A COUNCIL’S decision to rip up its draft local plan has got mixed reviews from residents.
Fareham Borough Council is set to tear up its Draft Local Plan 2036 that had earmarked sites for more than 3,300 homes across the borough after government changes to the National Planning Policy Framework increased the number of homes required in Fareham by 30 per cent.
Campaigners from Save Warsash and the Western Wards organised protests during the draft local plan process and entered a petition of more than 3,000 signatures objecting to the plans which placed a large percentage of the homes in Portchester and Warsash.
Matt Hall from the group said: ‘This is good news, however we remain concerned at the pressure this places on services, infrastructure and environment.
‘We hope that as the council develops its new plan it will undertake meaningful consultation with residents and demonstrate that views and concerns have been listened to rather than swept under the carpet or we are fobbed off with excuses such as “This is not the responsibility of FBC”.’
Rob Megginson added: ‘It is also hoped that the council will also look at a fairer distribution of the housing allocation and not the large majority of the new developments to the west and east of the Borough, possibly relooking at sites such as Newlands Farm.’
But Portchester resident Dave Wiltshire said: ‘What a complete waste of money. It is absolutely crazy.’
Fareham’s Labour Party also opposed the proposal which included many greenfield sites.
Caroline Dibden from CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) Hampshire said: ‘Our vision is that the countryside be viewed as a national asset, helping create a healthier, less stressed nation where residents are in tune with the environment and aware of their impact on it.
The remaining green spaces in Fareham are precious and of huge importance to local people.’
Councillors across the borough have told The News that starting over was the only option.
Warsash councillor and member of the planning committee, Trevor Cartwright said: ‘I don’t think central government has done us any favours with all the new rules.
‘Planning is a nightmare all the time because if planning is not approved then it could be appealed with costs awarded against the council because all the rules keep changing.’
Lib Dem leader Roger Price said: ‘The central Tory government has changed the ground rules at every turn and now the borough council has no choice but to start over to meet the new criteria which is a waste of money.
‘The government has inflicted these calculated figures on us just like other local authorities up and down the country but what Fareham needs is not what Warwickshire needs for example so how can you use the same formula.’
Portchester Lib Dem Councillor Shaun Cunningham added: ‘’What is so shameful, we are ripping up the local plan and yet we have passed large scale housing allocations that were given the green light because they formed part of the draft local plan, which we are led to believe is now in the shredder.
‘It is no wonder communities across Fareham have lost faith in the planning process.’