New 6,000-home town near Fareham could ‘cripple hospitals and roads’

The audience at a CAT meeting about Welborne held at Ferneham Hall
The audience at a CAT meeting about Welborne held at Ferneham Hall

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FEARFUL residents have hit out over a plan to build a new 6,000-home town claiming it could cripple the area’s hospitals and cause ‘traffic chaos’.

Dozens of people aired their views on the Welborne scheme at a Community Action Team (CAT) meeting last night in Fareham’s Ferneham Hall.

Fareham council leader Sean Woodward at the meeting

Fareham council leader Sean Woodward at the meeting

It comes after an outline planning application was presented to the borough council by property firm Buckland Development for the new site just north of Fareham.

Gillian Coulton, 58, of Stubbington was one of those at the meeting and was worried the influx of thousands of people would push the area’s hospitals and GP surgeries to breaking point.

She said: ‘These 6,000 homes will mean there will be thousands more people using our health infrastructure.

‘We’re talking about maybe 24,000 new people using hospitals. We simply don’t have the provision for this. The ambulances are already queuing up at Queen Alexandra Hospital.’

Others said they were concerned the site could press ahead without any new infrastructure being built – something which Fareham Borough Council’s leader, Councillor Sean Woodward assured residents would not happen.

At the meeting, a breakdown of the proposed plan of action was given.

This included a major revamp of the M27’s junction 10, with a new junction being built to the west and the current westbound slip road being scrapped.

Mark Wyatt, development manager at Fareham Borough Council, described how Welborne – if eventually approved – could be built strategically over five phases spread across a 20-year period.

The first could begin next year with 820 of the 6,000 homes being built, as well as improvement works on junction 10 and the A32 and the construction of the first of three new primary schools.

The second phase from 2022/23 to 2025/26 would see 1,360 homes built along with a health centre and employment sites. The second primary school and new secondary school would be erected in phase three from 2026/27 along with 1,360 homes, with the remainder of the properties split over last two phases.

Cllr Woodward said there was already cash set aside to pay for much of the £300m scheme and ruled out a hike in council tax. ‘The most important thing is that before any detailed planning permission is given all of those elements of infrastructure will be agreed – we will know exactly when they’re going to happen, where they’re going to happen and who’s going to pay for them,’ he promised.

He added future healthcare would be determined by the area’s clinical commission group as part of the plan.

The next CAT meeting is at Funtley Social Club on Friday from 6pm to 7.30pm. For tickets call 01329 236100 or email consultation@fareham.gov.uk. The others are at Knowle Village Hall on May 5, 5.30pm to 7pm and the Wickham Centre on May 8, 7pm to 8.30pm.