Meeting held over petition branded ‘a waste of time’

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CAMPAIGNERS have labelled a meeting to discuss the handling of a petition ‘a waste of time’.

Rob and Hilary Megginson from the Save Warsash and the Westerns Wards group entered a petition against excessive planning with nearly 2,400 signatures to Fareham Borough Council in December last year.

The pair complained in February claiming that the petition had been incorrectly handled by the council.

At the scrutiny board meeting last night, Hilary said: ‘We felt the need along with many other residents to sign this petition as we feel our voices are not being heard.’

Under the council’s policy any petition with over 1,500 signatures triggers a council debate but officers explained that due to it being handed in as part of the local draft plan consultation it would be debated when the consultation was reviewed.

Hilary said: ‘For us that is likely to be summer 2019 and that will be too late.’

Councillors on the scrutiny board were talked through the steps taken by the democratic services department since the petition was first started last year.

At the meeting Councillor Michael Ford for Warsash said: ‘The petitioners have done everything correctly.

‘The petition has well over 1,500 signatures and so triggers a full council debate and so I can well understand their frustration.’

An extract of the petition read: ‘We the undersigned petition the council to stop the building of 1,500 new homes in Warsash, Locks Heath, Park Gate and Titchfield Common.

‘Whilst it is appreciated that the task is not an easy one, there are many sites that we believe the council should be looking at that are more suitable than Warsash and the Western Wards, such as Newlands Farm.

In the meeting Councillor Connie Hockley said: ‘I don’t think the council has handled this petition incorrectly.’

The council’s scrutiny board voted that the department of democratic services had handled the petition correctly with only Councillor Ford voting against.

Hilary added: ‘It is disappointing.

‘I think mostly this whole meeting has been a waste of time and there was not even an inch of movement.

‘They have not set a date or even agreed to sit and down and talk – I am not asking for them to talk to all 2,400 of us but just a few and that would gain support from residents.’