chiefly  Cross Farm Cottages and The Barne.
  5. The need for accommodation for older people,
  6. Whether compliant with the Local Plan & Policies.
  7. Other impacts on the overall balance of benefits vs harm.

Opening statements were made by the Appellants and by Hart District Council.

Proceedings commenced with examination of the Evidence provided by Hart in respect of Matter 4.

The Inquiry continues tomorrow.

August 2019 Cross Farm Appeal Inquiry

The appeal for the proposed development at Cross Farm will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate.  The inquiry hearings are scheduled to run for 6 days starting on 10 September 2019 and will be held at Hart District Council offices. 

Hart will be defending their decision to reject this application.

December 2018 Cross Farm Appeal

The applicant for the proposed development at Cross Farm (160 dwellings and a 64-bed care home, plus communal facilities, parking, and the conversion of farmland into SANG) has appealed the refusal of the application by Hart.  

The documents relating to the appeal can be found at the Hart planning portal under the application reference 18/00045/OUT here: https://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=P2A85UHZ0EL00

The appeal has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate under reference number APP/N1730/W/18/3216181.  The Planning Inspectorate website is here:  https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3216181

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The application to build a care village at Cross Farm in Crookham Village has been refused by Hart planning. This follows a large community response in objection to the proposals coordinated by FACE IT, as well as objections by Natural England, the Hart Conservation officer and the FACE IT team.
There are 11 main reasons given for the refusal. Although the proposed scheme had been amended slightly from the previous submission, the planning department have concluded that it was not considered possible to deal with the issues set out in the reasons for refusal [...] through minor changes to the scheme, given the in principle nature of many of the issues.

The link to the decision can be found here 

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The consultation period has been extended to April 12th so please do comment now if you missed the original deadline. 

Crookham Village is threatened AGAIN by resubmission of this application with few changes.  This large new development would overwhelm the village, destroy our local environment and reduce our quality of life. 

Previous comments will not be considered – we need you to please comment again online at http://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applicationsor you can email planningadmin@hart.gov.uk with your response with reference number (18/00045/OUT).  

Or post:  Planning, Hart District Council Civic Offices, Harlington Way, Fleet GU51 4AE.

** Deadline for Comments Extended to April 12th 2018 ! **

In the draft Local Plan (out for consultation) Cross Farm is no longer a development site.  So this application is a last ditch attempt to get planning permission before the Plan is passed into law. 

If your objections now succeed and the application is refused, Cross Farm will be safe until 2032. 

The Council can’t take objections to the original application (16/03400/OUT) into account now, so please don’t simply refer to comments you made before, but submit new comments. You can use (incorporate, copy and adapt) your original points. It is tiresome to have to make comments YET AGAIN, but it is important and well worth it to save Cross Farm for the long term.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD THE FACE IT LEAFLET ON THE MAIN POINTS OF OBJECTION TO THIS DEVELOPMENT

What's changed since last time?

Supposed changes in application (which don’t improve the quality and suitability of the proposal):

  • The application is still for 160 dwellings PLUS 64 bed Nursing Home and Communal Buildings. 
  • The SANG is now private, with more detailed plans.  However, some of it will be inaccessible because of flooding and the proposed free access over the fields would have a negative effect on species of conservation concern.
  • The proposals now has 12 out of 160 affordable housing units: only 7.5%, whereas Hart’s target for affordable housing is 40%. The affordable housing has been grouped into an isolated corner ‘ghetto’ of the layout, rather than being integrated throughout the site.

 IMPACT ON THE CONSERVATION AREA, LANDSCAPE AND THE CHARACTER OF THE VILLAGE:

  • This proposed development would increase the size of the village by over 75% (from ~ 250 dwellings today to 410 + Care Home).
  • This development is not “in keeping with the local character by virtue of their scale, design, massing, height, prominence, materials, layout, landscaping, siting and density” especially compared with The Street and Crondall Road.
  • The development contains 3-storey buildings on the highest part of the development, some 10m (~33ft) higher than the surrounding houses on the Street.
  • The current Cross Farm open space is a key feature of Crookham Village’s historic linear character and its views are an important contribution to landscape character. The development would obscure views of the settlement from public vantage points and obstruct significant public views out of the settlement.
  • The development would significantly erode the recreational value of well-used footpaths in the field, with a significant amount of the footpath being through a built-up housing development rather than open fields, changing the experience and character of their use entirely. In addition, the imposing, dense and large new settlement would detract from significant views of the back of the Street and Crondall Road from the woodland and canal and vice versa, and down over the Hart Valley.
  • This development is clearly outside the settlement boundary, would dominate the village, negatively affect the conservation area, and impact on 23 statutory listed buildings and many local treasures .
  • It would involve loss of habitat for several species of national and even international importance (e.g. skylark).
  • The proposed water run-off is in a flood area, increasing the flood risk to down-stream properties and roads.
  • The site is located 3km from Fleet town centre – outside Government's 2km recommendation to enable walking as a credible replacement for car journeys. It is unsustainable, as it is remote from services & facilities. The elderly will not be able to use mobility buggies to reach any amenities due to the restricted nature of the Street and narrowness of footpath access. Vehicles park on the pavements, and the elderly will not be able to pass safely. Also, there is no crossing at the junction of The Street and Crookham Road which is a safety risk.

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Previous Planning Application (2017)

Bell Cornwell acting on behalf of a company called Crookham Care Village Ltd and Mr J Hirst have put forward an outline planning application under reference 16/03400/OUT for ‘Retirement Village’ at Cross Farm House, Crondall Road, Crookham Village.

The application is a Hybrid application for the construction of a 160 unit Care Village incorporating a 64-bed Care Home (Use Class C2) and central facilities building, together with associated vehicular and pedestrian accesses, junction improvements, estate roads, parking areas and garages, footpaths/cycleways and landscape works, with full details of change of use of agricultural land and woodland to provide an area of public open space (Site of Accessible Natural Greenspace (SANG)) and means of access to the site.

The retirement village would include a care home, apartments and independent living units.  The proposed accommodation is 57 2-bedroom flats, 103 2-bedroom sheltered housing units, and a care home. As proposed the flats would be 2 to 3 storeys high and the nursing/care home 2 storeys.  The buildings would occupy about 5ha in the northern part of the site (at the top of the hill).

The new development would be served by the existing access to Cross Farm near the junction of The Street and Crondall Road; the proposal includes junction improvements to accommodate traffic generated by the development with potential associated improvements to the junction between Crondall Road and The Street.

The outline planning application can be found under reference 16/03400/OUT on the Hart District Council planning portalhttp://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/onlineapplications or directly by following this link

CLICK ON THIS LINK to download the FACE IT Leaflet on the main points of objection to this development.  More help here on how to respond to planning applications.

If you wish to comment on the application – Please make your comments on-line via http://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applications by entering the reference number 16/03400/OUT and then clicking on ‘Login’ to submit your comment. You may need to register if you haven’t done so already.

Comments should be received no later than 6th February 2017.

Here’s a video we took, explaining why this site is such a special place‎

The Site – Cross Farm

The application site covers the whole of Cross Farm and comprises an extensive area of open farmland, scrub and woodland lying to the south of Crookham village and to the west of the Basingstoke Canal.  The site is adjacent to existing housing on The Street and on Crondall Road.  Several existing footpaths and rights of way cross the site including two main footpaths (public footpath nos.1 and 5) leading from the village across the fields to the Basingstoke Canal.

The site is within 5km of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) and to mitigate impact on this area the proposed SANG, extending to some 26 ha, would occupy the remainder of the site. The SANG would be created from the fields, scrub and woodland on the slopes and lower parts of the site, and it would be managed as public open space that would contribute to the overall provision of SANG land within Hart. At present, the public footpaths are enclosed by agricultural fencing where they cross the site and the fields and woods are not accessible to the public. With the creation of the SANG, the area may become more accessible but also would require active management and maintenance once transferred to public ownership. Public byway no. 13a on the south side of Zephon Common and another path links to The Basingstoke Canal towpath at a swing bridge crossing of the canal.

The restored Basingstoke Canal is adjacent to the site and accessed via footpaths through it. It is an important feature in the local landscape, traversing Fleet from east to south-west and following a sinuous course which continues around the east and south sides of Crookham Village. The Canal towpath which is fully accessible to the public and the entire length of the Basingstoke Canal in Hart District is a designated conservation area. The canal is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

There are no national landscape designations affecting the application site or surrounding area. Similarly there are no local (non-statutory) landscape designations in the Hart Local Plan 1996-2006 (Saved Policies) which is the current Development Plan for the district.

There is a designated conservation area at Crookham Village, taking in most of the properties in the central and western sections of The Street and along part of the eastern side of Crondall Road. Consequently, most of the application site’s northern and north-western boundaries adjoin the conservation area.

A conservation area has also been designated along the length of the Basingstoke Canal which lies close to the eastern boundary of the site. This section of the canal occupies a wooded cutting and, for this reason, it is physically and visually isolated from the application site.

There are no direct links to the local network of public rights of way on the west side of the application site.

Proposed Benefits

There is a growing older population in the district and parish. Problems exist in achieving a supply of appropriate housing for older people.  The benefit from the provision of appropriate and attractive specialised accommodation is that people approaching (or in) old age, who own homes of their own have an option that meets their needs and aspirations.  An incidental benefit of offering appropriate accommodation and care to older people is that family-sized accommodation will be released by their move to specialised provision.

The public rights of way would be preserved and extended with increased public open space available through the provision of the SANG comprising the parts of the farm not being built over.

The development would also provide some local employment opportunities in the care of people, and maintenance of the properties and the SANG.

Public Meeting

A public meeting was held by Bell Cornwell at Crookham Street Social Club on 29th and 30th March 2016 exhibiting proposals for “a new, sustainable extension of up to 170 retirement homes and a 64-bid Care Home next to a large public open space on land at Crookham Village”.  See information about the consultation here.  Local reaction to the exhibition has been reported as mixed.

 

Illustrative Image from the public consultation document:

FACE-IT Cross Farm

Proposed Building Layout

FACE-IT Cross Farm

Commenting on the Application

Previous comments will not be considered – we need you to please comment again online at http://publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applications or you can email planningadmin@hart.gov.uk with your response with reference number (18/00045/OUT).  

** Deadline for Comments March 13th 2018 ! **

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) 

The area concerned is identified in Hart District Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (December 2010, updated November 2013) as site SHL116 Cross Farm and is bounded as shown below.  Note that the area of the proposed development is on the highest part of the land nearest to the village centre and current amenities on The Street).

 

SHL116 Site Location  The Street in Crookham Village (top centre)  Crondall Road (N-S mid-left of picture)  Basingstoke Canal (bottom left to top right)  Netherhouse Moor (top right)  Crookham Village Crondall Road junction with The Street (centre)  Pilcot Road to Dogmersield (left) and Hitches Lane (top)  River Hart (runs from bottom up to left of Cross Farm  Cross Farm proposed site (large green area). SHL116 Site Location The Street in Crookham Village (top centre) Crondall Road (N-S mid-left of picture) Basingstoke Canal (bottom left to top right) Netherhouse Moor (top right) Crookham Village Crondall Road junction with The Street (centre) Pilcot Road to Dogmersield (left) and Hitches Lane (top) River Hart (runs from bottom up to left of Cross Farm Cross Farm proposed siteĀ (large green area).