Residents hear details of leisure centre and inquiry

The field next to The Navigator Pub in Lower Swanwick which has had an application refused for 37 homes
The field next to The Navigator Pub in Lower Swanwick which has had an application refused for 37 homes

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MORE than 150 residents heard about plans for a new £7m leisure centre and got an update of a contentious planning inquiry.

Residents packed in to Sarisbury Green Community Centre on Friday evening at a community action team meeting, chaired by council leader Sean Woodward.

Plans for a leisure centre - Fareham Borough Council’s biggest ever project - were discussed.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘The pool plus all of the other facilities represents a long-standing commitment to the residents of the Western Wards of Fareham to provide excellent leisure facilities.

‘It is a huge investment and it has taken many years for the council to be able to save up that money and gain the land to make this possible.

‘It was community payback for allowing a limited amount of housing on the former Coldeast Hospital site.’

Mark Bowler, head of leisure, said the site will also have 100 acres of public open space, lakes, woodland, orchards, cemetery, football pitches, changing rooms and allotments and the complex is expected to open in 2016.

Residents heard from principal planner Jenna Turner, who gave an update on a planning appeal against the council’s refusal to allow 37 houses in the field behind The Navigator public house at Lower Swanwick.

The council received 130 letters of objection when the matter was rejected by the planning committee, saying it was valuable countryside.

The developer’s appeal will be heard over four days at Ferneham Hall starting on Tuesday, December 9.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘We already have sufficient land allocated for Fareham’s housing needs over the next 25 years.

‘We will see, at the public inquiry into the Fareham’s local plan, that we are under siege from developers and many of our strategic countryside gaps are under the control of developers who are fighting hard to get them allocated for housing.’

Ward councillor David Swanbrow said: ‘It is great to see the community come together in an area which has already had more than its fair share of housing over the years to fight this.

‘I very much hope the appeal inspector will uphold the council’s local plan and support the residents in preserving this small piece of open countryside for future generations to enjoy.’