COMMENT: £50m payout is vital to keep the Welborne vision alive

It's nearly five years on from a public inquiry into the 6,000-home Welborne development and a year since it received outline planning permission from Fareham Borough Council.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 12:11 pm

But not a brick has been laid. Why? Because building can't begin until funding is secured to expand the nearby junction 10 of the M27 at a cost of £75m.

This is vital to the whole scheme as at the moment drivers can only get on to the eastbound carriageway and off the westbound side.

Time - or the lack of it - has become a huge issue as the project is about to lose £24m if it's not spent by March next year. More than £30m was granted on that condition from the Department of Transport and the Solent LEP and only £5.9m has been used up so far.

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This has added to the £20m shortfall that was needed to get the motorway improvement off the ground.

So today we report how Fareham leader Sean Woodward, Hampshire County Council leader Keith Mans and the chairman of development company Buckland, Mark Thistlethwayte, have written to prime minister Boris Johnson and urged him to authorise a £50m payout to keep the Welborne vision alive.

They've got a pretty high-powered ally in Fareham MP and Attorney General Suella Braverman, who has lent her weight by writing to the Department of Transport and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to try to secure the cash.

Ultimately, if it needs the PM's sign-off then we hope his aides recognise its importance and it appears in his in-tray very soon.

Of course, he has plenty of other issues to contend with at the moment. But Welborne is a major project that will go a long way to helping meet government housing targets and address the shortage of homes in the south.

The harsh reality is that, without the £50m, it may never get off the drawing board.