THE fight to keep thousands of new homes off greenfield sites has taken a step forward.
Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward and residents have welcomed news that a plan which aims to protect small green spaces across the area has the backing of a government inspector. It means they have more protection from development.
Although you can never say never, with this plan it gives us very good grounds to fight any development.Councillor Sean Woodward
Independent inspector David Hogger gave the council’s Development Sites and Policies Plan his blessing.
This plan looked at smaller sites across the borough. It did not cover the 6,000-home new town Welborne, which was the subject of a similar inquiry and also won the inspector’s backing.
With his decision, bids to build houses on 20 sites, including 135 off Cranleigh Road, in Portchester, and 1,550 houses at Newlands, off Longfield Avenue will face more resistance when planning applications are submitted.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘The decision is a huge win because it stops thousands of homes being built in lots of little areas.
‘Although you can never say never, with this plan it gives us very good grounds to fight any development.’
Residents living in and around Cranleigh Road had vowed to fight the development.
Alex Phillips, from Quintrell Avenue, said: ‘It is fantastic news that the decision by the inspector could stop the houses. It will mean a lot to all the residents around here.
‘The community has worked so hard against the plans and it is nice having the green space available for children and families.’
Children from Wicor Primary School, which backs onto the field, also joined the fight against the 135 homes.
Headteacher Mark Wildman said: ‘It is good news it has more resistance because we could risk losing the remaining, valuable wildlife refuges and open, green spaces.’
But Shaun Cunningham, who has led the protest against Welborne, said Fareham will end up with the new town and other small developments too.
He said: ‘This plan being found sound will not stop the developers wanting to build on those greenfield sites.
‘They have invested too much money into them.
‘It might strengthen the council’s reasons behind the rejections of the planning applications but they will be appealed and then it’s up to the inspector. He might agree with the developer. For all we know we could end up with Welborne in the north and Newlands in the south.’