COMMUNITY groups that have fought against a new 6,000-home town say that they will keep up the pressure, despite a council agreeing to push ahead with it.
Plans for Welborne were voted through by the majority of Fareham borough councillors on Tuesday, meaning building work could start as early as next year on fields north of Fareham.
Many groups have opposed the plan since its inception in 2004, such as the Wickham Society, the Fareham Society, and similar groups in Knowle, Wickham, Wallington and Funtley, all backed by CPRE Hampshire.
David Walton, from Wallington Community Association, said: ‘We have, for a number of years now, been concerned that residents are largely unaware of the huge impact that the thousands of homes will have.
‘Further development will destroy some 1,000 acres of countryside, cause enormous environmental damage and will also generate as-yet unquantified additional traffic and perhaps, most importantly of all, will adversely affect the quality of life for residents.
‘This is unquestionably, the biggest single issue that Fareham has faced in the past 50 years.’
Anti-Welborne campaigner and Portchester resident Shaun Cunningham said: ‘Those who oppose Welborne are not going to quietly walk off the stage.’
The groups have set up a focus group called Inform Fareham to address development and they hope that it will prevent other developments ever reaching the same stage as Welborne.
Council leader Sean Woodward said he would welcome any ‘positive engagement’ from the community groups.
He said he is meeting Funtley Village Association next month to talk through some of their concerns and he encouraged others to get in touch.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘Engagement is something I have always placed in great store and I look forward to that as a positive step.’
For more information on the focus group go to informfareham.org.uk.
An outline planing application for Welborne is expected in the autumn, and a detailed application for the first phase – 1,500 homes, a primary school and shops – is due to be submitted by the end of the year.