Petition calls for Fareham Borough Council to hold its ground over ‘strategic gap’

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A PETITION containing hundreds of names has been handed to a council calling for it to stand firm against development on the ‘strategic gap’ between Fareham and Gosport.

Ward councillor Jim Forrest organised the petition after residents in Stubbington contacted him about a proposed development in the strategic gap.

The petition calls upon Fareham Borough Council to ‘stand firm on its policy of strategic gaps to prevent over-development and to protect the open countryside between Stubbington and Fareham.’

Hallam Land Management wants to build a new estate of 1,550 homes, including a school, pub and health centre on green fields off Peak Lane. It has yet to submit a planning application .

Cllr Forrest presented his petition at the full council meeting.

Cllr Forrest said: ‘More signatures have come in since. At the start of this week it was well over 350 names.’

He added: ‘People value that stretch of countryside which keeps the communities separate.

‘[It] is very viable farm land. It is covered in crops and people have put a lot of investment into it. The vast majority of the people in the area would much rather see it an area of countryside.’

Ward councillor Kay Mandry said: ‘We do not need anything built in the strategic gap and I will fight it as much as I can for my residents.’

Pauline Longhurst, from Harold Road, Stubbington, said she would be adding her name to the petition as she was against the development.

Mrs Longhurst said: ‘It is just ridiculous. The roads are already full, so are the schools and the doctors. We are just holding our breath.’

Andrew Stretton, who owns 3.2 acres of land in the strategic gap near to the proposed development, said he wants to see the development take place so that it would make developing his land easier.

He applied for planning permission in 2007 and was refused by the council. He took the application to appeal and was refused again.

Mr Stretton, 42, said: ‘If this goes ahead it would be better for me. The bypass will open things up anyway. My opinion is that they would be better developing this land than the land north of Fareham, in Funtley, which is far more valuable countryside.’

Hallam Land Management was contacted but did not respond by the time of going to press.