No-one could be happier than me to hear that Buckland Developments Limited has been successful in its bid to buy the ‘Benge’ land at Welborne (the Dean estate), and for anyone not concentrating over the past couple of years, this is a large parcel of land to the south of the proposed Welborne development site, that along with the Buckland land to the north makes up something like 85 per cent of the proposed estate (six other minor landowners) (Plans move forward as new land acquired for Welborne development, July 29).
Without going all ‘Game of Thrones’ – sole control of this land has been central to driving the proposal forward, and lack of just one landowner was the main reason the council has been threatening compulsory purchase on the whole sorry affair.
Anyway, this will hopefully now mean that Welborne goes forward, and I congratulate all involved, and the council will now be empowered to prevent other greedy landowners in their assaults on our other green fields, particularly the strategic gap between Fareham and Stubbington (the proposed ‘Newlands’ development).
So far be it for me to use my own fluids to extinguish Cllr Woodward’s bonfire on this, but since the Welborne hearings, land ownership has only been part of the story.
In maybe three years, I haven’t heard of even slight progress on my main concerns, which were and remain Welborne infrastructure, that is roads (motorways and local), primary health services, GPs, schools, utilities, sewerage, and leisure provision (I could go on), and in most cases planning has actually gone backwards, with objections to the Buckland proposals by the statutory bodies for each of these areas now.
And this glad news on land ownership hasn’t changed any of this. With Welborne infrastructure, the attitude is still clearly that we’ll build the 6,500 houses first, and it will all be okay in 50 years. I see nothing to suggest that Welborne will be any different to Whiteley, where the infrastructure is just coming now, 25 years too late.
I am certain that Welborne will eventually be a success, but I also see decades of utter chaos for Fareham first, particularly the north of the town. One last question to end with, how much did the council waste on preparing for compulsory purchase and can we have it back please?
Roebuck Avenue, Fareham