Garden city could be put into new Fareham town

DESIGN A scene from the centre of Poundbury in Dorset
DESIGN A scene from the centre of Poundbury in Dorset

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GREEN space and gardens are things that make living in a highly-populated town bearable.

Looking to learn from other towns, a group of people interested in the new development north of Fareham visited Poundbury to find novel ways of applying green space to urban developments.

Poundbury, in Dorset, is The Prince of Wales’ project and is the urban extension to Dorchester. It is famous internationally as a pioneering example of urban development.

Development began on Poundbury in 2002 and is expected to be completed in 2025. Once complete, it will add 5,000 to Dorchester’s population and create 2,000 jobs across the site.

The Fareham group was comprised of council members, landowners, residents and residents’ associations. They were led by Henry Cleary, who has been appointed as the independent advisor to the strategic board and was elected as the independent chairman for the group.

The group was looking at ways to implement a garden city principle – a concept created by social reformers as a reaction to dense, polluted urban living.

Some suggestions for the new Fareham development include making the nearby landscape more accessible, linking the site to the South Downs, a tree screen for the M27, creating a central park and making the green gaps with Wickham and Knowle stronger.

Mr Cleary said: ‘Why should we be cramping people into less and less space when if we take a little more time, we could create a place where people can grow their own vegetables and a place where people actually want to live.’

Other places to have implemented a garden city principle include Letchworth, Hertfordshire and Nene Park, Peterborough.

Mr Cleary said: ‘We have the ability to put this new development on the map and make people feel proud to live there.’

Some people have expressed fears that this garden city approach is too late.

But Mr Cleary said: ‘A lot of the issues we are now facing are to do with how we lay out the development and how it is designed. It is a very good moment to be looking at developments like Poundbury.’

Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘We are constantly learning from the successes and mistakes of other developments to make sure we get it right here in Fareham.’