Chapter 2 Plan Aims and Objectives
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2.1 The overall aim of the Hart District Local Plan 1996-2006 is that of "sustainable development"; to provide for present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The District Council will aim to maintain and enhance the District's quality of life for both present and future inhabitants, by permitting appropriate development and protecting interests of acknowledged importance (including for example ecological diversity, landscape and built heritage).
2.2 The Council sees the wider issue of sustainability as not only protecting the environment, but also meeting genuine local needs for jobs, housing and services. Essential elements of the overall strategy therefore are the provision of local employment opportunities to support the economy and reduce travel needs, and the provision of affordable housing.
2.3 The principal objectives are as follows. To:
  1. Safeguard and enhance the District's assets and resources, including its attractive and productive countryside, ecological diversity, historic and built heritage.
  2. Develop a robust and diverse local economy, reduce commuting, generate wealth and reduce unemployment whilst retaining an attractive environment.
  3. Provide for the needs of local people for housing, shopping, social services and recreation.
  4. Control pollution and congestion by reducing the need to travel; provide more local choice of work, shopping and entertainment, promote public transport, enhance the town centres and make best possible use of existing built up areas.
  5. Ensure that any required development enhances, and is well integrated into, the environment of the District through its location, scale, design, energy efficiency and control of pollution of air, land and water.
  6. Create opportunities and use those that arise to promote, safeguard, and improve urban design standards and the visual quality of built-up areas;
  7. Seek to ensure there is equality of opportunity for all sections of the community, including those with disabilities, to enjoy access to facilities.
2.4 Hart District is situated on the edge of the Metropolitan Green Belt and is subject to intense development pressures. Much of the area is intimate rural countryside and is unable to absorb such pressures. In the past the District has been part of a designated regional growth area. High rates of housing growth have been experienced, and jobs and infrastructure provision have not been able to keep up with this growth.
2.5 The District presently has a serious imbalance between population and jobs, with a large number of commuters. This imbalance needs to be addressed in order to reduce commuting levels and ensure that future growth is sustainable, in the light of the guidance in PPG13: Transport. A wider choice of employment locally will help to address this problem.
2.6 Housing prices within the area are high and there is a significant concealed housing need as a result. The provision of a high proportion of affordable housing on all new housing developments is therefore a fundamental part of the local plan strategy.
2.7 The District is no longer within a growth area, and the Council now seeks to redress the inadequacies suffered as a result of earlier growth. Required housing development will be accommodated in a way that does not exacerbate but improves the standard of existing infrastructure. A good choice locally of shopping, social and entertainment facilities will reduce the need to travel further for these facilities.