Welborne blamed for loss of greenfield sites as 350-home application for Portchester to reach planning committee

AS a controversial planning application is set for recommendation, the lack of progress at Welborne is being blamed for the loss of greenfield sites.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 7:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:11 pm
John Suttie at Downend Road in 2017. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (170502-2289)

Miller Homes’ application for 350 homes near Downend Road in Portchester, which has been recommended by planning officers, has been the centre of an angry debate since 2016 by residents who felt it would have a ‘crippling effect’ on their community.

Iris Grist said: ‘This has been in the works for a while and it has suddenly reared its head again and I think people need to know it is happening.

‘Portchester has taken a massively unfair amount of housing and if this goes through it will mean the strain increases on roads, schools and the surgeries.

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The Winnham Farm site was included in the council’s draft local plan 2036 which has since been ‘ripped up’ due to confusion over the government housing numbers required.

It comes as many feel greenfield sites are more at risk due to the 6000-home Welborne development being repeatedly pushed back and therefore reducing the council’s fiver year housing land supply.

Mrs Grist added: ‘If there had not been so much promise on Welborne then may be we wouldn’t be in this mess. It has really affected us here in Portchester and it is very upsetting.’

Portchester Councillor Shaun Cunningham said: ‘At the end of the day Welborne is a gigantic task and it was ridiculous to think that it could be sorted in a few months.

‘The developers are doing their best to make sure it has everything it needs and it all works together and I do not envy their task.’

Cllr Cunningham added: ‘Welborne was said to be a saving grace for greenfield sites but it hasn’t and won’t be. Fareham and especially Portchester have been let down and we are facing the consequences with more and more housing sites like Winnham Farm getting recommended because the council are scared that there will be a repeat of Cranleigh Road.’

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘Welborne clearly has been a factor but the major factor is the government adding 50 per cent to our housing figures.

‘Welborne will mean 6000 homes don’t have to be found on another greenfields but because of the government we are losing greenfield sites and has meant our draft local plan has to be started again to fit these new figures.’ 

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport said: ‘I am concerned that timescales are becoming very tight for the scheme to be progressed in alignment with the Smart Motorways programme.’