Councillor calls for the resignation of leader

Proposed development off Cranleigh Road, Portchester
Proposed development off Cranleigh Road, Portchester

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AN OPPOSITION councillor has called for the resignation of the leader of Fareham Borough Council after a developer won an appeal to build a green fields.

The planning application for the land north of Cranleigh Road was initially refused by the council in March 2016 and the greenfield site was protected by a development plan approved by a government inspector in 2015 following the approval of new town Welborne.

But now the developer has won an appeal to build homes on the land.

Liberal Democrat, Councillor Shaun Cunningham said: ‘The inspector’s decision is devastating for Fareham.

‘Cllr Woodward should now take the honourable act and resign. Cllr Woodward has relied too heavily on Welborne, a development which was always going to be problematic in its delivery.’

The application, made by Persimmon Homes, included up to 120 homes, public open space and a play area.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Roger Price said: ‘I think it is a terrible decision for Fareham as it opens the floodgates for other developers.

Cllr Cunningham added: ‘When Welborne was passed in June 2015 the musical chorus was, “Welborne would be our saviour” instead Welborne has been our downfall. Why? Because Welborne was never going to deliver in the time frame set out, the development was always going to prove problematic.’

In 2015 Cllr Woodward said that approving Welborne would protect other green spaces in Fareham from development.

Government inspector, David Hogger approved a plan to make it more difficult to build on 21 greenfield sites including the land of north of Cranleigh road.

Cllr Seán Woodward, said: ‘I am extremely disappointed with the outcome of this appeal as the Planning Inspector has failed to acknowledge the council’s clear commitment to housing delivery over the long term in its current planning strategy.

‘Previously I have said Welborne will help us protect other greenfield sites, nobody ever said “if you have Welborne you will never see another house built”.’

In regards to Cllr Cunningham’s call for resignation, Cllr Woodward said: ‘If every council leader resigned everytime a council lost a planning appeal then there would be no council leaders in England.’

Portchester residents have also expressed concern over the decision.

Sam Willis said: ‘I am very disappointed and worried for the future of Portchester, worried for the wildlife, worried for the schools, doctors, roads and really upset for the residents who all live very close to this.

‘Portchester as a community pretty much has said no from the start and this is just so disappointing.’

Lisa Kelso added: ‘I’m disappointed that our council couldn’t put a good enough argument to the appeal inspector. They couldn’t stop this so how will it be any different for the other green fields in the borough?

‘We were told the local plan would stop all this when it hasn’t.’