New push for green belt to protect countryside near Portsmouth and Fareham

The Forest of Bere north of Wickham, part of the existing green belt between Fareham and Eastleigh. Picture: Dave Durell
The Forest of Bere north of Wickham, part of the existing green belt between Fareham and Eastleigh. Picture: Dave Durell
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MOVES have been made to protect countryside between cities and towns, including Portsmouth and Fareham, as council leaders agree to investigate whether a new green belt could be introduced.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire said the new green belt would safeguard the ‘beautiful’ gaps between Portsmouth, Southampton, Eastleigh and Fareham, and stop them from being built on.

The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (Push) joint committee, made up of the 10 councils from the south Hampshire sub-region, met yesterday to hear the charity’s proposal about the adoption of a green belt.

After consideration, the committee agreed unanimously to investigate the justification and feasibility for it.

Sean Woodward, chairman of Push and the leader of Fareham Borough Council, recommended the committee adopted the idea.

CPRE Hampshire chief executive Charlee Bennett was at the meeting, and said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have had such a positive response.

‘The adoption of a south Hampshire green belt would maintain the integrity of the cities, prevent urban sprawl and safeguard the beautiful countryside which we consistently hear is so important to communities.

‘We are delighted that the council leaders of Push have decided to investigate the adoption of a south Hampshire green belt further.’

Charlee said although the idea has been around for years, this is the first time the topic has been given the consideration it deserves.

She added: ‘We’re looking forward to receiving the council leaders’ report and recommendations and our sincere thanks go to all those councillors who spoke in our favour.

‘Although we’ve still got a way to go, it feels like a real step forward in our campaign.’

Push said it would work with all Push councils, including Fareham, Test Valley, Winchester, Eastleigh councils which have some of the most vulnerable green spaces.

CPRE Hampshire said its campaign has gained the support of more than 11,400 members of the public, who have signed a petition in support of the new green belt.

The charity’s chairwoman Dee Haas is keen to build on this success, and said: ‘This is a great moment for us but we still need support.

‘We want the local authorities to know just how passionately people in south Hampshire feel about this issue.’