COMMENT: New homes needed - and they have to go somewhere

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It’s very easy to label people who don’t want homes built next to them as NIMBYs.

But how would you feel if the houses were being proposed in your neighbourhood?

Across the Portsmouth area and indeed the nation, groups of residents are busy fighting against developments that they say will take away green fields forever and put too much pressure on the already-stretched local infrastructure.

The difficulty, of course, is that new homes need to be built and they have to go somewhere.

There is a chronic shortage of property and housebuilders have been challenged by the government to provide a million new homes between 2015 and 2020.

Before they can even submit plans, though, they have to find pieces of land on which to build. And that is where the controversy comes.

Today we report how an application for 49 homes at land in Portchester has led to a long-running dispute between residents and the owners of the site, the Churchlands Trust and Danisco.

It was refused by Fareham Borough Council last week – but the owners had already cleared the site in the expectation of being granted permission. Resident Kirsten Wiltshire said the site, a former allotment, had been ‘completely decimated’, destroying wildlife habitats.

The owner’s actions have clearly caused a lot of upset and that’s understandable. It appears that they took the planning process for granted and didn’t bank on getting a ‘no’ from the council.

Kirsten added: ‘It feels like a small victory in a rather large war against housing.’

And therein lies the problem. All the while people think they are in a ‘war’, housebuilders will continue to be demonised while trying to provide the houses we need as a country.