Unless there's a late News communiqué, 2016 will largely finish as we started. Welborne continues its painful path to delivery. At the Welborne public hearings many did say, more than once, that Welborne was ambitious and the challenges the plan faced were formidable. No one listened, and today while Welborne quietly awaits the green light, developers eagerly focus on other green field sites which Welborne was supposed to protect.
The proposed Cranleigh Road development was thrown out by FBC and rightly so, however as expected, Persimmon Homes have submitted an appeal. The Independent Government Inspector has started work on the appeal which will lead to the public having a chance to address the Inspector sometime in mid to late April. It will be a brave person to second-guess the outcome. The appeal issues will not merely be related to the original planning application, but will also address land supply and housing numbers that Fareham Council have signed up to.
Newlands seems to have gone into hibernation. Hallam Land are not pushing for their application to be determined. There could be a number of reasons for this and to speculate as to the reason would takes us into the realms of conspiracy theories. Perhaps we will have the answer in 2017.
The process of updating the local plans are underway. There will be two plans instead of three. The Welborne plan will still be stand alone and in all probability will change very little from the current plan.
The main focus will be concentrated on revising and creating the 'Fareham Borough Local Plan 2036'.
The Government will be publishing a white paper on 'Housing' in January and many believe that this will have enormous consequences on social rent and affordable homes.
2017 will be an interesting year. Have a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Just maybe our councillors will make a resolution to take more interest in the views of residents but as with everything else now, it remains to be seen.
Many thanks to Michael Stephenson for his help in videoing those meetings that I find it difficult to cover.
May we thank all those who have supported the Inform Fareham - Focus Group over the course of the last 5
months. We continue to grow in terms of members and supporters. The group's core aim is to
the residents of Fareham on the decisions being taken in their name and increase public awareness with
regard to development issues here in Fareham.
The group has come a long way in 5 months and continues to evolve along the lines that the steering group set out in the core aims. We are determined to press on with the task that we have set ourselves and yes, there is much to do, but with no access to a slick public relations department like others have it has not been easy in communicating the message we wish to convey, however we are proud of what we have achieved in such a short period of time and with our only resources being one of determination and doggedness the group will succeed in achieving the goals we set ourselves.
Inform Fareham is a group of local residents, we have evolved from a page set up on Facebook,
currently having over 2000 members, opposed to unnecessary development in Fareham.
Our aims are:
We are a selection of local people from right across the political spectrum who believe that the voices
of Fareham residents are not being listened to, with regards to major issues here in Fareham.
We understand only too well Fareham Borough Council faces big challenges, however facing those challenges is no excuse for overriding the democratic process of genuine and open dialogue with residents.
We wish to work with our Council in understanding the challenges ahead, but in doing so, we believe in a meaningful and sincere exchange of views. We believe the residents have a right to be heard and that local councillors, whatever party they represent, have a duty to listen to the wider community of Fareham.
Experience has shown that in trying to debate the new Welborne development, Fareham Borough Council currently has no appetite for wide public debate on an issue, which will change Fareham forever.
Inform Fareham will sit alongside the community groups of Funtley, Wallington, Knowle & Wickham, The Fareham Society and the CPRE (Hampshire), working with them, in a constructive manner, in the hope that we can make Fareham a better place to live.
Inform Fareham draws support from right across the borough. We will be active in supporting residents regarding the various issues and challenges they face today, in relation to development and the erosion of that precious commodity - Quality of Life.
"All those that think that the residents that live near the Welborne site are only complaining
because they are 'suffering ' from nimbyism - I would like to turn this thought on its head. I actually
think that all those NOT living near the site are the real sufferers, as they are happy for Welborne to
go ahead as long as it NOT near them. They are the real nimbys (and selfish ones at that).
Yes I live near the site, but I am concerned not just for myself (granted that is why I got so involved in the first place and found out the facts), but I am also concerned for the loss of green fields, food production, recreation, the increase in pollution etc etc. Our challenge is to turn the nimbys into unselfish residents who genuinely look at the issues and find the alternatives we all know are out there".
Although this meeting might have been better attended the Steering Committee were very pleased with the
participation and input of those that did attend.
A whole range of issues were discussed, which included some very important information and input from representative living in the Woodcote Lane area of Peel Common. Matters aired included Welborne, Newlands, Whiteley and the Stubbington bypass and Daedelus.
The Chairman, Shaun Cunningham opened the meeting by introducing the Steering Committee members to the floor. He also thanked Mike Garland for his past efforts - particularly setting up the web-page - who had had to leave the Steering Committee due to work commitments. The onerous job of maintaining the web-page, and its updating, had been taken on by Chris Nixon. Shaun went on to explain that the IFFG now has it own Facebook page and this was going well. People CAN now post on the IFFG Facebook site but postings will be monitored for content. This is nothing to do with censorship per se, but the Steering Committee feel that postings must be relevant, should not contain any personal abuse, obscene language or overtly political views. There are other forums for people to express these matters. Posters are also at liberty to ask question on our Facebook page where we will endeavour to answer them. However, do not forget that you can also contact the Group via email and Twitter.
A member of the Steering Committee briefly outlined the current situation re. Welborne as he knew it. The
baulk of the land for Welborne - approximately 1000 acres - is owned by two entities: The Southwick Estate
and the Benge family. In the past the land north of the M27 had been sacrosanct and was not scheduled for
development but this covenant had been stood on its head. However, it was said that there are a string of
issues surrounding Welborne which are far from resolved. These ranged from water and sewerage disposal,
transport, Junction 10 of the M27 and the whole viability of the scheme. It was felt that FBC had not been
diligent and thorough in carrying out the assessments necessary. It was the general opinion that the
OUTLINE PLAN for Welborne would not be lodged with the FBC Planning Department until the New Year. This is
a considerable slippage in the original plan. Some �350 million will be needed for the infrastructure but
it was felt that this was a serious underestimate and the final cost would be much higher.
A Standing Conference meeting (re. Welborne) is scheduled for later in the year but if was thought that it may be deferred.
It was reiterated that Hallam Land Management will be submitting a new plan for Newlands soon. In the meantime, however, Hallam has been canvassing resident's views via their web-site and leaflet drops. The committee felt that it was important to let residents know that this has nothing to do with FBC and that this consultation was entirely down to Hallam Land Management. It was felt that Hallam is doing this to gauge public opinions which might be manipulated in their favour. We believe that Hallam have been waiting for the route of the Stubbington bypass to be finalised before drawing up the next plan. It was pointed out that Hallam could push to develop the land between Longfield Avenue and the bypass and in doing so compress the strategic gap between Fareham and Stubbington. Residents from the Woodcote Lane area of Peel Common expressed their concerns about land to the east of Newgate Lane being developed and they were aware of plans in the offing to do this. Those residents also spoke of their concerns about the new road at the southern end of Newgate Lane. Interestingly, at a recent CAT meeting it was inferred by the Executive Leader of FBC that the finances for the development of the southern end of Newgate Lane were in the bank. This assertion was disputed by the Peel Common residents who also alleged that the planning permission for these road improvements had not been passed at this moment in time. The residents will confer with the IFFG to keep us up to date with what is going on. It was felt that in general residents remain implacable in their opposition to the Newlands development.
It was reiterated that the approval for this development had been deferred over concerns about phasing etc. This is an issue for Winchester County Council, of course and not FBC.
The matter of financing this road was discussed. Someone on the floor suggested that businesses on at Daedelus would be asked to help fund the bypass. The IFFG had no knowledge this. However, it was reiterated that as far as we know the money for the bypass will have to come from central government and this has not been approved. This was confirmed at a recent CAT Meeting.
There then followed a general discussion about various issues. The IFFG would like assistance from
members printing leaflets etc. We would also welcome and suggestion from members on how the IFFG should
develop and proceed. There was space on the Steering Group for members interested in joining us.