Buffer zone is not enough separation say campaigners

An artist's impression of Welborne
An artist's impression of Welborne
Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

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CAMPAIGNERS against a new 6,000-home town say they are disgusted that there will only be a 50m green buffer zone between new houses and their villages.

Community groups against Welborne were hoping that the distance would be changed at a council meeting last week – but this was voted out by councillors.

Representatives from Funtley Village Society, Knowle Village Residents’ Association, Wickham Society and Wallington Village Community Association went to voice their disapproval.

David Walton, from the Wallington association, said: ‘The settlement gaps between existing villages and Welborne are a mere 50m, which is just twice the length of the council chamber – how derisory is that?’

Ruth Saunders, from Funtley Village Society, said: ‘We are our own distinctive communities and the Welborne plan says there should be separation between communities. Fifty metres is not enough.

‘Welborne will just engulf us and we can’t possibly have two communities with such a derisory distance.’

Fareham North ward councillors Pam and John Bryant proposed to change the distance between Knowle, Funtley, Wickham and Welborne to a minimum of 150m but this was vetoed.

Cllr Pam Bryant said: ‘It is a town and it going to come so close to places like Funtley and we need some separation.

‘It is sad that we are going to lose this countryside and it is going to become an urban extension if we do not allow a sufficient greenbelt.’

Stubbington ward councillor Chris Wood proposed a 200m buffer zone, which was also vetoed.

Cllr Wood said: ‘It was an absolute shambles.

‘Fifty metres is not a buffer zone – it is a very small stretch of grass, less than a football pitch.

‘If we want to have two communities that will not impinge on the lives of each other then the buffer zone needs to be at least 200m.’

The changes to the plan for the new town Welborne, planned for fields north of Fareham, have gone out to public consultation.

These changes were recommended by an independent inspector after the plans went to an inquiry.

Cllr Bryant urged people to have their say, especially over the buffer zone distance.

To view the plans and make a comment go to fareham.gov.uk.

Consultation ends at 5pm on Monday, March 9.