Residents adamant they want gap to stay as farm land

Ward Councillor Jim Forrest at the land proposed for development between Fareham and Stubbington
Ward Councillor Jim Forrest at the land proposed for development between Fareham and Stubbington
Christine Keeler

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GREEN land between Fareham and Stubbington should remain in agricultural use – that’s the clear message from a survey undertaken by a ward councillor.

Stubbington ward councillor Jim Forrest decided to do the research after a developer, Hallam Land Management, consulted the public on plans to turn green land south of Longfield Avenue, Fareham, into a 1,550-home housing estate.

Cllr Forrest’s survey was sent to 5,000 residents in the Stubbington area, and he received 292 replies.

The results show people are in favour (263 replies) of keeping land between Fareham and Stubbington as farm land, or alternatively (217 replies) using it for recreation.

There was also support for the land being used as a bypass, with 114 people indicating they would support that usage. A total of 253 people surveyed were strongly opposed to development on the green land that forms the strategic gap.

Cllr Forrest’s findings were considered by Fareham Borough Council on Tuesday night, along with a petition against development in the strategic gap containing 335 names.

Cllr Forrest said: ‘I got back nearly 300 replies, which shows the strength of feeling.

‘The big finding was that residents are overwhelmingly against any development on that land.

‘This proposed development is very much in people’s minds, everyone wants to know what’s happening.’

No planning application has been submitted to the council, although one is expected in the next couple of weeks.

When it does go before the planning committee, Cllr Forrest’s petition and survey will be taken into consideration.

Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, said the application would be ‘considered on its merits’ like all planning applications.

He added: ‘Beyond a shadow of a doubt is that people do not want development on that land, but we cannot stop people putting in applications.

‘The whole argument that we have had all along is that residents of Fareham want development to go in Welborne, so it can be properly planned for and so it protects villages and strategic gaps.’

When contacted by The News, Hallam Land Management said it did not want to comment on the status of the application.