Welborne Garden Village could see affordable housing slashed if M27 junction works continue to spiral
A 6,000-home development to the north of Fareham could see fewer than one in ten homes as affordable housing if a vital motorway work needs additional funding.
The Welborne Garden Village has been 20 years in the making – but its creation hinges on improving Junction 10 of the M27 so it can accommodate the predicted increase in traffic.
The £75m infrastructure project has ballooned in cost as it has stalled over the years, with an estimated budget of just £30m in 2017.
Welborne’s developer, Buckland Development Ltd, agreed to double its spend on the motorway works – raising its contribution to £40m – earlier this year, and now it is prepared to cough up more cash should the motorway costs continue to spiral.
If this happens, Buckland have proposed ‘back-stop’ where they will provide up to £10m to cover additional costs – but to cover these costs, it wants to be able to cut affordable housing below its 10 per cent of stock requirement.
In a statement sent to Fareham Borough Council, John Beresford, the managing director of Buckland, said: ‘As the affordable housing has been set at a baseline of 10 per cent to date, it is our understanding that this will necessitate a return to your planning committee to discuss this change.
‘It is important that I set out here that Buckland remain absolutely committed to the delivery of affordable housing at Welborne, up to the target of 30 per cent.’
Fareham council’s executive leader, Councillor Sean Woodward, said ‘massive contingencies’ were in place with budgets that well-exceeded expectations of Junction 10’s final bill.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘It’s all about de-risking the scheme so it can go ahead. We are now looking at funding in the bag much higher than anyone could ever believe Junction 10 could ever cost.
‘The real fear all the way through this has been that Highways England does something that massively increases the costs.
‘Highways England has now agreed to sign up to an agreement where if they do anything the costs will fall on them. So now we shall have a safety vale.’
In a statement to The News, a spokeswoman from Buckland described the back-stop as a ‘prudent project solution’ that is ‘not unusual’ for such large-scale works.
She said: ‘We have continued to work with our local authority partners and Government to bring forward the creation of Welborne Garden Village and are keen to start delivering on the project to build homes and create jobs that will boost the local economy – including plans for a Science and Technology Park at Welborne.
‘Together, we have developed a ‘back stop’ funding mechanism in the event of any future cost increases for the new Junction 10.’
The revised Welborne Garden Village plan is due to appear before Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee in July.