7,000-home town ‘could become another Whiteley’

Portsmouth MP flies out to storm-hit islands on first trip as development secretary

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A PLANNING expert has raised fears that a new town built in the north of Fareham could become just ‘another Whiteley’.

On the second day of a public inquiry into 7,000 new homes north of the M27, Derek Marlow, a chartered surveyor, voiced his concerns about the so-called ‘Strategic Development Area’ (SDA).

Since Whiteley was built it has been expanded with more houses being added over the years.

Its outlet village is set to be demolished and replaced with a new ‘district shopping centre’ after council leaders admitted it had been a mistake.

Mr Marlow told the government inspector: ‘The real risk is that the SDA north of Fareham is going to be another Whiteley.

‘If this decision put to you by the council is found sound I can’t see how that is going to work.’

Yesterday, government inspector Michael Hetherington heard that Fareham Borough Council had been given a target of 3,729 new homes in the south east plan in 2006 – which excludes the 7,000-home new town. It means that potentially 10,000 new homes could be built in the borough.

David Lander, a consultant for Devine Homes, said: ‘There is no doubt that the SDA is required to meet some of Fareham’s needs but I think what the council is saying is the extent to which that happens has to be decided.

‘They need improved choice for residents in Fareham in terms of housing opportunities.’

Linda Jewell, Fareham Borough Council’s head of strategic planning and design, said the local plan was a long process which could end up changing, because of the housing market.

She said: ‘Each year we review the figures.

‘There will be variations in the early part of the planning period because of the market.

‘These figures are an approximation.

‘What these figures are trying to do is to illustrate in spatial terms.

‘It gives people in these communities some idea of what might be expected to happen.

‘We recognise the fact that things may change.’

The public inquiry at Fareham civic offices continues today. It will then resume on Wednesday and Thursday next week.