Protesters march against plans for 3,300 homes in Fareham borough

Owner Andrew Gadsden
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133316-1)

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MORE THAN 100 protesters took to the streets to make sure their voices were heard over plans for 3,300 homes in the Fareham borough.

Residents carrying banners and placards marched along the A27 towards the civic offices before an executive meeting which discussed the town’s draft local plan.

Some of the protesters gather outside Fareham Civic Offices   Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (171229-1)

Some of the protesters gather outside Fareham Civic Offices Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171229-1)

Wendy Callear, who helped to organise the march, said: ‘We are marching because we are concerned about the infrastructure, particularly in Portchester.’

The News has previously reported the allocated housing numbers for the borough, which saw Portchester and Warsash face having more than 700 houses each out of the total of 3,300 dwellings proposed.

Wendy added: ‘Portchester is losing its identity and soon we will be part of Fareham and join up to Portsmouth with all this urban sprawl.’

Chris Davies is a resident of Romsey Avenue, which would see 225 new homes on fields nearby.

He said: ‘I’m concerned about the traffic and the loss of green space.

‘Houses are needed in the area, but the council needs to use all the brownfield sites first.’

Albion Close resident Chris Wilkinson had concerns over a development site at Seafield Road, which has received criticism from Portchester residents in the past.

Chris said: ‘This is beyond a joke.

‘Portchester has been given far too much housing allocation and it is not fair.

‘I think people in our village are being completely walked over.’

Many residents attended the packed executive meeting to listen to councillors discuss and explain decisions regarding the sites chosen.

Executive member for planning and development Councillor Keith Evans emphasised that decisions about the sites were conducted ‘professionally’ with external bodies.

The meeting became heated at points with cries from the public gallery and council leader Councillor Sean Woodward had to bang his gavel to restore order during a debate on sites in Warsash and Portchester.

A deputation was made by Jo Pearce on behalf of Portchester residents.

Jo said: ‘We believe more houses should be put in Burridge and Welborne to relieve pressure on Portchester.’

David Prince from Warsash also made a deputation with concerns over the 700 houses proposed along the North and South of Greenaway Lane.

He said: ‘It is a village and to put 700 houses in it will take away from the village as a whole.’

Michael Jones was one of the protesters at the march. The 24-year-old said: ‘The council has not kept its promises and now sites we thought were safe are going to be built on.

‘My main concern is the wildlife. Where will the deer, birds and slowworms go?’

Michael, who lives in Romsey Avenue, Portchester, added: ‘The town does not have enough room for any more.’

Caroline Smith joined the march with her young child.

She said: ‘There is not enough infrastructure in the area to support all these people.

‘Everybody needs a house, but the schools round here are full and you can’t get an appointment at the doctor’s surgery for at least three weeks.

‘They need more schools and surgeries before they start thinking about houses.’

Liberal Democrat Councillor Shaun Cunningham said: ‘It was great to see the protesters and I think it is all part of our democracy.

‘People are expressing their feelings.’

He added: ‘There is no way Portchester can cope with all the homes and thousands of new people and cars.

‘Why should Portchester have the majority of these new homes?’

Speaking about the protest, Fareham Borough Council leader Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘I welcome all comments and suggestions about the draft local plan of Fareham and its housing needs, whether that be with marches or letters or emails.’

On the subject of the meeting, Cllr Woodward said: ‘I think we have reached a conclusion on our draft local plan for public consultation which is extremely important for all in Fareham.’

The draft local plan will be published on October 25, to be followed by a six-week public consultation.

There will be special CAT meetings and review exhibitions for residents to attend throughout the borough.

The review exhibitions will run from 2pm until 6pm and the CAT meetings will run from 7pm until 8.30pm, with some requiring residents to pre-book seats.

For more information visit.fareham.gov.uk/planning/farehamlocalplanreview.aspx