Groups claim Welborne plan is ‘immature’

An artist's impression of Welborne
An artist's impression of Welborne
Have your say

COMMUNITY groups opposed to the building of a 6,000-home town say that a letter highlighting areas that need changing is proof the plan is ‘immature’.

New town Welborne, planned for fields north of Fareham, was the subject of a eight-day planning inquiry in October led by independent inspector David Hogger.

Mr Hogger is considering the results from the inquiry and has written to Fareham Borough Council, which is behind the plans, highlighting 23 areas that need changing before he can give permission for them to continue.

In his letter, he said: ‘I consider there are a number of shortcomings in the document, relating to soundness, which the council should address.’

Among the areas are pedestrian and cycle movements across the A32, impact assessments for retail and leisure developments, the location of the secondary school and the amount of affordable housing to be provided.

The Wallington Village Community Association, Knowle Village Residents’ Association, Funtley Village Society and the Wickham Society are opposed to Welborne.

David Walton, of Wallington Village Community Association, said: ‘Clearly he has found the plan unsound in its present form and while some of the changes will be relatively straight forward for the council to address, there are others which will be far more difficult.’

Ruth Saunders, from Funtley Village Society, said it was particularly pleased to see concerns over the buffer zone between the town and Funtley, as well as noise and light pollution.

Mrs Saunders said: ‘We have been highlighting buffer zones and other deficiencies for some time such as flood risks, household waste collections among other things all the way along. It is nice that the inspector has recognised that there are still issues that need responses.

‘We’ve always said the plan was immature and it seems the inspector has agreed with us.’

Michael Carter, from the Wickham Society, said: ‘We are delighted that the inspector is taking a realistic view and we agree with the other community groups that the plan is immature and needs serious work.’

However, executive member for planning and development Keith Evans said the changes were ‘expected’.

He said: ‘This is another important milestone in the development of the Welborne plan. The changes the inspector has asked us to make were discussed at the examination hearing sessions and were expected.’

The council will discuss the changes at its next full council meeting, before putting them out to a six-week consultation.