Anger as petition ‘kicked into long grass’ by council

Save Warsash protesters on their march last December
Save Warsash protesters on their march last December
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CAMPAIGNERS are furious after a 2,500 signature petition against planning in their neighbourhood was not heard before committee.

The petition to prevent the building of 1,500 new homes across Warsash, Locks Heath, Park Gate and Titchfield Common from development was given in to Fareham Borough Council in December last year but is yet to be debated.

Rob and Hilary Megginson who organise the Save Warsash and the Western Wards campaign group entered a complaint to the council in February and the Scrutiny Board is to due to meet this evening for a review into the handling of the petition.

Hilary said: ‘The residents of the Western Wards are extremely frustrated that they are not being listened to and their views are not being taken into account in the consultation over the Draft Local Plan.

‘Despite a peaceful protest march of nearly 500 people took place around Warsash and a public meeting to provide information to around 150 residents was held at the Victory Hall, we needed to find alternative ways to demonstrate the strength of feeling by bringing together people who shared a view on the biggest change to the look, feel and culture of our area for years.

‘A petition provided the opportunity to formally register the public’s concerns.’

An extract of the petition read: ‘We the undersigned petition the council to stop the building of 1,500 new homes in Warsash, Locks Heath, Park Gate and Titchfield Common.

‘Whilst it is appreciated that the task is not an easy one, there are many sites that we believe the council should be looking at that are more suitable than Warsash and the Western Wards, such as Newlands Farm.

Resident and campaigner Vic Styles added: ‘Our petition has been kicked into the long grass.’ It comes after a string of backlashes from residents over recent planning in the Fareham borough.

Locals held a protest outside of the civic offices before a meeting to decide three separate planning applications for 405 homes in Brook Lane in Warsash.

In the documents for the meeting tomorrow, the outcomes wanted by the petition include recalling all planning applications that have been granted outline planning permission since the petition was submitted and a full apology for the their treatment by Democratic Services, other council officers and planning committee members.

Executive member for planning and development Councillor Keith Evans said: ‘The board is going to look at how the petition was handled and it is an awkward situation due to the fact it was handed in for the local draft plan during the public consultation and that will be reviewed altogether.

‘In terms of the planning for applications being revoked that have already gone through is not going to happen unless it were to go to a judicial review which is very expensive.’

The meeting takes place tonight at the civic offices at 6pm.