Fareham councillors say ‘yes’ to new town Welborne

An artist's impression of Welborne
An artist's impression of Welborne
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PLANS for a contentious 6,000-home town to be built on green fields have been formally adopted by Fareham Borough Council.

The plan for Welborne, destined for fields north of Fareham, was adopted by a majority of councillors at a meeting at the Civic Offices tonight.

Many community groups and campaigners have spoken out about Welborne as they fear for the loss of countryside as well as the impact an extra 6,000 homes will have on existing infrastructure.

Anti-Welborne campaigner and Portchester resident Shaun Cunningham made a speech at the start of tonight’s meeting and called on councillors to listen before they voted.

He said: ‘Those that oppose Welborne are not going to quietly walk off the stage.’

Four councillors - John and Pamela Bryant, Chris Wood and Katrina Trott - voted against the Welborne plan.

Cllr Trott said: ‘Fareham residents neither want or need development on this scale.’

Two councillors - Tim Knight and Jack Englefield - abstained.

The rest - except Paul Whittle, Nick Gregory, Dennis Steadman and Roger Price who were not at the meeting - voted in favour of the town.

Councillors also unanimously agreed to adopt the Development Sites and Policies Plan, which sets out how the council should allocate other housing development sites around the borough until 2026.

Both plans were subject to independent government inspections last October, before they were found sound by independent inspector David Hogger in May.

Executive member for planning and development Keith Evans said: ‘The formal adoption of these plans by the council means we can now work with developers to get the very best for the borough while meeting the government’s requirement for new housing in this area.

‘Importantly these plans also provide strong policies that we can use to reject those applications in unsuitable areas which do not meet our aspirations for the borough.

‘It has been a long path to get to this formal adoption stage but we feel very strongly we have got the right plans for Fareham and its realistic and sustainable development for the next 10 years and beyond.’

Council leader Seán Woodward said: ‘Landowners who want to develop sites in the borough - including the land earmarked for Welborne - now have clear guidelines on how to proceed and what is expected of them and of the council. Importantly the council is now armed with strong policies to fight off unwanted and undesirable development.

‘We now await planning applications for the Welborne site - the ball is in the developers’ court to come forward with applications that accord with the plan.

‘But the adoption of these plans means we can now tap into a multimillion pound investment in infrastructure in the borough that will make these developments sustainable.’