Villagers vow to fight Welborne new town plan every step of the way

Residents during the meeting.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14897-2094) PPP-140327-221444001

Residents during the meeting.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14897-2094) PPP-140327-221444001

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RESIDENTS have pledged to fight plans for a new town ‘to the bitter end’ as scores of people went to the meeting of a village society.

Funtley Village Society held the meeting last night to advise people on the best way to object to plans for a 6,000-home town to be built to the north of Fareham, next to their village.

Plans for the new town, Welborne, are currently open for comments, ahead of being sent to an independent inspector who will assess the plans for soundness. If found sound, the plans will be adopted by Fareham Borough Council by the end of the year.

Ed Morrell, chairman of the Funtley Village Society, said: ‘The whole purpose of the meeting was to show residents how to respond to the Welborne plan as we have until April 11 to comment.

‘It was an ideal opportunity for people to get together and respond to Welborne if they are not in favour.’

The meeting saw presentations from committee members and guest speaker community activist Shaun Cunningham take to the stage.

Speakers Adrian Saunders and Andy Tower, both Funtley residents, went through the Welborne plan and spoke about the potential impact it will have on the village.

Mr Tower said: ‘I was quite surprised when I was out leafletting at how many people did not know this was happening.

‘We are fighting with our friends from Knowle, Wickham and the Campaign for Rural England. We intend to keep the pressure up on Sean Woodward [leader of Fareham Borough Council] and his chums every step of the way.’

Mr Cunningham gave an impassioned speech and roused cheers of ‘hear, hear’ and several rounds of applause.

Mr Cunningham said: ‘For me Welborne is a disaster, a disaster for Fareham, a disaster for the countryside and if that’s not enough, a disaster for our local governance.’

Passions were running high at the end of the presentations as members of the public got the chance to ask questions and make their opinions known.

Residents raised concerns over flooding, traffic, noise, subsidence, lack of healthcare provision and the date of installation of other infrastructure such as schools and employment space.

David Walton, from Wallington Village Society, said: ‘We have got to sow enough doubt in the inspector’s mind to make him seriously wonder if there’s enough evidence for him to find the plan sound.’

Percy O’Dell, from Funtley Lane, said: ‘The one way of shattering these plans is to vote, there’s an election coming up.’

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