At last night's Council meeting, the Core Strategy document, outlining the Council's planning strategy for the next 15 - 20 years was approved.
The document identifies where new housing and businesses will be built in the Borough in the future, as well as highlighting those areas which will be protected from future development.
It also includes reference to new infrastructure needs for the Borough such as improved roads, open space, and community facilities.
Major areas for future development include Daedalus, as a working airfield with an Aerospace and Marine business park providing high quality productive jobs, the Coldeast site as residential and parkland with much-needed community facilities including land for a swimming pool, cemetery, allotments, community building and sports pitches, and the ongoing growth of Fareham Town Centre. It also includes the possible development of a new community to the North of the M27.
Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Leader of the Council, explained to Councillors that there is a recognised need for housing growth in the Borough. People are living longer, there are more single households and there is a growing need for affordable homes.
Recognising that growth is essential to meet the demand for housing of the Borough's population, the Council had to decide whether to fill in existing strategic countryside gaps between communities, such as the fields between Fareham, Hill Head, Titchfield, Stubbington, Portchester and the Western Wards (Whiteley, Locks Heath, Titchfield Common, Warsash, Park Gate and Sarisbury), or to focus most of the housing needed into one area by building a new community to the North of Fareham and the M27.
Councillors gave very serious consideration to the possibility of extending existing areas (i.e. filling the gaps) but identified a number of major disadvantages to such an approach. It was felt that this would lead to increased traffic congestion on the roads to the South of the M27. There was a genuine concern that individual communities such as Stubbington and Titchfield would lose their identity amongst one big urban sprawl, and it was recognised that extensions to established areas just place increased pressure on existing facilities such as schools, health provision and other community amenities. Small, unsustainable development does not bring with it significant funding for much-needed infrastructure.
It was therefore decided to focus most of the Borough's housing growth into a new community in one area North of Fareham town and the M27. This is the only area within the Borough of Fareham large enough to accommodate around 7,000 new homes (as well as new employment opportunities). The first houses on the site are estimated to be ready for occupation from 2016.
This scale of housing development will require a new secondary school as well as new primary schools. It will include shops, green spaces and new community facilities. It will also require major improvements to the road network, together with a fast and reliable bus service from Fareham Town Centre into the new community.
The new community will include new businesses, which are essential if Fareham's local economy is to continue to grow, offering employment opportunities for local people. The close proximity to Fareham Town Centre will also result in the ongoing improvement of the Town Centre, with more shops and businesses.
Councillors did make it very clear that the development of the new community is conditional on the infrastructure being provided in a timely fashion. If there is no clear plan for this, then the development will simply not take place.
Councillor Woodward said “The most important consideration for the Council is that the new community must be a place that people want to have in Fareham, and where our residents would like to live. This means that the scale and quality of the development has to be right and that buildings are constructed to high environmental standards, with new approaches to waste and energy management and the provision of public parks and open spaces.“
The approval of the Core Strategy follows consultation with the local community over the last few years, including a recent survey of 1000 residents across the Borough, with 82% of respondents answering "Yes" to the option of a new community North of Fareham.
A number of objections were raised by local residents opposing the new community, who had concerns regarding any building before infrastructure was properly planned and funded, whether the new homes would actually be affordable, their effect on the existing communities in the northern area of Fareham including Funtley, and the Knowle and Wickham areas within Winchester district.
Councillor Seán Woodward responded by stating that “The pre-submission draft Core Strategy is as its name implies a draft plan. Its viability needs to be tested at a public inquiry next Summer following which action area plans will be drawn up which specify in detail exactly what infrastructure is required and, most importantly its timing and funding. It is important that, just as strategic countryside gaps exist between Fareham's existing town and villages, then we owe it to the communities of Funtley, as well as Knowle and Wickham, that they are also separated from this new community by countryside gaps.“
For Further Information Contact:
Lindsey Ansell, Head of Corporate Services tel: 01329 824567
fax: 01329 824505, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This and previous media releases can be viewed on the Council�s website: