Welborne developer suggests cutting 600 affordable homes from plan to fund £30m gap in M27 junction upgrade budget
A MAJOR development in Fareham has proposed cutting up to 600 affordable homes in order to plug a £30m gap in a key motorway project.
Developer Buckland Development has proposed cutting the number of affordable homes in new town Welborne to finance improvements to the Junction 10 on the M27.
A site-wide viability report suggests Buckland, Fareham Borough Council and Hampshire County Council approach government agencies for anywhere between £20m to £30m to complete the motorway works.
But ‘a last resort’ plan proposed by the developer would see FBC ‘reducing the level of affordable housing’ required at the site, with the developer then footing the bill for the gap.
Councillor Shaun Cunningham, who sits on the council’s planning and development scrutiny panel, said the proposal was unacceptable as Welborne had been put forward as the major answer to the issue of affordable housing in Fareham.
He said: ‘Not so many years ago at the public inquiry we were talking about 50 per cent affordable housing.
‘Now we are talking about 30 per cent – but even that’s not guaranteed.’
He said the proposal would lead to a ‘miserable level’ of affordable homes.
In 2015, Fareham's Local Plan aimed for Buckland to have affordable homes making up to 30 per cent of Welborne properties.
The report shows that 10 per cent affordable housing on the site has an impact of £30m-£40m on land revenue.
But the council would ‘not for a moment’ consider changing the level of affordable housing, according to leader Sean Woodward.
He said the ‘significant’ funding gap for Junction 10 was due to ‘skyrocketing’ construction inflation, and it would be ‘far easier’ to address once Welborne received planning approval later this year.
This year it was estimated that delays to Junction 10 were costing £83,000 a day.
He added: ‘I will be approaching Homes England, who we have a good relationship with.’
The proposal comes alongside the announcement only 10 per cent of the first 1,000 homes will be affordable to ‘make the scheme viable’.
Buckland’s managing director John Beresford said after this first phase, the developer has plans ‘to get back to the overall target level of 30 per cent affordable housing.’