Public will have a chance for a say on homes plans

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CALLS are being made for more extensive consultation on how a new town of 7,000 homes north of Fareham will develop.

The proposals for the controversial town were officially adopted by Fareham Borough Council this week, which will now start to look at creating detailed plans for it.

But the council was criticised for not carrying out enough consultation with residents in the run-up to the creation of the document, known as the core strategy, laying out how the borough will grow over the next 15 years.

The town will be built on greenfields between the M27 and Wickham, with the first homes expected in 2016.

Lib Dem for Fareham East, councillor Paul Whittle has been a vocal opponent of the new town, and said: ‘We have got to engage with people. We need to learn the lessons of making sure we listen and consult properly.

‘The hard work will now be in creating this area action plan (AAP), but as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail.

‘We need to work hard at that so that as the work unfolds, the public and the residents are involved at every step.

‘I think the council needs to go further in making information accessible.

‘I know they will say they have done various things and forums, but now I think people have a greater appreciation of what’s being planned and they will want to come forward and participate.’

Tory council leader, councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘There will be a lot more of the same sorts of consultation as we’ve already done, and a lot more besides.

‘This is a once in a life-time opportunity to design a new community, I’m sure there will be exhibitions, workshops and meetings. It’s a long process so we are looking at starting these fairly soon.

‘We are at the end of the beginning – now the real work begins, the detail is everything.’

An inquiry in to the AAP is pencilled in for Spring 2013.

Brenda Clapperton of the Fareham Society, said: ‘Cllr Woodward may find the solving of the major infrastructure problems exciting but this emotion is not shared by many of the thousands of residents of north Fareham who have great anxieties and concern about the future of their local area.

‘Residents should take advantage of this process to make comments on or object to the infrastructure solutions being put forward.’