‘Heads they win, tails we lose’: Council leader criticises government policy over 2,000 homes proposed on Fareham green fields 

Fareham Borough Council leader, Councillor Sean Woodward
Fareham Borough Council leader, Councillor Sean Woodward

THE leader of Fareham Borough Council says he is practically back to square one as the government puts pressure on local authorities to build additional homes.

Cllr Sean Woodward believes that the government is forcing him to develop on green fields sites across the borough – and that any suggestion from the government that this is not the case is ‘disingenuous’.

The news comes after the government told the council that a new housing target would be put in place.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘We recognise that councils are putting in place plans to build the homes their area needs, and do not want to undermine this.

‘We understand Fareham Council is due to submit a local plan before next January.

‘If they do this, they will not have to comply with the new National Planning Policy Framework due to our six month transitional period.’

But Cllr Woodward claims that the government will be forcing the extra homes onto Fareham, regardless of whether the local plan is submitted.

He said: ‘They say everything would be fine but they are wrong.

‘The government is doing a housing delivery test in November that trumps everything else, so the new homes will be imposed on us anyway.

‘That test would mean that any local plan submitted would have to be reviewed immediately – so regardless of the outcome we would have to change our plans.’

Cllr Woodward says he currently has ‘no choice’ but to put forward a local plan that incorporates these extra homes.

He explained: ‘The advice I have is that we must produce our local plan with the new numbers.

‘It creates a lot more questions than answers and is an added pressure on greenfields sites.’

Residents fear that there may not be any green fields left within a few years.

Rob Megginson, 60 from Warsash, said: ‘The extra homes are going to have a massive impact.

‘The western wards in Fareham will be particularly affected - and all these homes are going into a space that doesn’t have the infrastructure to support them.

‘School places are limited and we all know what the motorway access is like.

‘Permission is already being given to site developers and it’s not a good situation for anyone involved – but we feel as though we are being particularly targeted.

‘In a few years, I doubt there will be any green spaces left in the area.’