Fareham Borough Council was criticised at an independent inquiry today for a lack of public consultation over plans for the new town of Welborne.
David Walton, from the Wallington Village Community Association, told independent inspector David Hogger that people have not been listened to.
‘All the local community groups are deeply dissatisfied with the consultation that has taken place so far,’ he said.
‘There have been endless petitions calling for greater transparency and greater honesty.
‘It’s almost as if the council are in denial about certain aspects of Welborne.
‘They are in denial over the negative aspects it will have on the existing community, on traffic congestion, the environment and the flood risk.
‘It’s our view that the consultation has been woefully inadequate. The public consultation has been an absolute shambles.’
Members of the public then broke into a round of applause.
Claire Burnett, head of strategic planning and regeneration at Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘We undertook consultation and we took those views into account as we developed the Welborne plan.
‘It was trying to come up with some positive solutions for the way Welborne should be shaped in the future.
‘We make sure in our statutory process that we consult appropriately.’
Protesters gathered in Fareham today as the inquiry into plans to build 6,000 new homes near the town got underway.
Residents opposed to the Welborne development between Wickham and the M27 waved banners outside Fareham Civic Centre.
They say that the new homes and the traffic they would generate need far better planning.
Organiser Jason Mudge said: ‘We strongly feel Welborne, which is 6,500 houses on nearly 1,000 acres of green fields, will be an absolute disaster for Fareham if it goes ahead.
‘We don’t think Fareham wants it. We don’t think Fareham needs it.
‘We think it would be a disaster for transport, for the environment, health, flooding and sewage. It’s not too late.
‘The independent inspector is looking at this now and we hope that when he looks at the plans he will see it’s full of holes.’
The inquiry starts today and will continue into next week.
Inspector Mr Hogger will scrutinise the plans for the new 6,000 homes at the inquiry.
To watch a video of Cllr Woodward explaining the inquiry click here.