Plea for Fareham’s ‘Berlin Wall’ to be brought down

The plot of land in Highlands Road in Fareham
The plot of land in Highlands Road in Fareham
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HOARDINGS around wasteland where a former pub stood have been described as the ‘Berlin Wall of Fareham’ by a ward councillor pleading for action.

The plot of land in Highlands Road has stood empty for five years after Hampshire County Council bought it and then could not decide what to do with it.

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Councillors at Fareham Borough Council agreed at the latest meeting of the executive to buy the land, which is boarded off, in the hope of putting housing on it.

Councillor Peter Davies, who represents Fareham North West, made a passionate plea before the council’s leader, Councillor Sean Woodward, in the hope of encouraging swift action.

He said: ‘Twenty-five years ago we saw the Berlin Wall come down and we have our very own version in Fareham North West. This wall that separates the wasteland from the prosperous bit.

‘Hopefully it won’t be long before this Berlin Wall will come crashing down, too.’

Cllr Woodward said there had been delays with redeveloping the site as the county council could not decide which department it should be used for.

He said that Fareham Borough Council had not wanted to compete with another authority at the time of the sale and waste taxpayer’s money by pushing the price up, but that he was pleased the site would be used for what the authority had originally wanted it for.

He said discussions had been held with ward councillors, who were keen to see the site used for housing, in particular one and two-bedroom flats, and that Fareham would progress to but the site at an undisclosed value from the county council.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘I want this done as quickly as possible. It is an eyesore and an embarrassment to have a boarded up site in the Fareham community.

‘Now we will be able to provide something that is desperately needed in this community – affordable housing.’

The council will buy the land, before putting in planning applications later this year for what it expected to be around a dozen flats.

Leader of the opposition Paul Whittle welcomed the news of the redevelopment and said that this was further proof that brownfield sites are the solution to Fareham’s housing needs, not large-scale development like proposed 6,000-home town Welborne.

Councillor Whittle said: ‘This is exactly why I have been saying for some years that sites like this will become available.

‘We have not exhausted all the brownfield development sites and these could meet Fareham’s housing needs.

‘Sure as eggs is eggs this is exactly the sort of site where opportunities will be presented, such as the development in Bath Lane behind Tesco’s supermarket.

‘It undermines the case for Welborne even more.’