More problems raised at Welborne inquiry

15/10/14  ''Welborne development inspector David Hogger (holding a yellow folder) introduces himself to the concerned residents
15/10/14 ''Welborne development inspector David Hogger (holding a yellow folder) introduces himself to the concerned residents

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COMMUNITY groups claim not enough work has been done to properly plan and prepare for the new 6,000-home town of Welborne.

Their concerns come after a fifth day of hearings at an independent inquiry into the town, which is planned for fields north of Fareham.

Yesterday at Fareham Borough Council’s offices, independent inspector David Hogger looked at the level of affordable housing and the provision of waste, water and energy facilities.

David Walton, of Wallington Village Community Association, said: ‘We are seeing a mirror image of issues with every part of the plan we look at – healthcare, traffic impact, housing and the downstream flooding risk -–in fact all the areas of the Welborne strategy are incomplete.’

Mr Walton said groups were concerned to hear that developers had asked for flexibility with the provision of affordable homes, which should be set at 30 per cent according to the plan.

Developers had asked to be able to make up for any shortfall as they go along, but the community groups insist that 30 per cent should be set level across all areas of the development.

The location of a rubbish tip also proved to be controversial, as it was argued to be best placed west of the Wickham Road, away from sensitive countryside.

Flooding issues were also raised by Councillor John Bryant and by residents.

There were discussions about the level of flood risk assessment that had been conducted and the role of sustainable drainage systems to support the development.

Michael Carter of the Wickham Society said: ‘There is still concern among community groups that this plan is too aspirational and lacks any degree of reality. The evidence for it is at best thin and at worst totally non-existent.’

Mr Walton added that the council had a lot of work to do to answer the inspector’s questions.

He said: ‘It is the view of the community groups, that given all the incomplete parts that currently exist, the plan should be thrown out and the council can start again and get it right.’

The inquiry was to end today with a decision whether plans for the town are sound due early next year.