Council hits out over government 2,000-home plan

A COUNCIL has taken a stand against a new government formula which would see an extra 2,000 homes built in a borough.

Monday, 6th November 2017, 8:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:39 am
File photo of builders: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Fareham Borough Council has objected to a controversial white paper put forward for consultation to all local authorities in a bid to ease the country’s housing crisis.

As previously reported in The News, councils in Portsmouth and Gosport were also against the new formula.

The formula allocates extra homes depending on a calculation taking into account house prices and job salaries.

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Last night at an executive meeting, leader of Fareham council, Councillor Sean Woodward, said: ‘I think it should concern every resident of Fareham.’

The council would have to build an extra 2,075 houses throughout the borough by 2036, taking the total allocation for Fareham to more than 10,000.

Cllr Susan Bell said: ‘It seems the government is trying to ensure that local borough councils have a local plan.

‘There are many boroughs and districts which do not have a plan.

‘But it causes residents confusion and more concern for how houses are being calculated for Fareham.’

The average house price in Fareham is £275,000 compared with an average income of £30,000.

Cllr Trevor Cartwright said: ‘I am flabbergasted at this proposal.

‘The government keep changing the goalposts.

‘I think it is bad news for us and I am not very happy about it.’

It comes after Fareham Borough Council announced more than 3,300 homes as part of its new draft local plan.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘Our council officers have spent over two years putting together the plan and this proposal would drive a horse and carriage through that.

‘It would mean an increase of 25 per cent for our housing numbers.’

Cllr Woodward also expressed concern following a conversation with a group of developers.

He said: ‘Last week I spoke to some developers about these extra housing numbers and I asked them if they would build more houses and they said no. Why would they build houses they can’t sell?

‘And as a council we would have to allocate more land for these housing numbers and then developers would be able to cherry pick where they want to put developments and we would lose control.’

Speaking at the executive, Cllr Woodward added: ‘The government needs to start again.’