180 homes for Whiteley will affect school

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PLANS for 180 new homes could put pressure on an over-subscribed school in Whiteley, it has been warned.

Developers are pushing ahead with plans to build homes on land designated for business use.

Goodman, the property developer behind Solent Business Park in Whiteley, is laying out the case for the plans to go ahead.

But ward councillor and Fareham Borough Council leader, Sean Woodward, said it could lead to parents living in the town not being able to get their children into Whiteley Primary School.

He said: ‘What would be particularly unfortunate is that if the land were used for 180 houses, then an equivalent 180 houses which can send pupils to Whiteley Primary School would immediately fall outside the geography for successful applications.

‘One could literally pick home-by-home the people who would automatically lose out if this development went ahead.’

Goodman had secured planning permission in 1993 for employment use with offices, a warehouse and distribution centres on land to the south of Rookery Avenue in Whiteley.

But after failing to find a buyer, it now wants to build 180 homes on the land.

Tony Charles, of Portchester Planning Consultancy, acting for Goodman, said: ‘We have spoken to the school’s headteacher and the county’s officers about this and they have said they wouldn’t object as a matter of principle to the redevelopment.

‘They are working quite hard on a broader strategy for schools in the area, including three primary schools planned for north Whiteley.’

Mr Charles is working on an informal submission document for Fareham Borough Council to put Goodman’s case forward for the change of use.

At a recent public consultation on the proposed change, 55 per cent of people said they thought housing was a good use for the site.

But Cllr Woodward said: ‘The plan to change the designation of the land from employment to housing is contrary to the Fareham local plan which was adopted by Fareham Borough Council earlier this month.

‘That plan clearly demonstrates where housing, employment, and so on will be built within the borough.

‘Fareham’s element of Whiteley housing is nearing completion and no requirement was seen to allocate further land for housing development.’