Owens Farm west of Hook

Update from Hook Action Against Overdevelopment

Stop Owens Farm – West of Hook

The developer is appealing against Hart’s refusal of the Owens Farm planning application for 700 dwellings.  The appeal hearing starts on Tuesday 19th March.

Hook Action Against Overdevelopment invited Whitewater Valley Preservation Society to speak at the appeal against this development, because of the strength of our previously submitted objection.

We want to show the Planning Inspector the enormous level of dismay and concern at this application.

You can help do this in two ways:

  • Attend part of the appeal hearing
  • Display the poster above (click it to view & print)

The appeal starts at 10am on Tuesday 19th March in the Council Chamber at the Hart District Council offices, Harlington Way, Fleet GU51 4AE.  Parking is available in the Victoria Road car park.

The hearing will run until Friday 29th March, although likely to exclude Monday 25th March.  We urge you to attend whenever you have a chance.  You can come and go as you like during the hearing.  A large representation on the first morning will make the greatest impression on the Inspector.

The inspector will probably visit Hook on Monday 18th March and make other visits during the appeal.  She will not only visit the site but also other parts to fully appreciate the implications on Hook as a whole.  Thank you in anticipation of your help in trying to get this appeal refused.

We would also like to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you!  We have seen objections from over 310 people to the applications to deregister part of Jubilee Green / carry out restricted work on Hook Common.  A great result – thank you!

So what can you do now?

  • Attend parts of the Owens Farm Inquiry – from Tuesday 19th March, 10am. It really will help!
  • Print out the poster using the link in the email and display it in your window or at the front of your property.
  • Continue to watch out for and let us know about any signs of environmental, wildlife and traffic surveys or other indications of any developments around the village.
  • Please continue to spread the word about Hook Action Against Overdevelopment.  Encourage family, friends and neighbours to register for these updates at hookdevaction.org.uk/subscribe and follow us on Facebook.

Report incidents to Environment Agency

Environment Agency incident hotline
Telephone: 0800 80 70 60
24-hour service
Find out about call charges

Please call the Environment Agency incident hotline to report:

  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • pollution to water or land
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • flooding from any river, stream, canal, natural spring or the sea
  • incidents at Environment Agency-regulated waste sites
  • illegal removals from watercourses
  • unusual changes in river flow
  • collapsed or badly damaged river or canal bank.

AGM notice

Annual General Meeting

The Whitewater Valley Preservation Society is pleased to announce it will hold its Annual General Meeting on Friday 8th March 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at Heckfield Village Hall, RG27 0LG.


A. Chairman’s Welcome

B. Reports on the Society’s work re the River and Local Development

C. Questions from Members will be welcome

D. Our guest speaker this year is Edward Bullen, Cambridge graduate, Yachtsman and Banker, who lives in the Whitewater Valley.  Edward will give a brief talk entitled “Trafalgar, the other Admirals”. This will include some lesser-known and fascinating information.


We look forward to seeing you at this free evening for members, £10 for guests.

Members can return the RSVP slip with their membership fee for 2019.  Suggested membership subscription is £25 or £30.  All subscriptions are gratefully received; the subscription covers Members for two functions per annum, in addition to work being done by the Society.

Cheques should be made payable to the Whitewater Valley Preservation Society. Subscriptions should be sent to:

Mrs Sally Bullen,
Borough Court Farm,
Hartley Wintney,
Hampshire RG27 8JA

Alternatively, please email WVPS at ContactUs@WhitewaterValley.org.uk to notify us of your name and how many members and guests will be attending.  If you are applying for membership please remember to include your address and email address.

CPRE Hampshire meeting

Our Hart & Rushmoor countryside is a valuable resource – is it worth protecting?

CPRE Hampshire has kindly sent an open invitation to Whitewater Valley Preservation Society members to join them

on: Wednesday 24th October 2018 from 7pm

at: Church on the Heath, Elvetham Heath, Fleet, GU51 1 HA.

Join former CPRE Chairman Peter Wain and CPRE Hampshire for an evening of discussion about our countryside and have your say on future campaigns for the area.

Complimentary drink on arrival.

To book your free place, please visit CPRE Hampshire, email admin@cprehampshire.co.ukor call 01962 841897.

CPRE Hampshire is the Hampshire branch of CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Loddon Rivers Week

A wide variety of events are planned by the Loddon Catchment Partnership in the run up to World Rivers Day on September 30th.

Loddon Rivers Week runs from 24th to 30th September. Events include channel improvements and bank protection on the River Whitewater at Bassetts Mead.

To find out more and book your place check out the programme here.

LoddonRiversWeek poster

Loddon Rivers Week_ Booking Programme

Riverfly Survey Results 2017

The Whitewater Valley Preservation Society (WVPS) has been engaged by South East Water as a consultee in the production of the last two 5-year Water Resource Management Plans.  The Society has actively been involved with the Environment Agency and Natural England in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the production of the Loddon Catchment Management Plans.  We also campaigned for the river during Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy reviews and subsequent Restoring Sustainable Abstraction programmes, which finally resulted in a decision by Natural England that South East Water could no longer assume long term abstraction from the Greywell source.

The River Whitewater may look clean and beautiful but appearances can be deceptive.  Clear does not necessarily mean healthy.

WVPS, in conjunction with Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, selected 5 locations suitable for their Riverfly survey, from the source at Greywell to the confluence with the Blackwater at Riseley.

The detailed results were analysed at a laboratory and a series of charts produced, using data collected from other chalk streams to suggest conclusions which could be drawn from those comparisons.

Invertebrate scores in the Whitewater are all low for a river of this type:

  • EPT scores – Ephemeroptera (up-winged flies), Plecoptera (stoneflies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies) – should be around 20, but the highest is 13, and one location scores only 6.
  • Annual Mayfly species should score 10 but the actual scores were 7, 5, 3, 2 and 1.

Biometric measures use the different sensitivities of aquatic insects to subtle, but lethal, impacts from: sediment, phosphate, organic enrichment and river flow. Species level analysis provides a measure of the impact of these pollutants at each site:

  • Results show that most sites exhibit sediment pressure in Spring and Autumn.
  • Phosphate issues are more pronounced in the Autumn and are at or above the line of concern at two sites (Deptford Lane Bridge and Holdshott Farm).
  • Organic Enrichment from slurry and possibly untreated effluent is visible at all sites.
  • Autumn results reflect the impact of lower flows concentrating the sediment and phosphate load, although the Spring results are not much better.

The full WVPS 2017 Riverfly Survey final report includes a map showing sampling sites, and Appendix showing in more detail the 10 measures of ecological status used to analyse each sample.

Deer Park proposal environmental impact

The Whitewater Valley Preservation Society is concerned about potential impacts on the natural environment of a proposal to develop the Deer Park, Odiham.

A renewed application has been submitted to develop the historic Deer Park (Hart planning applications reference 17/03029/FUL).  The Deer Park provides open green space between Odiham, running down towards the River Whitewater as it flows through North Warnborough.

WVPS has made an objection on the basis that, if permitted, this development would harm the natural environment of the River Whitewater and its valley.  Particular concerns expressed by WVPS include the potential adverse impacts on Wildlife and Biodiversity, the quality of the Riverine Environment, Flood Risk and Conservation Areas around the river and its valley.

WVPS AGM on Friday 16 March

The Whitewater Valley Preservation Society held its 2018 Annual General Meeting at Heckfield Village Hall at 6.30 pm.  The packed meeting enjoyed a lively agenda including:

  • Chairwoman’s Welcome
  • Salmon & Trout Conservation UK’s Riverfly Survey – summary of findings
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • General Data Protection Regulations – requirements
  • Rural Hart Association – introduction and key concerns about the Hart District Council Local Plan currently under consultation
  • Election of the Committee
  • Questions from the floor and Any Other Business
  • Guest Speaker – Julian Seaman.

If you are interested in joining our Society please do not hesitate to email ContactUs@WhitewaterValley.org.uk .

WVPS opposes EA Charges

The Whitewater Valley Preservation Society has published its response to the Environment Agency’s consultation on its charges.

The River Whitewater is failing to meet Good Ecological Status (GES) under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).  As a direct result WVPS has raised funds to carry out a study into the Whitewater in the context of the Salmon and Trout Conservation UK’s River Fly Study.  The survey was conducted at five sites along the river, in both spring and autumn. Results from the first year reveal that all sites fail on both of two indicators of a healthy system.  Significant effort will be required to make improvements to the river’s ecology.  The type of work likely to be required will be directly affected by the proposed increase in charges for river works.  As a result, it will deter organisations such as WVPS from being able to carry out the works and thereby will effectively further damage, or at least fail to improve, the river ecology.

WVPS therefore objects to the scale of the Environment Agency’s proposed increases for charges for permits to carry out habitat improvement works in our local rivers.

There are many community groups, river trusts, wildlife groups and societies such as ours who, with limited funds, are currently making a real and important contribution towards improving rivers and streams and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive on failing water bodies.  The work of these groups is not recognised in the assumptions behind the revised proposed charges.

The proposed charges are extortionately high – far too great reasonably to expect small organisations to pay, especially for small scale community based work relying on charitable funding and volunteer labour.

The charges imply that there will be financial gain from river improvement.  This is simply not true for the projects, which organisations such as ours wish to undertake.  The benefit is to the wider ecology, to society, and to meet Water Framework Directive objectives.  This is work, which the EA itself should be undertaking or at least funding, to meet Water Framework Directive targets.

Read WVPS full response here: