Major housing plan could '˜tear apart Portchester community' residents fear

WORRIED residents fear their community could be torn apart if '˜damaging' housing plans are given the go-ahead.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 10th December 2017, 6:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:20 am

Dozens of people across Portchester have voiced their fears about proposals to construct hundreds of new homes in the village after a consultation period ended.

Under Fareham Borough Council’s new draft local plan the area could be hit with more than 11,300 new homes over the next 19 years – a figure which locals say could be catastrophic for Portchester.

A consultation into the proposals, which ended on Friday, earmarked at least 225 homes for top-grade agricultural land off Romsey Avenue.

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Other housing sites in Portchester could include 350 homes off Downend Road East and 120 by Cranleigh Road.

The council has previously said the development could be a key piece in the jigsaw puzzle of addressing the housing shortage faced by the borough until 2036.

But residents in Romsey Avenue said the proposal has been ‘half-baked’ and would be a disaster for the area if the correct infrastructure was not created.

Mike Townson, who lives in the street, has been staging weekly meetings with other worried residents.

He said: ‘The feeling here is one of great frustration with the local council.

‘There are some real issues with transparency and robustness of the local plan.

‘People feel they haven’t been engaged with the development of the local plan.

‘It’s critical we are listened to. We will end up being a community in conflict with each other and the new residents if they don’t listen to us.’

Fareham Borough Council leader, Councillor Sean Woodward sought to reassure residents that all their concerns would be heard.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘We don’t do consultations for the fun of it. We do them because we want to know what people’s views are.

‘We have got many hundreds of comments from residents and officers will be going through them all.’

Proposals for Romsey Avenue are being brought forward by Foreman Homes, which is looking to develop up to 250 homes on an 8.5-hectare site.

Residents living in the street fear the plans could damage wildlife and permanently erase a chunk of prime farm land.

They are calling on the council to reconsider where it allocates housing and to look to using brownfield sites elsewhere.

Other concerns include the proposed infrastructure, with residents seeking assurances that if any homes are built, they will come with new schools, amenities and road improvements.