Fareham housing waiting list is tackled by new £8.2m plan

The Palestine solidarity march in Commercial Road, Portsmouth on Saturday Picture: Duncan Shepherd

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AN £8.2m scheme will see dozens of new council homes built in Fareham.

It is part of a plan that will see 500 council homes built in the area by 2017.

In total, £5.5m will be spent building 36 sheltered housing units at Coldeast, Park Gate, £854,000 on six homes at Coldeast Close, Sarisbury and £1,850,000 on 16 one-bedroom flats at Palmerston Avenue, totalling 58 homes on brownfield sites.

The money includes preparing the land as well as the construction.

Council leader Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘We have thousands of people waiting for housing. You don’t think of Fareham as having a huge housing need but it does.

‘We have one of the highest owner-occupancy rates in the country – that’s good for people who own homes but it means there is a very small rented sector.’

The new homes will be rented directly from the council at 80 per cent of the market rate. The council will apply by the end of April to the Homes and Communities Agencies Affordable Homes Programme, which will pump £4.5bn into affordable housing by 2015.

The Lib Dem opposition praised the idea, saying it was preferable to building Welborne, a proposed 6,000-home town on fields north of Fareham.

Opposition leader Cllr Paul Whittle said: ‘These new proposals can be delivered more quickly and flexibly which meets the immediate and imminent needs.

‘Welborne will take a long time to arrive and much of the infrastructure, such as schools, is even further off.’

He also raised concerns that providing so many new houses would encourage people to move to the area

He added: ‘The case for Fareham’s total future housing capacity is an estimate and largely unproven. It certainly is not required for local people in the volumes now being proposed by Welborne, the local plan and these other development initiatives.

‘It will result in significant inward migration rather than providing for local people.

‘Welborne was sold to everyone as the answer for the needs of local people with plenty of extra capacity on top. What we have now is over-development, after adding everything together.’

A further six sites have also been identified as potential sites for development – Bridge Road and Holly Close, Sarisbury, rear of Menin House and Privett Road, Fareham North West, and rear of Castle View Road and Newtown, in Portchester.