Residents launch new group in bid to block Welborne

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WORRIED villagers have formed a new residents’ association in order to fight a development in their historic village.

The Wickham Residents’ Association held its first meeting last month and saw more than 100 people attend.

Secretary Anton Hanney said that many villagers were worried about a ‘double whammy threat’ of development as the new 6,000-home town Welborne is planned for fields nearby, as well as more than 200 new homes on greenfield sites to the north and east in the village.

Mr Hanney, of School Road, said: ‘We feel like a nut in a nut cracker.’

He said that while the residents’ association recognises the need for more housing, and points out that 45 homes have been built in the village over recent years, the building of another 200 homes would worsen the ‘intolerable strain that Welborne threatens to inflict on Wickham’s infrastructure’.

Mr Hanney added: ‘It defies common sense to approve a building plan before assessing traffic impact and drainage.

‘But a lack of common sense is a thread that runs through both the Welborne and the village plan.

‘Surface-­water flooding already occurs near the two sites earmarked for building in the village.’

One of the aims of the new residents’ association is to strengthen opposition against new houses by forming a federation with similar groups, such as the Wickham Society.

Wickham Parish clerk Nicki Oliver said that there had been extensive consultation, studies and surveys done before taking decisions about where to build in the village, but she added that the parish council would welcome dialogue from the association.

She added: ‘We are pleased that they are taking an interest in the future of the village.’

Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, which is behind Welborne, said the council would welcome input from the association, especially over the new 6,000-home town.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘I would be more than happy to hear from them about what they would like to see and what they expect from Welborne.’

Mr Hanney said he would like to hear from potential new members. Email wickhamres@gmail.com or search ‘Wickham Residents Association’ on Facebook.