OBJECTORS to a new 6,000-home town have taken their fight online in order to build a dossier of evidence to show that it is not wanted.
Hundreds of people have signed an online petition calling on the government to stop development on fields around Fareham, as plans for new town Welborne go to an independent inspector.
David Hogger will decide whether the new town is sound at a hearing in October.
Objectors are hoping to use this evidence, and the survey with its 484 names, to persuade him that Welborne is not wanted, although council leader Sean Woodward warned Mr Hogger would be ‘looking at soundness not public opinion.’
A poll has been running on website farehamdiary.co.uk a local interest blog run by Shaun Cunningham, of Shearwater Avenue. It shows 91 per cent of people are against Welborne.
He said: ‘Others will probably rubbish the poll, but it’s an exercise to find out what people really feel.’
Mr Cunningham said he felt there had been a lack of consultation and the council had used ‘loaded’ questions in its own survey that showed 74 per cent were for Welborne.
Mr Cunningham said his poll was a straightforward way of assessing opinion and that he monitors the poll to remove any double votes.
He said: ‘It shows strength of feeling and it should not be dismissed.’
Another objector, Mike Wigmore, has set up an online survey which he says has been filled in ‘at least 55 times’ and shows 86 per cent of people are against Welborne.
Mr Wigmore, of Thornbury Close, Fareham, said: ‘I set up the survey to see what people think. I even sent it to people that are pro-Welborne and said ‘here is your chance’ but still the overwhelming majority of people do not want it.’
A Facebook group called ‘Fareham Development, The Big Debate’ has been set up and has 550 members.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘It is not about public opinion. I would rather not have Welborne or any other development in Fareham but it would be unreasonable and it would mean all planning appeals would be granted.
‘We have to live in the world where there are difficult decisions to be made.’
He said he was surprised the polls had attracted such low numbers, given 26 per cent (equivalent to about 30,000 people out of a 112,000 population) had voted against it according to the council’s own survey.