Fareham Borough Council leader criticises new homes for town

PROTEST Fareham council leader Sean Woodward
PROTEST Fareham council leader Sean Woodward

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THE leader of Fareham Borough Council has criticised plans for up to 180 new homes in Whiteley.

Property developer Goodman has announced plans for the development on land to the south of Rookery Avenue in Whiteley, as revealed in The News yesterday.

It comes after plans to use the site for employment offices fell through, because no developers came forward after 17 years.

But council leader Sean Woodward is against the plans – as the council has already earmarked an area to the north of Fareham for 7,000 new homes.

The council is still waiting for the results of a public hearing into whether the new town can go ahead.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘The plans which have been put forward are totally contrary to the Fareham Borough Council local plan.

‘It is supposed to be for employment not for housing.

‘It’s going to depend on the result of the inquiry.

‘If the local plan that we had is found sound then we have allocated all the housing in Fareham for a generation.

‘The whole business of having a development of 7,000 houses was so we didn’t have to have to fill in all the gaps around the borough.

‘Also, if there were 180 homes put next to the school which is already oversubscribed, then that would be a problem.’

The area in Whiteley, which is on Fareham Borough Council land, would have created 1,500 jobs and would have seen employment buildings with more than 253,000sq ft of floorspace.

Cllr Woodward, who lives in Whiteley, has denied that he is against the plans for personal reasons.

‘Everybody, even councillors, have to live somewhere,’ he said. It’s not a personal matter.’

Tony Charles, of Portchester Planning Consultancy, which is working for the developer, said: ‘We think housing is the best alternative.

‘The government objective is making the best use of land in urban areas.

‘We think this is the correct time to be reconsidering the designation of the site.’