Worries new town North of Fareham will lead to loss of identity

SITE The fields on which the new homes will be built
SITE The fields on which the new homes will be built
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PEOPLE who will be living immediately to the north of a planned new town of up to 7,500 homes have expressed worries about its impact on their existing community.

At a special meeting for residents of Wickham, Cllr Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council, fielded questions about the development, known as the North Fareham strategic development area (SDA).

But many of the 200 people who packed into Wickham Community Centre last night were angry that Fareham Borough Council appears to be intending to put the town, roughly the size of Petersfield, on their doorstep without ample buffers between them.

Plans showing the proposed area for the SDA highlighted areas intended to provide buffers between the existing and new communities. But the two suggested main green buffers are on Winchester City Council land.

One woman said: ‘You are clearly looking after the interests of Fareham, but what about Wickham and our loss of character, our loss of identity, when you build this?

‘There’s no green corridor along the A32. You don’t seem to care about Wickham, your neighbours.’

Cllr Woodward responded: ‘While the principle of this new community is agreed, it will happen, but within that envelope anything is possible and there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a green buffer between Wickham and Fareham.

‘This isn’t to answer with sloping shoulders, but this is an issue for the Fareham action plan which will be formulated over the next two years, and that too has to be tested by a public review.’

The area action plan is a document that the council will compile to give a detailed plan for the SDA. It has pledged to consult extensively on this document.

Caroline Dibden, who campaigned against the town as a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, told Cllr Woodward: ‘We know you are protecting all of your strategic gaps in Fareham.

‘I might suggest that the reason, you don’t care about this strategic gap is that none of us here are your voters.

Cllr Woodward agreed to put on a pair of presentations about the SDA for people in Knowle and Wickham – both of which are in Winchester City Council’s area – but whose residents stand to be most affected by the new homes. He had previously done the presentation several times across Fareham throughout the summer.