Homes gets the go ahead despite serious objections

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CONTENTIOUS plans for 37 houses on a field have been given the green light by an inspector – to the disgust of residents.

Hundreds of people objected to the plan for the houses on the land next to the Navigator pub, off Swanwick Lane, Lower Swanwick.

Council leader and ward councillor Sean Woodward said he was disappointed by the decision and vowed to continue fighting the development.

He said: ‘I will be getting our council lawyers to have another look at it.’

The application by Village Green PLC was originally thrown out by councillors at Fareham Borough Council last February as it 
contravened the council’s policy, which bans building on designated countryside spots.

The developer appealed the decision and an inquiry was held in which independent government inspector John Felgate heard from all parties.

He ruled the development should go ahead, despite more than 120 residents objecting to it.

In his ruling, Mr Felgate said: ‘In view of the un-met housing need, the benefit of adding 37 new dwellings to the local housing supply commands substantial weight.

‘Together with the car park and the potential for townscape enhancement, it seems to me that the conflict with (the council’s countryside policy) and any other harm arising from the development would be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by these benefits.’

The inspector’s decision has been criticised by councillors as it came just a few days before changes to the plan for a 6,000-home new town Welborne were agreed and sent out to consultation, which could have changed the inspector’s decision if it had been done earlier.

Opposition leader Paul Whittle said: ‘This puts to bed the lie that Welborne is the solution to the housing needs of Fareham.’

Meanwhile, residents who opposed the development are unhappy with the prospect of more traffic and the loss of green space.

The site will now see 37 homes – a mixture of flats and detached, semi-detached and terraced houses – built in a cul-de-sac layout.

A total of 79 car parking spaces will be provided.