CONCERNS are being raised that fields are under threat and facilities are at breaking point as 100,000 new homes are needed to hit housing targets across south Hampshire.
Now the challenge is on to fit them all in, according to the chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, Councillor Sean Woodward.
The new target is part of a housing strategy being put together by Push, which is expected to recommend 102,000 new homes need to be found up to 2036, prompting concern from campaign groups and council leaders.
Christopher Napier, chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (Hampshire branch) said there were concerns about the use of countryside but labelled the numbers as ‘overinflated’.
Portsmouth’s council leader Donna Jones said the authority was looking to build about 10,000 new homes, although she said some of these had already been allocated to Tipner redevelopment.
But Cllr Jones has concerns about infrastructure and says she will be scrutinising the figures when they were published next year.
She said: ‘I am very concerned about the housing targets the government is forcing upon us.
‘We are already struggling with what we have got. I have massive concerns about infrastructure – QA Hospital is at breaking point, the roads are full.
‘The government needs to take a reality check.’
Cllr Jones said that the council would be exploring ways to meet the demand, such as building upward.
She said: ‘We are not looking at creating a Manhattan skyline just yet, but because our options are limited we have to give consideration to becoming a taller city.’
Gosport’s leader Mark Hook said his borough would take on only another 560 homes, on top of the 6,030 already in its plan up to 2029, as it was ‘full up’.
He said: ‘We don’t have the land available to provide much more. And if land becomes available, rather than building on every piece, it will need to be prioritised for providing more jobs.’
He said Gosport had provided many houses towards the target over the past two decades.
Cllr Hook added: ‘There comes a time, which is now, when you have to say enough is enough. If you want to build more houses in the region then you need more infrastructure.’
Havant’s leader, Councillor Mike Cheshire, said his authority would work with Push ‘to explore opportunities’, although he would not give an exact number of houses being considered. The borough’s current plan covers until 2026 and will see 6,300 new homes built,
Cllr Cheshire said: ‘We are a relatively small and predominately urban borough with internationally-protected coastline and have few sites which are capable of supporting further development.
‘The borough’s geography heavily influences the amount of additional development which it is capable of accommodating. No decisions have been made about how many further homes Havant is capable of accommodating.’
East Hants District Council, which has Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle that fall under the Push area, has also not decided upon a figure that it could possibly accommodate.
Its local plan is currently being scrutinised by an independent inspector. If found sound in February, it would see 2,185 homes built up to 2028.
Push is a partnership of Hampshire County Council, unitary authorities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Isle of Wight and eight district authorities, and its strategy will go out for consultation before being published next year.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘In real terms, Push is looking for 100,000 more homes. That’s the challenge that we face. Some of those homes will already have been built, or have permission, but the gap will need to be closed and that is what we’ll be going over in the next six months.’
He said Eastleigh would take about 20,000 and Fareham would take about 10,000. The biggest challenges would be finding room in Southampton and Portsmouth.