Protest held over '˜nightmare' plans for new housing between Gosport and Fareham

PLANS to build more than 600 new homes on the border between Gosport and Fareham have been met with a fierce cross-party protest in Newgate Lane.

Monday, 24th September 2018, 3:59 pm
Updated Monday, 24th September 2018, 5:08 pm
Activists campaign against plans for homes next to Newgate Lane. Picture: Supplied

More than 25 protesters in Gosport staged a public protest against the proposals '“ which come from Fareham Borough Council's draft local plan and a planning application from Fareham Land LP.

Gosport's Labour and Liberal Democrat groups staged the public protest across two days last week.

The event was publicised by Gosport Conservatives on social media, but no members were available to attend.

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Mark Smith, leader of Gosport Labour party, said: '˜These houses will generate about 1,000 more cars on the road. In terms of air quality, congestion, environment, it will be a nightmare.

'˜There are two sites to the west of the borough that would be far better suited for these plans.'

Numerous drivers caught in rush hour traffic showed their support by honking and giving thumbs-up signs to the protesters.

Cllr Steve Hammond, Liberal Democrat councillor for Bridegmary North, said: '˜Aside from infrastructure, there are big environmental concerns.

'˜We have deer, geese, foxes, bats '“ where will they go?'

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward, has reiterated the pressures to deliver new housing in the area.

He said: '˜The issue is that legally we have to deliver thousands of new homes. Gosport has a similar duty '“ but needs to deliver far fewer homes.

'˜In July, our housing target was increased by 30 per cent by central government '“ an unjustifiable increase, in our opinion.

'˜Instead of waving placards, we have been meeting with ministers.

'˜It's a different approach and I would invite Gosport councillors '“  including Councillors Hook and Carter '“ to join me.'

The two councils have clashed in the past, with the leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, calling Cllr Woodward '˜deluded' over disagreements on the borough's housing supply.

Fareham's draft local plan sets out where new homes will be built up to 2036.

But Gosport Borough Council strongly opposes the plans, highlighting the need for a strategic gap between the two towns.