A COUNCIL is bidding to further speed up the development of a new 6,000-home town by formally admitting it is keen to purchase the land it will sit on.
It was announced last week that Welborne, which will be built north of Fareham, is to be a ‘Garden Village’ and that Fareham Borough Council will have access to a pot of £2m to purchase the land in order build the homes.
Now, the local authority has announced tonight that it is publishing a ‘prior information notice’ on its plans for the development.
This means that it has formally started the process to obtaining a developer to work with and to purchase the land via a compulsory purchase order.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council said: ‘We are now formally looking for a development partner to help us bring forward the development.
‘It’s another step forward in making the plans a reality and we should have a development partner in place by the end of the year.
‘We will then start the process of the CPO and look to bring forward planning applications next year with the hope that we will start building homes in 2019.’
It comes despite Mark Thistlethwayte, one of the major landowners of the site, previously stating that a planning application - which would be submitted by Buckland Development for the whole of the site - is only weeks away.
Mr Thistlethwayte said: ‘Buckland Development Ltd has been working with Fareham Borough Council extensively over many months and both parties are fully committed to enabling Buckland to submit its Welborne Plan compliant outline planning application for the delivery of 6,000 new homes, employment space, green infrastructure, community and recreational facilities and major infrastructure improvements in just a few weeks’ time.
‘This planning application will demonstrate the deliverability of Buckland’s plans, which will make a significant contribution to Fareham in terms of the number of homes and facilities proposed. We look forward to working with the council as the application progresses over the coming months.’
The idea for Welborne was first put forward in 2004 but it took until June 2015 for a planning inspector to pass the scheme.
No planning application has yet materialised.
Buckland Development is working with the other landowner - BST Warehouses, which is owned by the Benge Family - to bring forward the plans.