Developer finally submits plans for Welborne after long delays

PLANS for a new 6,000-home town have finally been submitted nearly two years after an inspector gave them his backing.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 7:00 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am

An outline planning application for the Welborne development was submitted to Fareham Borough Council today by Buckland Development Ltd.

The application – which includes the building of three primary schools, a secondary school, employment space and community spaces – follows a judge’s ruling last month that key land needed for the development would be sold for £35m.

BDL, the development company which represents the vision of major Welborne landowner Mark Thistlethwayte, confirmed to The News that it had put in an offer to buy the land.

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Mr Thistlethwayte said: ‘We’re delighted to be submitting our outline planning application for Welborne, which represents years of hard work.’

It follows lengthy delays, during which the council has begun to develop its own plans, announcing it would buy the land through a compulsory purchase order to speed up development.

Mr Thistlethwayte criticised the council’s plans and called for it to drop the CPO purchase, stating: ‘Our application could have been submitted far sooner but was significantly delayed by the council’s proposed CPO action.

‘Importantly, our outline application also addresses the key reasons that the council gave to justify pursuit of the CPO process – the submission of an application in line with the council’s Welborne plan that demonstrates a deliverable and viable project.

‘We now expect the council to drop the process of seeking a development partner and to support our application.’

Council leader Sean Woodward said the council would continue its strategy, saying: ‘Far from slowing things down, the strategy has actually pushed things forward and I am pleased to see the significant progress now being made.’

Government inspector David Hogger declared the Welborne plan ‘sound’ in June 2015 and following this, Cllr Woodward said there was no ‘meaningful progress’ until the council looked to purchase the land.

He added: ‘It was this strategy that sparked all of the recent activity.

‘Despite these new developments, however, the current uncertainty over the availability of the land at Welborne is key. The significant amount of land not currently within the control of BDL is considered necessary to enable the development to be delivered on a comprehensive basis.

‘It is important for us to continue with it until we are certain that the new homes are in a position to proceed.’