‘We feel like we’ve been grossly misled over Welborne plan...’

Welborne development protesters at Fareham Civic Offices
Welborne development protesters at Fareham Civic Offices
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COMMUNITY groups say the planned development of a 6,000-home new town north of Fareham far outweighs the need, as the independent inquiry reached a conclusion.

The inquiry looked at whether Fareham Borough Council’s local plan for Welborne is sound.

It would be built between Wickham and the M27.

David Walton of the Wallington Village Community Association, spoke on behalf of all the community groups.

They have expressed concerns over healthcare provision, traffic, self-containment, wastewater and infrastructure.

Speaking after the inquiry, he said: ‘We believe the inquiry has exposed very significant shortcomings in both the Welborne plan and the evidence base that supports it.

‘Community involvement needs to be improved to become a process whereby it is monitored, listened to and the community view included in any development.

‘The scale of the proposed development is far in excess of that required to support Fareham’s affordable housing need.

‘It is our view that borough residents have been grossly misled by the council.’

Speaking after the hearing, Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘The government inspector has listened to evidence from the council, landowners, protesters, groups and other interested parties for the past two weeks where a number of these points were discussed and evidence provided.

‘He will consider the evidence he has heard and read and will come to his conclusion about whether or not the council’s plan for managing this development appropriately is sound.’

Yesterday focused on the delivery, viability and funding as well as monitoring processes that will take place to ensure the project is completed.

Residents raised concerns about whether or not the funding is available to deliver the infrastructure.

Ruth Saunders said: ‘I’d like some assurance of some independent assessment.’

Concerns were raised about whether or not public funding will be provided for the project, and if the general election could affect it.

But there were claims that all political parties tend to support these schemes.

Inspector David Hogger has asked the borough council to make alterations to the plan.

This will then be sent out to public consultation. After that, Mr Hogger will publish his report on whether or not the plan is sound.