Plan for 7,000 homes is adopted by councillors

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FAREHAM Borough Council has agreed to adopt the controversial plan that will see it push ahead with a new town of 7,000 homes.

At a full council meeting, members voted to accept the core strategy document that lays out how the borough will grow over the next 15 years with 24 councillors agreeing to it, none refusing and seven abstaining.

Last month a government inspector released his report on the core strategy, revealing that he found it to be ‘sound.’

But several councillors raised the need for full infrastructure to be in place before work starts on the town, known as the strategic development area (SDA), on greenfields north of Fareham, between the M27 and Wickham.

Councillor Roger Price said: ‘The contentious issue has always been the SDA.

‘The most crucial issue about agreeing to this core strategy document is to ensure that the guarantees given by the leader (about infrastructure) are 101 per cent adhered to.

‘We have got to get that money up front so it’s built in with the houses as they are built.’

And councillor Jack Englefield added: ‘I think Fareham has had experience with this sort of development, and that was in Whiteley. I think we have learnt from those experiences and they will come into the equation here.’

Those backing the plans argued that if the document was not adopted, developers would be able to start filling gaps around the borough instead.

Councillor Nick Gregory added: ‘Like all things in life there are sacrifices. The sacrifice of farmland in north Fareham is securing the future of Fareham for the next generations.’

The council will now begin work on its area action plan, the detailed document on how the proposals will become a reality.

Council leader, cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘What we need to do now is come together and support the core strategy plan.

‘The alternative was too awful to contemplate – it would have been a complete free-for-all with developers lining up to build all over the borough.

‘I hope the our community will rally around the area action plan and it will be a Fareham plan.’

However, the sole deputee Percy O’Dell of Holly Grove, Fareham, urged residents unhappy with the decision to make their voices heard at the ballot box. He said: ‘If you are an objector, support the opposition at the next election.

‘Councillor Woodward has served Fareham well in the past, but this could be seen as, as it was for Blair, his Iraq. Most leaders go one step too far, and that’s what they are remembered for – not all the other things they achieved.’