Leader defends need for Welborne at village meeting

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward
Leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward

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SCORES of people packed out a village community centre to hear the leader of Fareham Borough Council answer the question: Why Welborne?

A presentation was given at the Wickham Centre in Mill Lane, to the Wickham Society by Cllr Sean Woodward.

Around 100 concerned residents listened intently to an in-depth presentation, entitled Why Welborne? on the town, which will see around 6,000 homes built on mainly agricultural land to the north of Fareham.

Cllr Woodward said the 370-hectare Welborne was needed to provide Fareham with the 2,700 affordable new homes the borough will need by 2026.

He argued the rate of new homes being built is the same low rate as it was in the 1920s, yet population has been growing since the 1950s.

He said the benefits of building a large-scale single development would be that council could then use section 106 agreements to secure money from developers to put back into infrastructure.

Cllr Woodward said Welborne is destined to have three primary schools, a secondary school, numerous sports pitches, a supermarket, a household waste recycling area and a large central park.

A murmur went up from the crowd when Cllr Woodward presented figures that said that only two per cent of the daily traffic from Welborne was predicted to head north through the Wickham area.

Many residents asked Cllr Woodward questions after his presentation about issues such as hospital places, school places, the provision of facilities and job numbers.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘There were a lot of incisive questions. These people have got a huge interest and that’s not surprising as they are one of the nearest communities.’

Chairman of the Wickham Society Chris Hoare said: ‘There are some strong feelings in Wickham. It is going to be a very large development and there are some real and genuine concerns.’

Wickham resident Brian Eally said: ‘We are going to be affected more than most of Fareham, yet we do not have any say on what happens.’

Michael Carter, a member of the Wickham Society, said: ‘The presentation was clear but, I have to say, superficial. It seems lovely on paper.’

The plan for the town will be discussed at the Welborne Standing Conference tomorrow at Fareham Borough Council at 6pm. Cllr Woodward encouraged residents to come along and watch.