Housing debate splits parties in election run-up

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THE thorny issue of where to build much-needed new homes is one election issue that is dividing communities – and even political parties.

Few deny that there is a shortage of affordable homes for first-time buyers, but choosing where to put them can be highly controversial.

To the north of Fareham there are plans to build up to 7,500 homes, while in Havant 200 homes could be built at the former Manor Farm and Copsey’s Nursery, as part of the borough’s strategy to build 6,500 new homes by 2026.

Such has been the depth of feeling expressed by residents that Fareham North councillor John Bryant, who is up for re-election next month, has spoken out against plans put forward by his Tory colleagues.

He said: ‘There is a need for housing, but whether there is a need for housing in a mass of 7,000 houses in the north of Fareham is very debateable.

‘It is the impact 14,000 extra cars are going to have which worries many people.

‘Some people will vote against it because they feel it is going to ruin north Fareham. All areas have got to share in this requirement for cheap housing.’

The Green candidate in Havant’s St Faith’s ward, Tim Dawes, said the council was in danger of building on greenfield sites and closing the gaps between Havant and Emsworth.

He said: ‘The local Tories are looking to build a lot of new homes without the infrastructure to support them. That is the kind of thing we are opposed to and there are a lot of people who are unhappy with that.

‘They are letting these people down and they are not necessarily nimbys, they are people worried about unsustainable development.’

But the leader of Havant Borough Council, Cllr Tony Briggs, said homes had to be built somewhere to house a growing population.

‘The bottom line is that we have a large amount of people still waiting to be housed,’ he said.

‘If the greens want us to build on brownfield sites I wish they would show us where they are, because we have to live in the real world and make sure the younger generation doesn’t miss out.’