WE ARE now looking at one of the biggest projects that Fareham will have experienced in modern times – the proposed creation of a new community of up to 6,500 homes to the north of the town, from 2016 to 2041.
It is a massive undertaking and, like any major project, many will wonder if it can be done – and done well – to give Fareham the long-term growth in homes and jobs that it needs.
My job is to act as independent chairman of the Welborne Standing Conference.
It is a grouping of (nearly 30) organisations who have a concern for the future of Fareham.
We include ward councillors, neighbouring communities and business organisations.
Needless to say we cover a very wide range of views and we don’t always agree.
Fareham Borough Council deserves credit for setting us up as an external voice and our views carry weight.
We have just submitted detailed comments on the draft Welborne Plan.
Members still have major concerns and questions which need to be resolved.
And in some areas we are looking for significant revisions to the plan.
But we support the overall development principles and welcome the commitment to green space, high quality design and the range of community services.
Of course there is still a long way to go.
We need to remember that the bulk of the cost will fall to private investors and some of the detailed questions can only be answered once they announce their plans.
That is all the more reason for voluntary, business and public bodies in Fareham to continue to try to influence what comes forward.