COMMENT: We need the M27 upgrade - but we also need the housing

For a long time, it was said that work would start on building Welborne, a new ‘garden village’ north of Fareham, in 2016.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 7:00 am

And yet, here we are in the final quarter of 2019 and the first brick is still some way from being laid.

As with any major development, there has been a great deal of wrangling over the number of affordable homes to be included. When we’re talking about an overall number of about 6,000 new homes, that should include a significant number of affordable properties.

However, developers are not renowned for their philanthropic inclinations – they didn’t get where they are by being charitable organisations.

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Affordable homes have an impact on the land’s revenue.

As a result, we often hear of developers pushing down the numbers of affordable homes.

But in this instance, it seems that Buckland Development is making the suggestion to cut up to 600 affordable homes to help fund another vital aspect of the project – improving junction 10 of the M27.

It is a rock and a hard place – the motorway improvements are essential; as is the need for new accommodation actually within financial reach of first-time buyers and those on lower wages. A less charitable person might call it a farce.

The percentage of affordable housing is currently meant to be 30 per cent – considerably lower than campaigners would have liked.

Over the course of more than a decade, since it was first mooted, the garden village project has been mired in controversy – whether it be the number of homes, the inclusion of infrastructure (or lack thereof), or even its very existence.

Affordable homes are vital. We hope this offer to help plug the £30m funding in the motorway works at the temporary expense of affordable housing doesn’t become a permanent part of the plan.