‘Welborne has to be built or green spaces will vanish’

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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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IF a planned new village to the north of Fareham is not built, green spaces between Portchester and Swanwick will have to be developed to fulfil a pressing need for housing.

That’s the warning from Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, in response to opposition to the Welborne development, planned for the green space between Knowle, Wickham and Funtley.

As previously reported in The News David Walton, on behalf of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Fareham Society, said that Welborne was ‘the town that nobody wants’.

But the council says there are around 2,500 families in dire need of housing in the authority’s catchment area.

The development is planned to have around 6,500 homes in total, and the council says building a village of this kind will mean it will have its own infrastructure, including three primary schools, a secondary school, a doctors’ surgery and a redeveloped access to and from the M27 at Junction 10.

In terms of size, the development will be similar to Portchester.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘If Welborne didn’t happen then the only way we’d be able to get extra housing would be to build on every strategic green space in the Fareham borough. Through our consultation people have told us they’d rather have a distinct development than just gobbets of land being built upon.

‘They just wouldn’t get the infrastructure to go with them.

‘These parcels of land are all in the hands of developers and they are itching to see Welborne fail.

‘The people who are opposed to this are those who have their own homes and don’t want to see this built.

‘There is a need for all these homes, so what do these groups see as an alternative plan?

A final price tag has not been put on the creation of the new town on land between Fareham and Wickham, but it is expected to be at least £1bn.

Fareham Borough Council has spent six weeks consulting with its residents.

It will use the responses, together with additional and ongoing evidence, to form a masterplan, which will then go out to further consultation later this year.

Only minor revisions can be made at that stage, as it will also go out to an independent government inspector.