Existing services ‘will not cope’ with build of new town

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THERE will be ‘carnage’ on the roads and a ‘damaging strain’ on existing public services.

That’s the view of residents who attended the second of four Community Action Team meetings about a new 6,000-home town near Fareham.

Locals met with the area’s borough council leader Sean Woodward to discuss plans for Welborne, after an outline planning bid was submitted by Buckland Development.

At Funtley Social Club, residents asked why the proposed schools, health centre and care home in the plan cannot be built before the first house is. Martin Smallwood, from Fareham, said: ‘QA Hospital and Southampton General Hospital are at full stretch, Titchfield Community Hospital is vastly under-used and Gosport War Memorial Hospital is totally unsuitable.

‘Gosport and Fareham need a new hospital.

‘If Welborne goes ahead there will be far too much pressure on the existing ones.’

Cllr Woodward said part of the answer lies within making more use of Titchfield Community Hospital, which currently operates at one third of its capacity, but admitted that as of yet the council ‘don’t have all the answers’.

Fears were raised about the proposals to alter junction 10 of the M27 into all-ways access, and the A32.

Derek Powell said: ‘My worry is the changes to J10 are going to cause the same problems J11 has right now, for the whole of the north of Fareham.

‘I feel strongly the roads can’t cope with the changes.’

Fareham Borough Council’s Mark Wyatt, principal planner for strategic sites, said along with Cllr Woodward that getting the infrastructure right first was a top priority and that the road plans were made by experts Highways England.

One woman living in the area added: ‘There’s going to be carnage on the roads.

‘They’re already packed during the morning and evening rush hour. The amount of strain that will be put on North Hill is dangerous.’

Parking concerns were also raised, but residents were told there would be an extension of the Bus Rapid Transit service, and that many spaces in Fareham’s city centre are currently under-used.

Welborne – if eventually approved – could be built strategically over five phases spread across 20 years.

The first could begin next year with 820 of the 6,000 homes being built, as well as improvement works and the construction of the first of three new primary schools.

The second phase from 2022/23 to 2025/26 would see 1,360 homes built along with a health centre and employment sites.

The second primary school and new secondary school would be erected in phase three from 2026/27 along with 1,360 homes, with the remainder of the properties split over last two phases.

Much of the 400-acre site is owned by the Benge family.

Buckland Development Ltd is hoping to buy the land, which is on sale for £35m.