RESIDENTS’ hopes of hampering the building of a new town were dashed when councillors voted to press on and pass it to a government inspector.
Last night Fareham councillors voted to approve the latest version of the 6,000-home Welborne development. It will now go to a public consultation and then on to a government inspector who will decide whether it should proceed.
Campaigners have vowed to continue their protests.
At Ferneham Hall, resident Shaun Cunningham urged councillors to reconsider.
He said: ‘You have the real honour to serve and represent residents and in doing so I suggest you have an obligation to listen to them.
‘I ask you to stand up for the democratic principles which underpin our political decision-making process. I ask councillors to reject the plan and instead start a real and meaningful dialogue with residents.’
His deputation was met with applause and cheers from the gathered onlookers.
There have been complaints that people have not been properly consulted over Welborne – claims the borough council firmly denies.
From this point, the council will not be able to amend the plan, which includes more than 70 different documents, before it goes to an inspector to be checked.
Council leader Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘It would be nice to bring down the drawbridge and say not another house in Fareham but that is not possible. This is not the end, it’s the beginning.’
He said if the council delayed it could miss out on £80m funding from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
The majority of councillors spoke on the topic before they voted. Nineteen were in favour, four against and there were three abstentions, and four councillors absent.
Leader of the Lib Dem opposition Cllr Paul Whittle was against the plan, as well as fellow Lib Dems Cllr Katrina Trott and Cllr Roger Price, and independent Cllr Nick Gregory.
Other councillors said they preferred the idea of Welborne rather than ‘infilling’ – building on pieces of land within Fareham, which they said would put pressure on existing infrastructure.
David Walton, of Wallington Village Community Association and Ruth Saunders and Ann-Marie Robert, from the Funtley Village Association, were in the audience and labelled the plan a ‘disgrace’ and ‘breathtaking hypocrisy’.
They said they would be making objections to Welborne to the inspector.
The public can comment on the plans for six weeks from Friday, February 28. To view the plan go to bit.ly/Mt3Cb3.