Public meetings for proposals of homes branded ‘pointless’

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A WASTE of time.

That’s the message from Portchester residents who attended the first of Fareham Borough Council’s CAT meetings about the draft local plan, which suggests 3,300 new homes being built in the borough up to 2036.

The meeting in Portchester about Fareham's new draft local plan, which suggests 3,300 new homes in the borough

Picture: Millie Salkeld

The meeting in Portchester about Fareham's new draft local plan, which suggests 3,300 new homes in the borough Picture: Millie Salkeld

Resident Christine Wilkinson said: ‘It was a box-ticking exercise and a complete waste of time.

‘None of us locals think these meetings and the public consultation will make a blind bit of difference.’

The meeting, held tonight at Portchester Community School, was attended by more than 100 residents who had the chance to listen to presentations from council leader Sean Woodward and director of planning and regulation Richard Jolley about the sites chosen in Portchester.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘It is really important residents have their say and there were lots of really good questions asked about the sites.’

During the meeting one resident asked why Portchester town would see over 20 per cent of the 3,300 houses proposed for the borough as a whole.

Mr Jolley answered: ‘The particular approach in this draft local plan is to go in with a development strategy of larger greenfield sites and the reason for that there seemed to be real opportunities for open spaces and getting a decent contribution from developers for improvements like for example more school places.’

Residents raised concerns over traffic congestion, the worsening of air quality throughout the borough and the wildlife at Romsey Avenue.

Portchester resident Kirsten Wiltshire said: ‘It was a bit of a joke really.

‘The responses given to questions were “we will take it into consideration” or they were not answered directly. I think the decisions are all pre-determined and this public consultation is pointless.’

Cllr Woodward added: ‘Councillors and planning officers all stayed behind after the meeting and nobody should be leaving this room without their questions answered as we are here to listen.’