STATISTICS have shown that Fareham has the highest car ownership rate in the whole of Great Britain.
The figures, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, which is based in Titchfield, show that the town has 538.7 cars registered for 1,000 people.
The numbers, which were complied as part of the European Commission funded Urban Audit, show that car-to-people ratio in the town is 65 per cent higher than Portsmouth.
MP for Fareham Mark Hoban said the statistics showed that Fareham was a wealthy town, but added that this should reinforce the work done in the borough to strengthen public transport.
Mr Hoban said: ‘It does say something about people living in Fareham, it shows that a lot of people want to live here for the quality of life but end up working somewhere else. The fact we are on the M27 means people can work all over the south.
‘It does reflect a degree of wealth but it is also a reminder that we need to invest not just in roads but also in good public transport.’
The average car ownership rate across Europe was 436 cars per 1,000 people, with lower rates found in larger cities such as London, Glasgow and Manchester.
Car ownership rate across the 800 cities and towns included in the analysis was typically higher in medium-sized towns like Fareham.
Fareham’s rate put it in the top 15 per cent in Europe.
Cllr Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council, said the statistics could be seen in a positive or a negative light.
He said: ‘It is a positive that people in Fareham can afford to buy cars and it is a negative.
‘It is not so necessary to own a car in a city centre but it is in places like the western wards of Fareham where public transport is nothing like as good.’
He added that it also showed justification for the recent large sums of government money, including £25m for a Stubbington bypass, that have been approved.
Shaun Cunningham, of Shearwater Avenue, Fareham, is a campaigner against the building of a new 6,000-home town Welborne, north of Fareham.
He said these statistics show that Fareham cannot cope with any more development, which would lead to even more cars on the roads.
Mr Cunningham said: ‘Growth whether housing or employment without the correct level of new infrastructure expansion will lead to a much-reduced quality of life for Fareham residents.
‘Over the years what have we seen, before solving the present lack of infrastructure here, is our council busy creating new ones.
‘Welborne’s 6000-plus new homes, on average two cars to a households with planned infrastructure years away, is a recipe for disaster.
‘It’s a tragedy that the race for uncontrolled growth is being placed before quality of life.’
Cllr Woodward said the statistics reinforced the need to work on creating a strong public transport link to Welborne and focus on creating employment space within the new town.
The Urban Audit also looked at air pollution rates, old age dependency ratio, housing type mixes and population. The aim of the project was to ‘measure and improve city life by understanding urban environments and sharing experiences.’
Lowest to highest (car ownership per 1,000 people)
Presov, Bulgaria 166.5
Zgiers, Poland 1,333.5