Welborne £1.9m spend branded a ‘waste of money’

How the Welborne development could look
How the Welborne development could look
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CONCERNS have been raised after it was revealed Fareham council has spent nearly £1.9 million on delivering homes at the Welborne new town before a single brick has been laid.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Shaun Cunningham said Fareham Borough Council’s Welborne Delivery Strategy was ‘a waste of money’.

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward

He said: ‘I don’t believe the Welborne Delivery Strategy has actually achieved much if anything.

‘The point is the council has spent a substantial sum on their Welborne Delivery Strategy and we have yet to cross the starting line with regard to housing delivery.’

Ideas for Welborne first surfaced in 2006 and in 2015 the council adopted the Welborne Plan. Welborne is a proposed new town to the north of Fareham, England, intended to include 6,000 houses with businesses and community facilities

But due to delays with land ownership last year the council decided to forge on with their project themselves and sought to appoint a project manager.

Last week, however, the council ended this process after Buckland completed the purchase of Dean Farm and now own nearly all of the land.

Cllr Cunningham continued: ‘It now appears the council has finally recognised that for them to seek a large -scale compulsory purchase of land at Welborne is a hopeless task and that Buckland’s development plan is the only way forward.’

During last week’s executive meeting, Buckland was announced as the Master Developer of Welborne.

Cllr Cunningham added: ‘The momentum to move Welborne forward has and always has been with Buckland Developments. Regardless of the council’s Welborne Delivery Strategy, Buckland would have in all probability have purchased Dean Farm anyway.’

Fareham Borough Council has spent £853,609 in implementing the Welborne Delivery Strategy up to the end of August 2017 and an additional £1,034,230 on purchasing properties on the site and getting them into a lettable state.

But leader of Fareham Borough Council Councillor Sean Woodward claimed the council had not wasted any money.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘We are bringing forward a big development and that is what we need to spend to put the plan in place.

‘These things cost a huge amount of money but we have been reimbursed for almost all of the expenditure and we have another grant of £550,000 which will mean we are actually in surplus.’

Cllr Woodward added: ‘We are trying to do something to help people and it is what I came into the council to do.’