TWO blocks of flats will be built in Fareham town centre after councillors gave the plans the green light.
The application to build 55 flats on land behind the Red Lion Hotel and Tesco was approved at the latest meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee.
Leader of the opposition, Cllr Paul Whittle, who is also on the planning committee, hailed the plans as an excellent example of building on land that had already been used for development.
Cllr Whittle said: ‘It is a very good development.
‘I know the town centre and I know the challenges that presents and this development is a good thing.’
The two blocks of flats will cater for the over-55s, with 20 per cent affordable housing. One block will be three-storeys high and the other will be four storeys.
The site’s entrance will be off the Tesco access road.
The Fareham Society raised objections over the amount of parking and the height and bulk of the buildings.
Six letters from members of the public raising similar concerns, and worries about Japanese knotweed, which is growing on the site, were also received.
Councillors discussed the level of car parking at the site, only 24 spaces, and said they would be prepared to accept the level, which is lower than normally required, as it was a site in the town centre and specifically for over-55s.
On the planning committee Cllr David Swanbrow said: ‘In my experience of visiting a development for over-55s, the car park is hardly used.
‘It is nearly always just visitors.
‘The people who buy these type of flats know there is limited parking and take that into consideration.’
Cllr Roger Price disagreed: ‘Parking is the main thing that we must get right. There is no way of going back and resolving the issue.
‘Where are the visitors going to park and where are the staff and nurses going to park?’
The councillors voted to permit the Hanover Housing Association development, with Cllr Price voting against.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Whittle said: ‘This development of 55 homes on brownfield land in the middle of Fareham is what we should be doing. If we approved 110 more of these type of developments over the next five to 10 years then we would have no need to build Welborne.’