Although this is the home page, to check for the latest updates go to the revisions page.
All videos from January's Planning primarily meeting about Warsash and Western Wards have now been posted.
Just to remind ourselves of one of the important meetings that took place, effectively behind closed doors.
What a shame that we don't have any idea of the conversations or the deals that were set up.
Sir Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset, is preparing a report for Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid called An Independent Review to Tackle Barriers to Building.
A very interesting letter from Sir Oliver to Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has surfaced on the progress of his review into the build out of planning permissions into homes.
So much of what he has so far discovered is exactly what so many ordinary members of the public have been saying for so long. A typical quote is:
"The fundamental driver of build out rates once detailed planning permission is granted for large sites appears to be the ‘absorption rate’ – the rate at which newly constructed homes can be sold into (or are believed by the house-builder to be able to be sold successfully into) the local market without materially disturbing the market price".
It makes you wonder just how much money, and more importantly, time could have been saved if we only had some politicians that lived in the real world and spoke and more vitally listened to, their constituents.
At the end of it all though, will it make any difference to the future or have our senior politicians got their heads so firmly buried in the idea of supply and demand and that the private sector will solve all of our problems if given their head, that it will just be ignored?
There was a seminar about the The National Planning Policy Framework - a comment from one of the attendees said:
"It was an interesting seminar at which the draft NPPF’s shortcomings were dissected at length and positive alternatives put forward. The evening concluded with the man from the Ministry being forced into saying something. He made it sound good but the inescapable conclusion was that they’re not going to make any significant changes, whatever any of the expected 15,000 responses say. That’s Government consultations these days, I’m afraid, more advance notice than consultation really."
Unfortunately we are not the only ones in this mess. A goup called "Smart Growth UK" has released a report called "Garden Communities - Why Communities Say No". It has a foreword by Griff Rhys-Jones with comments from groups similar to us, namely:
To misquote a phrase made famous way back in the 18th century.
"If a tree falls in a forest and our council isn't prepared to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Silence has a sound it is just the matter of deciphering the message which is being shrouded from public view. For the next few weeks controversial planning decisions will be put on hold and that will probably be demonstrated when the planning committee agenda is published on the 18th of April.
Politics will govern the development scene for the next few weeks and even developers will have to accept that that is the way of life and that they will just have to wait until the local elections are out of the way before continuing their relentless pursuit for new housing permissions on our greenfields.
Reputations in one way or other are being robustly defended against mischief. Censuring manoeuvres that are designed to control and stop freedom of expression. Such political theatre will be seen for what it is and will fail to accomplish what others hope to seek.
So while we can have a few weeks to reflect, we can take a little time to ponder on when the Welborne outline planning application will be considered by the Planning Committee. If timelines with regard to Welborne are not going to be pushed out further then the outline planning application needs to be determined shortly.
Link to the Welborne planning Outline Application
The decision is due by the end of April.
Mike Parson has got The News to publish a message that we have been trying to push onto our (in)glorious leaders for what seems like ages. It sums up the argument in extremely understandable terms that even the PUSH underlings at FBC could understand - but will it influence them after May 3rd? More importantly will it influence the voters of Fareham?
It goes very well with an article published in The Guardian.
"There is no housing crisis. It would be easier if there were.
The problem is not a lack of homes, but a skewed market."
Just as the local groups are coming together to form a more coherent approach to the over-development of Fareham, so disparate pressure groups are joining forces to try and defend the countryside in other parts of the country.
Currently there are 16 other groups that have joined together and I have just e-mailed to make Inform Fareham the seventeenth.
As everyone knows, paragraph 49 of The National Planning Policy Framework provides that:
"Relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up to date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing sites."
Fareham's 5-year land supply currently stands at 4.4 years, much improved on the 2.2 years the Cranleigh Road inspector set out in his report.
The lack of a 5YHLS triggers paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework and reduces the weight that can be attached to development plan policies that fall within the ambit of paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework. Namely:
"Planning permission should be granted unless adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole or specific policy in this Framework indicate development should be restricted."
Sorry about that!
So here is the question of the day!
What is meant by "significantly and demonstrably?" Planners and developers love to argue this one. Some read Demonstrably to mean, a baseline set at a level which is impossible to achieve.
Actually, the words have simple meanings:
Would you agree? What are your thoughts?
Demonstrably - means in a way that is clearly apparent or capable of being logically proved.
Significant - means enough to be noticed, worthy of attention: noteworthy
What is meant by "significantly and demonstrably?" Planners and developers love to argue this one. Some read Demonstrably to mean, a baseline set at a level which is impossible to achieve.
Actually, the words have simple meanings:
Would you agree? What are your thoughts?
The numbers don't seem to add up. PUSH require 8,000 homes over the next 18 years. According to this publication we will have an additional 13,000 inhabitants by 2036 (page 3) - even if we work on an average of 2 people per household that would mean 6,500 houses between now and 2036. Probably a more sensible number would be somewhere between 2.5 and 3 people per household so 5,200 to 4,333. 5,000 more over 85's, how many of them will move to a care home and release their own home? So that will possibly reduce the required number by another 500 - 750 so PUSH's original figures - if these are correct - would be in excess by around 50%.
450 homes per year over the next 18 years would be 8,100 homes another rounding-up. (Page 4)
Page 5 - 700 brownfield, 2,500 greenfield, 1,300 windfall, another 1,300 in smaller plots and 4,000 Welborne gives a toal of 9,800 - another rounding-up by1,800 homes. Not too sure if I have counted the 1,300 homes twice - all depends how you read the article but even if I have that is still another 500 over and above the original.
I am certainly no statistician or even mathematician but it would seem to make sense to me that because of the dramatic effect that this Daft Local Plan is going to cause they could at least ensure that their numbers had some sort of common results.
Link to FBC's website to download the comic.
Spotted walking along Ranvilles Lane today. I would expect that most developers know about it and Stubbington By-Pass could serve just as well as an access road to this site as to the real Newlands site. Wonder if this was on the secret meeting list of subjects?
Campaign for Colney's crie de coeur
A nicely written protest song - harks back to the days of yore.
It would definitely seem that we, the plebians of the United Kingdom, are all in it together shame that the ruling class don't seem to want to join us. At least the original plebs knew that they didn't get a say. Trouble is that our patricians give us a say but just don't bother to listen.
Quote from an article on the BQLive.co.uk website
"Writing in the FT, Nathan Brooker says that ... to 'build yourself out of a housing crisis is like trying to dig yourself out of a hole'. In fact, Brooker seems to deny there’s a housing shortage, arguing that prime central London is full of empty houses and that the capital is oversupplied with homes that are too expensive.
Investors in buy-to-let have reaped massive returns, gaining on average 1,400% since 1996 — four times more than equivalent investments in commercial property, government bonds or shares. The enthusiasm for investing in housing has been fuelled by correspondingly poor returns from other forms of investment. The stock market by February 2015 had only just recovered to its peak of the end of 1999 before the dot.com bubble burst, so that the total real return of the FTSE 100 over that period was close to zero."
Another week where one can only look and wonder as to where Fareham is heading. The development strategy is being led by a great dollop of hope and a prayer. The simple truth is that the Council is not in control of events. If anyone can assume we have ordered development then may their god forgive them for their rationale is of jumble, disorder and chaos.
Wednesday was another marathon Planning Committee, starting at 14:30 and finishing at 21:00 hrs which tried the human endurance of all who were there. Congratulations to those members of the public who showed great resolve and willpower to witness the lights of Ferneham Hall fade into the night. Thanks to Chris and Mike from Inform Fareham who joined the spectacle and videoed most of the meeting. Mike lasted the event but their cameras unfortunately couldn't.
The videos can be found here.
Those who attended the committee witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of the planning process.
Was served by the rejection of:
46 DWELLINGS AND ASSOCIATED ACCESS FROM THE FLORINS (OUTLINE APPLICATION WITH APPROVAL SOUGHT FOR ACCESS AND LAYOUT) LAND TO SOUTH WEST OF SOVEREIGN CRESCENT LOCKS HEATH.
While the ugly.
Had to make do with:
A planning application which left one utterly numbed on how a developer could get it so wrong in terms of design. It left one speechless.
DEMOLITION, SITE CLEARANCE AND REMEDIATION WITH THE ERECTION OF 72 C3 RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS AND ASSOCIATED ACCESS, PARKING, ANCILLARY INFRASTRUCTURE AND LANDSCAPING WORKS. SAWMILLS INDUSTRIAL PARK WICKHAM ROAD FAREHAM
There were other decisions which left one wondering just how inconsistent the planning process can be. A Care Home that many regarded to be well designed and would have met a growing need but just happened to be in a ward that is either out of bounds from any development for some mysterious reason, or succumbed to traffic objections leaving us scratching our heads as to why these sort of problems seem to exist here but nowhere else in the borough? Personal thoughts of course.
Cranleigh Road was finally given the green light even though there is no spare capacity within any of the primary schools in Portchester. Where are the children from the development to be educated? Wickham perhaps, I am being serious.
On one site a huge number of trees are to be felled, nature is unforgiving, what we take today she will reward us with consequences which will leave many wondering. If only we had listened - if only.....
The topsy-turvy world of planning continues and moves to the next stage which will take place on 21st March, where the attention will move from the Western Wards to Portchester again. Join us in the continuing saga of a plan that is not fit for purpose and the continuation of a flawed policy led by an agenda which remains unseen from the public eye and was possibly created behind closed doors at a secret meeting paid for by an organisation funded by the developers.
The following is taken from the introduction to a CPRE (Hampshire) publication. The rest of it is well worth a read.
"The demise of structure plans for the county and regional plans for the South East removed the strategic framework for managing the impact of new development pressures. They have been replaced by plans and strategies of a number of organisations including all the local authorities, PUSH, two National Park authorities and two local enterprise partnerships.
None of those plans provides an overview of the economy, housing, infrastructure and the environment over a geographical area of sufficient size to provide real or spatial options for development, improved infrastructure, green infrastructure or communities.
We say we need a strategic vision that brings our Local Authorities together to plan for growth in a better way, respecting the distinctiveness of our towns and cities and the countryside that makes Hampshire special"
The Council’s executive meets on Tuesday to discuss an officers report with regard to CIL.
Community Infrastructure Levy Review – Amended Regulation 123 List
Government guidance: Community Infrastructure Levy
Written question and the reply.
Past History on CIL payments within Fareham
"Local authorities must allocate at least 15% of levy receipts to spend on priorities that should be agreed with the local community in areas where development is taking place. This can increase to a minimum of 25% in certain circumstances (where there is a Neighbourhood Plan). Communities without a Parish, Town or Community Council will still benefit from the 15% neighbourhood portion (or 25% portion, if a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order has been made).
If there is no Parish, Town or Community Council, the charging authority will retain the levy receipts but should engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding. Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools e.g. website, newsletters, etc."
"Officers recognise that where Hampshire County Council seeks financial contributions towards education this could have implications for the viability of individual schemes. In these instances, it would be open to applicants to submit a viability assessment to demonstrate what level of contribution a site is able to withstand if they believed that viability would be unacceptably affected"
|2015/16||Holly Hill Leisure Centre (Park Gate)||2,400,000|
|Committed||Bus Shelter Replacement (Borough-wide)||451,500|
|Committed||Hill Head Coastal Protection Phase 1 (Hill Head)||355,500|
Councils find sites for more than five times the number of homes predicted by Government.
An analysis of Brownfield Land Registers, published on Monday 12 February, confirms that there is enough space on brownfield land to build at least one million new homes, with more than two-thirds of these homes deliverable within the next five years. Many of these sites are in areas with a high need for housing.
This means that three of the next five years’ worth of Government housing targets could be met through building homes on brownfield land that has already been identified, easing pressures on councils to continue releasing greenfield land unnecessarily and preventing the unnecessary loss of countryside.
We the undersigned have lost all confidence in the planning and decision making progresses with regards to the development at Seafield Road, Portchester, in fact, we call into question the way Fareham Borough Council are determining housing allocations across Fareham.
We believe the decision to grant planning planning permission has already been taken, in fact, we believe the developers were given the green light some time ago and Fareham Borough Council are simply playing games with residents in indicating to them no conclusion has been made.
We believe Fareham Borough Council are totally ignoring all comments the public are making with regard to the development at Seafield Road and have an agenda of keeping the residents at arm's length while developers have Fareham Borough Council’s full attention
We wish to register a vote of no confidence in our council
Was it by accident or was it because someone’s plan went horribly wrong?
To understand the chaos we, as a Borough find ourselves in, and let us not fall for the political spin circulating around this disaster, one needs to turn the clock back and travel back in time to 2015.
After a lengthy public debate which was anything other than painfully gruelling over many years, The Welborne Plan and The Local Plan Part 2: Development Sites &Policies were signed off as sound and fit for purpose after public hearings conducted by Mr David Hogger, who will always have a place in the history of Fareham.
Local Plan Part 2
Welborne - Local Plan 3
Whilst the public was focused on Welborne and the Local Plan 2 reviews, others were busy plotting the next step in bringing even more housing to Fareham. The plotters were The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire.
The public statements at the time rippling through the airwaves, "Build Welborne and other greenfield sites would be safe from predators" was repeated time and time again. This idiom was fired in the defence of Welborne.
Yet while those public statements were resonating in the public's mind others were occupied in bringing forward their hidden agenda. The grand publication date was to be November 2015 and was give the title of:
‘Where next for Fareham Housing’
The story, build Welborne and all will be fine, was misleading at best and at worse, dishonest. Those behind ‘Where next for Fareham Housing’ knew full well what was being planned and the timeline of a future announcement on new housing projects was fully understood in May of 2015, but they chose to say nothing of their plan until a grand public broadcast in November 2015. It takes months of work to prepare such a policy and therefore it was well underway in early 2015.
The starting point and the driver of the ‘Where next for Fareham Housing’ was the work commissioned by The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire. Objectively-Assessed Housing Need and South Hampshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment
The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) promised a public consultation on the new housing figures. This promise was delayed and then cancelled. There was no public consultation with the result that the new Objectively-Assessed Housing Need figures published by PUSH have never been subject to any outside scrutiny other than PUSH members.
Councillors of the various local authorities who make up PUSH had no opportunity to debate the Objectively-Assessed Housing Need figures and therefore another possibility to scrutinise such a major piece of work was removed.
There is an important issue here: when the government inspector examined evidence relating to PUSH’s updated objectively assessed needs (OAN) at the Cranleigh Road Public Inquiry he was looking at evidence that had not been subject to any public scrutiny because PUSH had failed to bring forward their intended consultation.
The question is, was the Cranleigh Road Appeal flawed in that the Inspector simply took the view that PUSH had consulted on their OAN numbers?
Another reason why we shouldn’t be running from another Planning Appeal and why the planning application for a Warsash site should have been allowed to have gone to appeal?
The picture is of Seafield Road Portchester. Where developers have cut the trees down before they have received planning consent.
We have so frequently been told that there is no Green Belt in South Hampshire - well here is our chance to try and correct the situation. CPRE are building a petition to try and protect some of our valuable countryside.
Dear Cllr Woodward, Cllr House, Cllr Horrill & Cllr North,
A consequence of the growth of the South Hampshire Sub Region is a need for more housing, which in recent years has significantly encroached into the surrounding countryside. Designation of a Green Belt around the urban area (as part of a strategic vision for Hampshire) would limit further encroachment, prevent the coalescence of settlements, and prompt a greater contribution to new housing from regeneration of the urban area.
Please work together to plan for growth in South Hampshire and protect our most valued green spaces by introducing new Green Belt policy in your Local Plans.
Please sign and proliferate the post.
Link to the relevant CPRE page
The decision by Fareham council to wave through the applications to build more than 400 new homes in Warsash is sad, but not surprising.
Those people who have been following the evolution of the council’s Local Plan from its beginnings with the Strategic Development Area have been warning for many years that this is the kind of thing that would be likely to happen.
The council’s leader, Sean Woodward, has, through his role as the chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, been driving up the town’s housing targets while promising people in the western wards that Welborne would save them from over-development.
He also promised that Welborne would provide leverage to secure the necessary infrastructure.
Few of those who looked at the evolving plans in detail believed him at the time and, sure enough, neither of his promises have been kept.
For this, Sean Woodward should have resigned but he hasn’t and he won’t.
We are now in a situation where the quality of life for Fareham’s residents is likely to decline significantly, and all because of the actions of the elected councillors in the Tory group who have unquestionably, and mostly unthinkingly, supported their leader. The only hope of salvaging something from this mess is to remove the Tory group from its position of power in Fareham at the next local elections
The Heights, Wallington
(Also published in The News)
Statement for Daily Echo 15 Jan
Lee Smith, Head of Development Management for Fareham Borough Council said:
"The Taylor Wimpey appeal against the Council’s decision to refuse its planning application for 85 homes in Warsash was set to be heard at a Public Inquiry on 16 January 2018. The Council refused the application in January 2017 because the site was in the countryside and it believed it had a sufficient supply of sites for future housing. Subsequently Taylor Wimpey put in a duplicate planning application for the same scheme.
In August 2017 the Cranleigh Road, Portchester, appeal was decided. This application was also to build houses in the countryside. The Appeal was allowed as an independent Inspector did not accept the Council had identified enough sites to meet future housing requirements - these need to cover atleast five years' supply and are referred to in planning terms as the five-year housing land supply.
The Planning Appeal decision is significant. It amounts to a ‘material change’ which means the Council cannot refuse housing applications simply because they are in the countryside.
On 24th January councillors will consider the duplicate application submitted by Taylor Wimpey. Council Officers will advise the Committee it can no longer refuse the application simply because it is in the countryside; having considered all of the planning issues, they are recommending approval of the scheme. That does not mean councillors will share the same view. It is the councillors who are the decision makers.
In the event that the duplicate application is approved by Councillors, this will have significant implications on the outstanding Planning Appeal and the Council will liaise with the Planning Inspectorate accordingly. This will ensure any unnecessary costs are avoided; Public Inquiries are extremely costly and can lead to six figure sums from the public purse.
The Warsash petition will be reported as part of the report on the Taylor Wimpey duplicate planning application which is being published on the Council's website tomorrow, 16th January.
The Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for 24th January.
Out of interest the previous application to go before the Planning Committee was videoed and can be found on the Videos page
All of the following points have been raised in e-mails between FBC, the Planning Inspectorate and Turley (Taylor Wimpey's agent), unfortunately as most e-mails are in these cases, they come with a non-disclosure comment at the foot which means that they cannot be published on this page. Let us see whether any of the local, or indeed national news agencies are prepared to put some of their investigative journalists who know how to go about these things, to work, to show just how devious and underhanded, if not downright illegal, the machinations of the planning system can be. It does seem to back up the next comment though. (Hamlet act 1 scene 4)
This though, is Save Warsash and Western Wards from Over-development Group's (SWWG) communication with Fareham Borough Council.
For Particular Attention : FBC Audit and Governance Committee
Fareham Residents Shocked at Taylor Wimpey site Planning Shenanigans. They plan to make a Formal Complaint about Council Activity and Call for a Stop on Planning Hearings until Disclosures are Investigated.
A “Frenzy” of Developers, inundated local planning officers (Sean Woodward's words), and Councillors are working behind the scenes on planning applications, betraying public trust. But residents in the local Wards in Fareham are fighting back now that they realise that trust in a fair system is misplaced and their communities are being blighted, not for any common good or local and national need, but because of mediocrity and poor process in governance.
They plan a formal complaint, and expect to call for current planning applications to be stopped and previous applications like Cranleigh Road to be re-reviewed in light of startling disclosures.
In this one specific case (where information has been disclosed) in Warsash, on a greenfield site outside the Urban Boundary, Taylor Wimpey put in an application for 85 homes. This scheme is part of a 700 home scheme and is a Trojan horse for all the rest. FBC planners denied consent for this scheme for good reasons and a Public Inquiry was announced after Taylor Wimpey appealed against the decision. Now it gets murky. Taylor Wimpey then put up a "duplicate scheme", which FBC planning officers, unbeknown to the Planning Committee members, have advised Taylor Wimpey that they will almost certainly get approval for on 24th January, when the FBC Planning Meeting hears this and other cases. (See the disclosed emails attached) So, it doesn't matter that the site is under Public Inquiry or Hearing, by the time that will get heard in May, the deal will already have been done on the duplicate, and the Trojan horse for the other 700 homes on greenfield in Fareham will have bolted. We only know this because the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, who handle the appeals, released the attached information and email transcripts in this case, when we challenged them about why information was not disclosed that the Public Inquiry was quietly dropped just before Christmas, without notice to the local citizens who had complained! When we got the shocking email disclosures we challenged FBC because of the following points:
"..... I can confirm that this Council would be prepared to enter into a Statement of Common Ground confirming that it cannot demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply against objectively assessed housing need, and that reasons for refusal 1 b)-f) could be satisfactorily addressed through a Planning obligation and/ or planning conditions.
Reason 1 a) on the refusal notice states that ‘the proposal represents development outside the defined urban settlement boundary for which there is no justification or overriding need and would adversely affect its landscape character, appearance and function.’ Whilst this Council accepts that it cannot demonstrate that it has a 5YHLS, it does not automatically follow that refusal 1 a) must be overcome. The 5YHLS issue along with the introduction of residential development within the countryside will need to be weighed in the balance as required by Paragraph 14 of the NPPF
I have set out in an earlier email (To Taylor Wimpey agent) that Officers will be recommending that the Planning Committee grant planning permission for the duplicate planning application. From my earlier statement it is clear that Officers have applied the balance required by paragraph 14 and concluded that the proposal should be permitted. He does say...The final decision is however one for this Council’s Planning Committee, and until it has made such a decision reason for refusal 1 a) still remains. Officers do not have delegated authority to unilaterally withdraw the Council’s reasons for refusal. In light of this, the Council would not be able to enter into a Statement of Common Ground at the present time stating that ‘RoR 1 a) of the decision notice is overcome.’ In turn this Council is not currently in a position to say it ‘will not be presenting any evidence to defend the RoR at Inquiry’"....... but the intention is only too clear.
How do we know about this behind the scenes business? only because when we chased the Planning Inspectorate for information, they sent us copies of the emails between the Developers, themselves and FBC Planning Chiefs. So this was all sewn up neatly before Christmas whilst residents were wasting their time preparing to exercise their democratic rights to deputation.
SWWW rep Richard Thomas says.
"We know we have to bear our share of development, but we expect the process to be fair and transparent to give residents a chance to make their views known. The Council Leader has said a lot recently about defending Fareham against such schemes, and winning appeals etc. Take a look at this information in the disclosed email and be your own judges. We have experienced a great deal of local development recently, but the infrastructure has not been developed to support it. The roads are jammed, schools are full and local healthcare services strained beyond the limit. People moving into the new schemes are sold short on all of this until they arrive and find out how difficult it’s becoming. It would be different if there were provision for the elderly, or younger members of the community looking for first homes, but these schemes don't serve those needs. To shoehorn another 1200 homes into a bottlenecked peninsular without sorting out the infrastructure, and to do it on greenfield land when there is brownfield available, speaks very badly of our representatives who we have trusted to execute the Governments plans for housing responsibly".
And is that all? No, sadly. The Petition of 2,390 signatures (a great many in a village like Warsash) presented to the Council objecting to the new Draft Local Plan contains references to the huge scheme that the 85 house Taylor Wimpey site is a Trojan Horse. The Petition was presented before Christmas and presented to the Mayor in Council for debate as is required. Now Residents are informed that it wont be debated until well into the summer, or even later, perhaps not until 2019, long after the Planning Meeting on 24th January, by which time its all over, and only when the Draft Local Plan is coming up for actual adoption. So much for assurances when the Petition was delivered.
This is purely speculation on my part. I have been trying to resolve some problems in my mind and can only seem to come up with the following explanation. I may be wrong, I may be right, but because of the way Fareham Borough Council seems to be keeping information under wraps I have no method of knowing one way or the other.
Spot the difference between the following two planning applications:
P/16/1049/OA received 13-09-2016 accepted on 19/09/2016 with an decision by 27-01-2017:
Outline Planning Permission With All Matters Reserved (Except For Access), For Residential Development Of Up To 85 Dwellings With Public Open Space, Access From Brook Lane, Landscaping Works, Including Demolition Of Existing Redundant Nursery Buildings.
P/17/0746/OA received 28-06-2017 accepted on 28-06-2017 with an decision by 30-11-2017:
Outline Planning Permission With All Matters Reserved (Except For Access), For Residential Development Of Up To 85 Dwellings With Public Open Space, Access From Brook Lane, Landscaping Works, Including Demolition Of Existing Redundant Nursery Buildings.
Have you spotted the difference? I know that I couldn't but the first application was rejected by our Planning department and Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd. asked to go to appeal which was set for 16-01-2018. All of a sudden, earlier this year, Taylor Wimpey withdrew the appeal, although according to FBC's Planning Portal it is still awaiting an outcome (but we know better) at the same time from what I can gather, it was changed to an informal hearing, a far less stringent procedure.
The second application is now due to come before our Planning Committee, presumably on the 24th January even though a decision should have been made by 30th November 2017 - WHY? If EXACTLY the same application was rejected earlier last year and is supposed to be awaiting an appeal or even an informal hearing how can effectively the same application expect a different outcome so soon afterwards? Surely FBC can only repeat the rejection, nothing has changed that much in such a short time except that the Cranleigh Road appeal was lost. Could the reason be that because of that disaster FBC have lost heart? What would be the point of re-submitting the appeal unless Taylor Wimpey now felt that they had FBC over a barrel - have FBC effectively admitted that it just isn't financially viable to reject it again? I hate to suggest such an idea but could there be collusion between the two parties? Something along the lines of you withdraw your appeal and we'll see if we can't get the application passed this time.
After the secret meetings and I am sure excellent meal, held under Chatham House rules between various councilors and presumably developers at the Solent Hotel last year bur definitely NOT paid for by FBC. It just makes one wonder how open our Council is being about how the developments have been divvied up in our Borough. As no information has been released on this meal and meeting all we can do is surmise what went on. If there was nothing to hide - why the Chatham House rules and why no transcript of what went on. Has somebody, somewhere got something that they don't want residents to know? Would a councillor involved in that little jolly care to put us right as to what went on or do they prefer us to come to our own conclusion?
Don't worry, Fareham Borough Council is committed to open and honest dealings so I am sure that my cynical mind is just wondering off on one of it's frequent trips of imagination. I just pray that may be so and that everything that I have suggested here is wrong.
Somebody (I believe it was our Executive Leader, although I cannot confirm this) Twittered back in December last year that the Public Inquiry into the Brook Lane development below was going to be changed to an Informal Hearing although on Tuesday I contacted our Planning Department and they knew absolutely nothing about this change. Rumour has now been confirmed as being true - wouldn't it be nice for the general public to be informed before Twitter followers, especially only followers of one particular person? It seems that we now have a new form of government bureaucracy, democracy, autocracy and now trumpeaucracy, the one thing we don't seem to have is public accountability.
There is a very useful article by CPRE about informal hearings
We will start 2018 in a position of profound weakness, noticeably that some of our principal greenfield sites will be subject to planning appeals in the coming weeks, but worse still, sites which local residents have always regarded as no-go zones for development will be subject to developers pushing forward with detailed planning applications.
In December the planning committee turned down a planning application for housing on a site in Titchfield which will almost certainly be appealed, joining a growing list. This planning spectacle will be repeated time and time again in the months ahead, even worse, some sites will be given the green light for development without a struggle, they are to become the sacrificial lambs so others may hopefully be saved. Anyone trying to understand why one site will be judged suitable for development over one which isn’t will need all of the wisdom and foresight they can muster.
The popular metaphor 'ostriches appear to bury their heads in the sand to avoid predators' may have some credence after all. The architect of this fine mess is clearly unable to bring forward any plan with an ounce of order or fair-mindedness. The result being that developers will create options and housing developments on their terms rather than on terms specified by our Council and without due regard to local residents.
The Cranleigh Road appeal Inspector delivered his decision which has resulted in huge planning ramifications. It wasn’t a surprise and certainly was not one of shock horror, it was there for all to see. One didn't need to be a fortuneteller to know what was heading down the line and what was coming.
2018 should be the year when those who choose to lead refrain from following the spectacle of ostriches, burying their heads and actually take some responsibility for the mess created on their watch.
That is not too much to ask, is it? May 2018 be kind to the world we all live in.
Will they manage to force this one through?
Quote from an article in The News
"The proposed development site is adjacent to the national nature reserve and acts as a natural buffer between existing residential housing in Hill Head and the reserve.
Plans would have this gap reduced to a few feet and would remove feeding and hunting grounds from the reserve. The addition of light pollution, noise pollution, pet predation etc means the national nature reserve will be under threat by this permanent and irreversible damage."
Here we go. This site, as far as I can tell, was originally raised on 13th September 2016 as reference P/16/1049/OA. It was refused on 26th January 2017. Now we start the process that I am sure is going to become a regular occurrence over the next months thanks to the over-emphasis that was placed on the immature Welborne plan. The appeal is set to start at 10:00 on 16th January and last for three days, to be held at the Civic Offices
What a fantastic Christmas present we have been handed. I wonder when the next appeal will come, there haven't been many refusals in the last 12 months or so. Probably the next one to be heard will be the 22 dwellings south east of Rookery Lane - planning application P/16/1088/OA which has already been lodged as an appeal but does not figure amongst the sites approved for development in the Local Plan.
|Last year we saw 217,000 more homes being built in this country. That is a record—apart from one year—for the last 30 years.||217,000 is how many more homes there were in England in 2016/17 than the year before. That’s the second highest increase on record over the last 26 years. 184,000 of these were newly built in 2016/17.|
Cllr. Woodward's twittered response to a resident asking if about the realtionship between the supposed 1000 families on the waitng list for re-homing, or even homing.
This could be a slightly misleading comment as one assumes that he means that until the end of 2036 only 2/3rds of Welborne will be built. The other 2,000 house will come from 2036 onwards but we can only infer that this was his meaning, it does sound better though doesn't it?
Interestingly if 1,00 families need a home TODAY then how is Welborne, or indeed any other development that could possibly include "affordable" housing going to help them?
And just to get the figures correct the housing list for Fareham looked like this in August of this year:
|704 applications requiring 1 bedroom accommodation|
|216 applications requiring 2 bedroom accommodation|
|58 applications for 3 bedroom accommodation|
|52 applications requiring 4 bedroom accommodation.|
The Total of applications is 1018. NB, the number of actual applications doesn’t exactly match the figures above as some applicants register for more than one property size.
|3 Urgent applications|
There were 147 empty domestic properties in the borough so that should cover all of the urgent, high and half of the medium term requirements.
The classification for need was defined in this document published in 2013 - see appendix 3, pages 34-41, although the way that the Council now categorises these has changed. Details can be found at advice page on the FBC website which also covers all sorts of subjects relating to homelesness and how our Council can help.
I managed to attend a meeting of the Policy Development and Review Panel on the 7th November because there was a presentation being given by the Southern and Portsmouth Water Companies. I did not video but I did make an audio recording. It is nearly an hour long but makes for very interesting listening.
At one point, so I have been told, Southern Water were asked whether they could actually say "NO we could not cope with all of the development" and their response was that they did not have that ability - they HAD to comply with the requirement. Sounds very much like the CCG and County when our EL or a Government inspector says jump, they have no option, they HAVE to comply whether they have the staff and ability or not, all they can ask is how high?. Oh to live in an ivory tower like Barad d'Ur or Westminster.
Welborne - £48M just to move the existing mains water supply and transfer pipes, not to connect anything to the mains, just to move them to enable the development to be proceed. A good years planning although moves can be made once the plan is agreed.
Most of our water, in the Portsmouth Water area anyway, rely heavily on the aquifer, so great care will be needed to ensure that waste water management doesn't impact on the quality of the supply. If something goes wrong with the the management of the waste then it will impact very heavily on all of us. To ensure that the water supply remains capable of supplying our requirement means that the average useage per household is going to be need to be reduced from approx. 130 litres per person per day to something closer to 100 litres per person per day, a saving of nearly 25%. Is it possible? I guess so but it is going to rely heavily on the residents to agree to such changes even with modern, clever developments in water useage.
Well that seems OK for the Portsmouth Water catchment area but seeing as half of Fareham lies within Southern Water they are now talking about needing the new Havant Thicket reservoir which hasn't even been planned yet. They are also talking about de-salination, recycling grey water and even black water management. Even with our aquifer 2 dry winters would start creating restrictions, 4 dry winters and we would be in real trouble. Hard luck on the western wards, you aren't in the same privileged position as the Portsmouth Water area. Let's hope that Portsmouth Water have enough to share until the Havant Thicket Reservoir comes on-stream.
As far as waste is concerned - Developers will have to cover any costs - Peel Common can apparently cope with about another 10,000 houses before Southern Water have to renegotiate their permit so it looks as if they will need to start working on that within the next 10 years, especially when you add Gosport's effluent contribution into the equation. Budds Farm can cope with about another 35,000 but just think of the area that that has to cope with - Havant, Portsmouth, Horndean, Waterlooville, Lovedean, Cosham, Hayling and probably parts of Portchester. The worrying word that kept appearing was 'Probably'
Ah well - listen, weep and relax, it's all under control.
As a point of interest, if you add together just two of the infrastructure projects concerned with Welborne - J10, £60M and this £48M it equates to an on-cost per dwelling of nearly £18,000 then add all of the other services that the developer is going to have to pay for. Is it any wonder that houses in this area totally out of the reach of the average resident.
Well who would have believed it - FBC are objecting to the new housing allocation. This is what they should have been doing 5 years ago before PUSH and HMG landed us with the existing ridiculous requirements.
HMG still seems to believe that more supply will reduce prices, currently according to their figures the average house price in Fareham is OVER NINE TIMES average income and according to this article Cllr. Woodward, at his secret meeting last week, spoke to some developers about these extra housing numbers and asked them if they would build more houses and they said no. Why would they build houses they can’t sell?
However it's amazing how quickly the current build phase is being sold so are they speaking with their fingers crossed behind their backs? How about reducing their profit margin instead or is that being far too simplistic?
Article in The News
FBC threatened to have a run-on CAT at Porchester if it proved to popular but it proved unneccessary, the 19:00 Warsash meeting is already fully booked so they have added another one to follow on at 20:40
It looks as though FBC will be re-visiting the SHLAA for some more sites - obviously HMG aren't happy with the housing situation in this over-crowded part of the country and want to cram even more in.
Quotes taken from an article in The News:
"The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says the figures would help achieve an aim of building 266,000 homes per year, but that they are advisory and should be used as a ‘starting point’ for councils.
Its new formula allocates extra homes for when average house prices are greater than the average area income."
Can you understand the reasoning behind this demand? House prices are already out of reach of almost every local person and we have seen from the past developments that this won't make any difference to the situation. House prices do not follow the normal laws of supply and demand - one of the reasons is that whilst our population keeps increasing from any source at all, then demand will ALWAYS outstrip supply and also that HMG keeps sticking it's oar in and subsidising first-time buyers. It doesn't really help the situation that these houses are then sold on at full market price thereby putting them out of reach of the replacement first-time buyers.
It is worth watching the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches programme. It shows one possible alternative approach if HMG would only change the South-centric approach to development in our country. Unfortunately it is only available until the end of November.
At last though some councils seem to be waking from their deep sleep over the unsustainability of this crazy situation and are starting to quote our by-line of being FAREHAM (Havant, Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport) IS FULL. Now that is a statement from our local leaders that we can all stand by and support for a change. I notice that the two Portsmout MPs have commented on the situation but I haven't come across any comment from our Suella yet - maybe she doesn't want to upset Tessa while she is being tipped as a future PM by the Sunday Times.
Article in The News
CPRE have done a little bit of homework on the housing requirements that PUSH and their partners have landed us with, it backs up many of the arguments that have been made over a long period now.
The demographic household projections for Fareham over the period 2011-2036 are 9,485 households (56,220-46,735), which equates to 380 dwellings per annum (dpa). This projection includes people being born, dying, marrying, divorcing, reaching 18, migrating etc and is carefully balanced out across the entire country so that people are not double-counted. Fareham’s annual target from PUSH (as calculated by GL Hearn) was 455 dpa from 2011-2034, but this includes an element of encouraging people into the borough to drive economic growth and also an increase over and above the demographic requirement to try to fund affordable housing. This means that people are being double-counted, unless you subtract those people from some other district or borough. This has not been taken into account in the GL Hearn PUSH figures.
The new OAN proposal currently out for consultation from government gives Fareham a target of 531 dpa from 2016-2026, which includes the base demographic projection for that period (which is 401 dpa) and then adds an uplift as Fareham is deemed to be an expensive place to live. The theory being that if you over-supply an expensive area then house prices will come down. The problem is that house pricing is not simplistically driven by supply and demand, but by many other factors such as mortgage availability and rates, investor purchases for buy-to-let or as a safe haven for overseas funds. And new builds only comprise a very small percentage of the overall market and are unlikely to have enough magnitude even under these proposals to change market forces. Furthermore, if by massively exceeding demographic demand, the house prices actually did come down, then firstly the builders would stop building (as their profits would slump) and secondly every existing house owner would be in negative equity. And we would be back to a sub-prime crash again as in 2007. There are surely other policy initiatives which could enable young people to get onto the housing ladder.
It is a complex task to try to compare all the different time scales, and then to convert dpa requirements into allocations over a plan period. It is also worth noting that a plan never runs for an entire period, and is updated/reviewed about every 5 years, which makes the whole task of looking ahead to 2036 fairly meaningless. And there are new demographic projections due in 2018 which could change those currently being used. Nonetheless, under either the FBC/PUSH scenario or that proposed in the OAN consultation, it appears that Fareham is being expected to take more than its own indigenous need should suggest.
I remember raising the subject of security of water supply with Portsmaouth Water back in May of this year. Their reply to my concerns were fairly sanguine Link to their reply.
Having recently received my sewage bill from Southern Water I actually looked at the little leaflet that they send with every one.
Quote from the leaflet:
"As the South East is designated a water stressed area, saving water also helps to protect our water sources now and in the future"
From October 2016 ti April 2017, we had less rainfall than normal, which means many of the water sources we draw from are at lower than average level. So it's even more important that we all use water as wisely as possible"
I do realise that Portsmouth Water and Southern Water are separate companies but how can PW be so relaxed about the addition of 120,000 or so houses in the area and yet the larger supplier is already exhorting us to save the precious commodity.
The following post is on behalf of Wicor Primary School, Portchester (adjoining Cranleigh Road)
Due to our disappointment regarding the Cranleigh decision and the diabolical shambles by FBC which is enabling developers to put in applications throughout Portchester and Fareham the Headteacher of Wicor Primary School is writing to Suella Fernandes. In addition, there is a whisper that she might intervene. As always, the more emails/snail mails she gets regarding the problem the more likely it is that she will intervene.
Attached, therefore, is a letter written by the Headteacher of Wicor Primary School which he is sending to Suella on headed paper. However, he has said that he is happy for it to be used by anyone else opposing the Portchester developments. Just download, amend/delete anything that is not appropriate to you (or send as it is) and sign. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please flood her with letters opposing the developments which are threatening to overwhelm Portchester and denude the countryside around it.
Something has to be done regarding the shambles of the FBC.
The text of the letter is here or download it in .doc format from the link above.
15th September 2017
Dear Ms Fernandes
I am writing to express my concerns about a decision made regarding the planning application by Persimmon Homes to build on land north of Cranleigh Road and directly adjoining the school’s entire western boundary. I have shared my concerns with you on this matter before but events are escalating in a way that I think is detrimental to the quality of life in Portchester. If events remain as they are, the future looks bleak for the children and young people of this community.
Unfortunately, throughout my term as Headteacher, this rich piece of open countryside (known as the land north of Cranleigh Road) has been under the more or less continuous threat of ‘development’ and previous attempts to seek permission to build have been rejected by Fareham Borough Council. Earlier in the year yet another application was made to the Borough Council (http://www.fareham.gov.uk/casetrackerplanning - reference P/15/0260/OA) to build an estate of 120 houses on the land. I understand that this his application received over 500 objections from members of the local community and I added to these objections on behalf of the school. The Borough Council rejected the application on many grounds but the developer, Persimmon Homes lodged an appeal which was heard by an independent inspector in April. I recently heard that the appeal has been upheld which finally gives the green light for the destruction of this lovely piece of meadowland. I am fully aware of the pressures that housing needs place on local authorities but I do not believe that these pressures can ever justify the destruction of a beautiful, wildlife-rich area such as the meadow next to our school; such parcels of ‘urban countryside’ are precious and must be protected.
I wrote to you previously on this issue and you informed that it was a matter for local democracy, which I understand. Therefore, I was delighted when, in the case of the Cranleigh Road Meadow, the local opposition to the development was very strong. The local community and residents made a clear case for protecting the meadow against destruction and this case was heard by Fareham Borough Council, whose members overwhelmingly rejected the planning application by Persimmon Homes – a decision I believe to be entirely proper. However, with planning laws as they are, the developer has the last right of appeal and as I mentioned above the independent inspector overturned the overwhelmingly strong views of the local community and its local Borough Council. Clearly, local democracy does not ultimately have teeth and this troubles me greatly.
I also understand that the independent inspector acknowledged the case to prevent the destruction of Cranleigh including its ecological and environmental value but, due to flaws in Fareham Borough Council’s long term housing plan (i.e. the inspector judged that the plan had not identified land for a sufficient number of homes over the next five years) he would therefore uphold the developer’s appeal. I find this troubling too; it appears that the destruction of the Cranleigh meadow is effectively the punishment for Fareham Borough Council’s deficient housing plan.
I always feared that if a rich ecological site like the Cranleigh meadow could be destroyed then it would undoubtedly open the flood gates for developers with sights on less ecologically valuable sites and this has proven to be the case.
There is now a proposal to build 250 homes on land next to Romsey Avenue, the developer Foreman Homes openly admitting this was because of the Cranleigh ruling. In two adjacent fields alone that would be an additional 370 homes. However, we are also facing threats in other parts of Portchester. Radian Homes is proposing to build on Seafield and Millar Homes wants to build on Winnham Farm. All of these sites (and rumours of others) if built on would have a catastrophic effect on Portchester. Strong words but no exaggeration.
Portchester is a village – separated from Fareham by a small area of open countryside to the west. The scale of housing proposed would completely change the distinctive character and sense of place of a community. I find this unacceptable and immoral. The current building frenzy has taken on a ‘Wild West’ feel – land is being grabbed and built on with little or no regard to the needs and wishes of the local community. I know from a great many residents that people are upset and angry; Portchester is a powder keg. The local community feels that there is no justice – local democracy has been trampled on – and they feel that a place they hold dear is going to be effectively destroyed in terms of character. Residents fear that development is out of control and I don’t think it’s overstating the issue when I say that many residents fear for their quality of lives. I completely sympathise with these views.
The infrastructure of Fareham generally is currently under great strain. A significant additional influx of yet more housing will create needless acute problems for residents wanting access to local doctors’ surgeries, for example, and needing places in local schools – which are full and many, like ours, oversubscribed. It is surely madness to knowingly and intentionally create unacceptable pressures on local services? Again the residents and local community will be made to suffer at the hands of profiteering developers. In my view this is neither fair or moral.
The transport system is at full stretch. For residents and people like myself and many of my colleagues we need a car to get to work. Public transport is not adequate. An influx of just a few hundred houses is going to have a massive impact on travel. It matters not whether commuters or residents use bus or car, the queues are the same. I have heard that ‘someone somewhere’ has ideas to ease congestion but this is pie in the sky thinking. The fact is that roads in this part of the world are congested to the point of standstill – quite literally - at certain times. It only takes an accident on the M27 to create utter gridlock on the A27 and this is not an unusual occurrence.
As well as making journeys increasingly longer and more difficult, increasing car use will assuredly have a negative impact on the air quality and the environment. The effects of Nitrogen Oxide and particulates in exhaust gases are well documented, particularly the impact of these exhaust fumes on young developing children. The loss of open space is concerning too – again we now know the value of this on the emotional well-being of communities. Children need outdoor places to poke about and explore, to get them away from the sedentary computer screen lifestyle. There are many strong arguments for protecting the small pockets and parcels of open space we have.
I fully understand those pressures to provide housing but until we have properly used existing brownfield sites and there are no empty properties then I cannot accept that we should contemplate the destruction of countryside – even countryside with an urban patchwork. In fact, it is probably MORE critical to protect these last remaining urban open spaces.
I think Portchester, and indeed other parts of the Borough of Fareham have reached a tipping point; I believe we have reached a point where the quality of place, indeed the quality of life, risks being severely compromised by yet more development. I believe a great many residents and workers in the local community feel this too. People are angry and I think the time has come for a significant and serious intervention from you, our local MP.
This has now gone beyond just a matter of local democracy; indeed local democracy is, as demonstrated by the Cranleigh meadow decision, ultimately powerless. Nor can I believe that the Cranleigh decision is unique. I suspect similar scenarios are being played out in other parts of the country – another reason for getting a grip on this pernicious matter at governmental level.
I would be very grateful if you could look into this matter and help to stop Portchester and Fareham becoming just another bland and unremarkable over-developed piece of land that is part of an ever-growing, homogenous urban sprawl.
I look forward to your response and action on this matter.
Photos of our 'Lady Snowdon' in a Cranleigh Road (farmers) field, a dear goose who has travelled thousands of miles year after year to this area, and who returned with her offspring last year. I believe she is now with her flock in the fields at Romsey Avenue, Portchester.
Will these geese have a home next year? Will they arrive to the sounds of cement and bricks being laid, finding their place of safety is no more? Our wildlife also needs a place to live, a safe place to rest. The Journey of these geese is quite remarkable. They don't have a cockpit full of navigational wizardry and yet they make a remarkable journey, a journey which should inspire us all.
We all have a responsibility to the wonders of nature and before tearing up more green fields we should stop looking merely at ourselves and what we desire, we should look at what we are doing to the wider landscape and take some responsibility for the ecological vandalism that is being pursued
Later in the year, Brent Geese will arrive, although in much smaller numbers. Their Journey is just as remarkable. Let’s all hope the fields of Portchester and those beyond continue to offer them a home this year and for many years into the future.
If it at all possible please be observant and if you can take a phot of Brent geese resting or feeding on the Cranleigh Road Fields or indeed, any other fields that developers may have their sites set on, please take a photograpg and post it to email@example.com
We have been told that
“The present deluge of planning applications directed at our greenfield sites is nothing to do with the Cranleigh Road Appeal decision.”
"Our existing plan would suffice until we had updated it. So no, no mess made. We fought the appeal in good faith with the support of the residents of Portchester"
Let us try to clarify that.
No one is denying that Fareham Borough Council fought the Cranleigh Road Appeal in good faith, of course they did. The issue is whether their case was sound. The problem of course was that our present plan was adopted in May 2015, before the announcement of an additional 2000 new homes.
In May 2015 both the Welborne plan and the Local Plan 2 were found sound by an independent government inspector after a prolonged process which included 4 days of public hearings. The Local Plan 2 which addresses developments outside of Welborne was given the green light, in fact, the inspector said in Paragraph 50 of his report
“A number of alternative/additional housing sites were put forward by representatives but bearing in mind the ‘cushion’ that I refer to above and the soundness of the Council’s allocated sites, there is no justification for concluding that any of these proposals from interested parties should become allocations”.
Back in May 2015 the inspector fully supported Fareham Borough Council’s strategy. Headlines at the time read:
So what has changed?
Barely 5 months after the adoption of the local plan Fareham Borough Council announced in November 2015 an additional 2000 plus new homes on top of Welborne. The document called “Where next for Housing”sets out the case for yet another expansion of new homes. The promise build “Welborne and that’s it” was to become just another soundbite like so many before it. However there was a new soundbite,
"we have to realign our local plans."
To find a home for 2000 additional homes the Council embarked on a Call for Sites programme.
Through November and December, 2015 landowners were asked to submit land which could be considered for development. The result was only too predictable; Landowners falling over themselves to bring their proposals forward, in fact enough land was proposed for over 10,000 new homes, making Welborne look tiny if that's possible. The Call for Sites and the various responses which came forward were to form the basis of the review for our Local Plan, all of the sites brought forward were to be assessed against a whole raft of criteria and a list of preferred sites would then emerge and be presented to the public through a public consultation. The proposed timetable is set out below,
All sites, whether they were to make the preferred list or not, needed to go through a rigorous, evidence based process. The critical issue should have been that the Council through this strategy, would remain in control with regard to what land should come forward for housing. In March 2016 PUSH published this important document, Objectively Assessed Housing Need up date. This is a crucial document because it sets out new targets for housing delivery.
There was a problem however, developers were keen to understand the evidence behind the call for sites and what was driving it. More importantly could they take advantage of the data supporting the decision to announce these 2000 additional new homes, especially when Welborne was where most people thought it would be, immobile, stationary, problematic, and for anyone moving this massive and complex development forward, fraught with huge difficulties. To be fair to Buckland Developments, they haven't been dragging their feet on Welborne, they are trying to tackle the immeasurable complexities which some would like us to believe are merely child's play.
This is where the Cranleigh Road appeal was so lethal for Fareham Borough Council, why today we are seeing a procession of planning applications to build on our greenfield sites and why the Cranleigh Road Appeal has everything to do with the current deluge of planning applications that we are reading about on a daily basis. Developers have other plans, they are not prepared to wait until the Autumn of 2019, they see our local plan as discredited, holed below the water line and an opportunity to develop now. They, not the Council, are driving the Call for Sites, they are not waiting for the review of the Local Plan to take place where all the sites would be examined which is the council's current intended position. Developers are saying that the Cranleigh Road Inspector's report demolishes any defence FBC had against bringing forward housing now. The inspector has beyond any doubt, created huge problems for our Council, he has made it extremely difficult to defend any site which developers wish to bring forward, although each individual site will still have its own development parameters.
The question, “Is the present deluge of planning applications directed at our greenfields anything to do with the Cranleigh Road Appeal decision?”
The answer is.....Absolutely, and that is why Cllr. Woodward needs to move aside and allow someone who can take Fareham forward without this continuous political spin getting in the way of progress.
Quotes from The News
"The Environment Agency has named Fareham Borough Council as one of 30 councils in the UK which have excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide, breaching the EU Commissions limit.
The fears also follow news that Southampton was ranked as one of the UK’s most toxic and polluted cities by the government along with London, Birmingham, Derby, Leeds and Nottingham.
Link the an article in The Echo
Since the Cranleigh Road Appeal was announced, developers are queueing up to bring forward sites across Fareham for development. Today the field next to the Cranleigh Road appeal site was targeted. Further sites across Fareham will shortly become prey, sites in Stubbington, the Western Wards and in Portchester.
It seems daily sites are joining a distressing list of greenfield sites to which developers are displaying no mercy in their quest to develop. Surely someone needs to take responsibility for this disaster? Welborne was the route to stop all this. The public deserves an explanation, but above all, they want to see a plan to stop this carnage of our greenfields.
Welborne instead of being our protector seems to be our undoing. Welborne was rammed down our throats as being the answer to development here in Fareham.
What is more disturbing, none of these smaller sites will create any funding for infrastructure. Remember the cry, we need large sites to ensure infrastructure can actually come forward. What happen?
It is time for developers to take full responsibility and be obliged, no matter how big or small a development is, to fund local extensions to our healthcare and educational facilities within our communities.
If developers want to build then alongside that objective should be a clear obligation to provide the necessary funds to ensure our local services which we all depend on are not eroded and become fragmented. Our Local GP practices and schools work hard to ensure they provide what we all expect of them, a service fit for purpose, a service we can be proud of.
Today, a developer can build 100’s of houses and yet provide not a single penny towards local services. It is plain wrong for them to be allowed to move the burden of financially providing increased service provision, which comes with development, big or small, solely onto the already financially stressed service providers. It cannot be right.
With the government washing their hands of any responsibility for meeting the cost to meet the broadening of local services to meet the many challenges local developments bring and are having on our local communities, developers must NOT be allowed to continue to shirk their social responsibilities.
If developers want housing, then communities demand the necessary funding to support their communities.
Valid comment made about the Community Infrasture Levy. Not aware of a single GP surgery or local school which had access to such funding.
This was answer to a written question to December's 2016 Council meeting
The Government’s intention for the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was to help to make development more acceptable to local residents by providing the necessary infrastructure. The guidance is set out in the Planning Practice Guidance:
‘Local authorities must allocate at least 15% of levy receipts to spend on priorities that should be agreed with the local community in areas where development is taking place. This can increase to a minimum of 25% in certain circumstances (where there is a Neighbourhood Plan).
Communities without a Parish, Town or Community Council will still benefit from the 15% neighbourhood portion (or 25% portion, if a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order has been made).
If there is no Parish, Town or Community Council, the charging authority will retain the levy receipts but should engage with the communities where development has taken place and agree with them how best to spend the neighbourhood funding. Charging authorities should set out clearly and transparently their approach to engaging with neighbourhoods using their regular communication tools e.g. website, newsletters, etc.’
Could the Executive Member set out:
5. The process Fareham Borough Council uses to decide how CIL funds are to be spent and confirm that the Council follows the Government’s Guidance?
6. The consultation process Fareham Borough Council follows with regard to community engagement in determining how the neighbourhood funding is to be used.
7. How much CIL has been collected, split out by ward?
8. How much has been charged and collected in relation to the housing development at Fareham College?
9. Community Infrastructure Levy Account
(a) How much has been collected since CIL started?
(b) How much has been spent?
(c) What is the CIL account balance?
Responses from the Executive Leader:
5. The Council is compliant with the CIL legislation. It also pays due regard to the Government Guidance in calculating, charging and spending CIL. The legislation is clear that in areas where there is no Parish, Town or Community Council or Neighbourhood Plan, the Charging Authority (i.e. the Council) may use CIL to support the funding of the provision, improvement, replacement, and operation of maintenance of infrastructure of the area - the area in this case being the Borough of Fareham.
Members should be aware that a number of changes to the CIL regulations have occurred since the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) regime was put in place by the Council. In addition, the Government announced at the beginning of this year that it was reviewing the CIL regulations and that there would be potential changes to how Councils can collect and spend CIL. Whilst there has been some delay to these changes being published, it is anticipated this will be issued in early 2017. Therefore, in view of these circumstances, the Council will be reviewing its CIL regime to reflect the changing situation after the anticipated Government changes next year.
6. The Council is committed to engaging with the community regarding what infrastructure is needed to support the development of local areas and the wider Borough. For example, as part of the preparation of the adopted Local Plan, the Council engaged with local communities at every stage of the plan making process regarding the likely developments coming forward and what infrastructure would be needed to support development. However, as previously mentioned, the Council will be reviewing its CIL regime to reflect the changing situation after the anticipated Government changes next year and as part of the ongoing work with communities who wish to commence the neighbourhood plan process.
Depending on the Government changes early next year, the Council will then be in a position to clearly set out how it will consult with those local communities where development is taking place on how the 15% neighbourhood portion of CIL receipts are to be spent.
To read the full answer see Item 13 of the agenda.
Article written by Shaun Cunningham.
After the debacle over the Cranleigh Road planning appeal pressure appears to be growing for the resignation of Fareham Borough Council's Executive Leader. He promised the people of Fareham that if the Welborne Garden Village went through then there would be no more large scale in-filling on the fields of Fareham. The result of this appeal proves beyond doubt that this is not the case and ever since the log jamb that was caused when the compulsory purchase order idea was introduced has not been so. Indeed during the Welborne enquiry Government inspector, David Hogger approved a plan to make it more difficult to build on 21 greenfield sites including the land of north of Cranleigh road. However that doesn't seem to have helped much because of the delays in bringing the plan to fruition.
Link to The News article
Fareham Borough Council is consulting on its draft Corporate Strategy. This important document sets the Council's agenda for the coming years up to 2023,
Please ensure you have your say before 16 October 2017.
Following consultation with residents, six main priorities for the next five years have been agreed:
This Forum, set up with the backing of Tory Councillor Evans and with the approval of FBC, encourages residents to have a say (The Neighbourhood Plan) in what gets built locally and where. If approved by FBC the Neighbourhood Plan can be incorporated within the FBC Local Plan. It looks good on paper but is probably a Tory dominated group of 17 people encouraged by the Tory dominated FBC to show that maybe they are listening and working with local communities. Okay, so let’s roll it out across the borough then. My problem here is that a similar proposal by the Village of Funtley was shot down by Cllr. Woodward and FBC on the premise that not enough people were interested – a statement refuted by the Funtley Village Society. Recently at a Funtley Governance Review FBC, refused to allow Funtley to become a Parish Council. What is the difference between Funtley and Titchfield you may ask? I guess it’s a matter of who your friends are.
The LP is being reviewed in the light that an additional 2000 homes are now needed for Fareham – this is over and above Welborne. What Cllr. Woodward consistently fails to mention is the total figure of 12,000 new homes that are needed to fulfil the commitment he has made for Fareham up to 2036 wearing his PUSH hat. To do this FBC has asked for residents/developers to identify sites around the borough that can be built on. Obviously the question will be asked then, why are developers being refused permission to build at Cranleigh Road/Brook Lane etc.? Well, to be fair brownfield sites must be used first and if these sites are deemed to be greenfield sites and if they are not in conformity with the local plan then planning permission will be refused. This doesn’t stop appeals though. However, with the borough committed to building so many new homes one will wonder what will happen when the number of suitable sites DOES run out! In this context he mentioned the regeneration of Fareham Town Centre where FBC envisage building up to 900 new homes. He also spoke about bringing together the Ashcroft Centre and Ferneham Hall and knocking down the Osborn Road multi-storey car park. He also spoke about the new 85 bed hotel envisaged for the town centre (A Premier Inn?) This 5-storey hotel will be built at the expense of FBC (us) above Waterstones. Woodward thinks this will make FBC lots of money and will keep council tax down. I can’t help but thinking this will end up as something of a pigs ear.For our sakes I hope not. In that contect a questioner asked about parking for the hotel stayers. Well, they can stay in the muilti-storey car park overnight, he retorted – the one he is going to knock down you may recall. During the meeting the issue of Newlands was raised. Woodward’s answer to this was Hallam Land Management has made no further progress. Many take the view that HLM are sitting on their hands waiting to pounce. We have also heard a worrying development that Suella Fernandes has quietly admitted that the Stubbington bypass WILL facilitate the Newlands development. Watch this space. On that matter Woodward claimed that the bypass is fully funded and building should start in two years time. He spoke about £1.2 billion government funding being available to build affordable homes. He didn’t say these would be built at Welborne even if FBC do get their hands on some money These can be sold to buyers at a 20% discount. However, that is a 20% discount on local prices. So, if that property would be sold at an average cost locally of say £250,000 then it would STILL cost £200,000 to buy. A price out of the reach of many local young couples I would suspect. What Cllr. Woodward doesn’t make clear is that the £1.2 billion pot is not just available for Fareham. The developers of any site similar to Welborne, say, can bid for a slice of that money. I think there are 15 or so similar ‘garden village’ sites in the pipeline, so it is actually not such a big deal.
Much of what he said about Welborne we already know. He also repeated his views about Buckland and the CCGs. The for-sale date for the Benge land passed on June 1st: So who has made a bid for it? Woodward is adamant that the CCGs MUST build a health centre and implied that it will be illegal if they don’t because Mr Hogger said they should – or words to that affect. I personally don’t buy into that - although I’m no legal expert by a country mile. Anyway he wove the S.O.S for Health into his spiel and said that Hunt would be putting in a good word on the subject. I assume he thinks the Tories will sweep to power with a massive majority next Thursday and he will force his colleagues in the treasury to stump up the money that the CCGs are so lacking. Anyway, once again, the connotations of that utterance are interesting. Apparently there have now been 51 expressions of interest to build Welborne. FBC are going to sift through the list on Monday June 5th. One can’t see Buckland sitting back taking that lying down if someone else is chosen!! Why would they? If a new partner was chosen then a new OPA would have to be drawn up I guess, because I assume that Buckland would withdraw theirs. A CPO would be very much a last resort he said. In answers to a question about a railway halt being built at Welborne he said that Network Rail were doing a feasibility study to see if it would be worth while. Even Woodward admitted that carrying out such work would be very, very expensive. He admitted that such a station would be very much in the future. In answer to a question about who will fund the infrastructure at Welborne – which is quite considerable - he replied the developers. Well, they will need to recoup that expenditure – which is growing exponentially each year as Welborne gets delayed – so one might assume that not many low-cost houses here then!! At no point in his spiel did he mention any other of the setbacks facing Welborne - the gas pipeline etc - and the many other third party objections we know of so far. However, he did venture a start date: July 2019. So what happened to his statement that the diggers will move in by Christmas? Perhaps he didn’t mean this year.
Cllr. Woodward spoke about the many road improvements going on around the borough: Apparently the cost of these ‘improvements’ amounts to about £100 million. He noted that some of the cost for the Stubbington bypass will be borne by the businesses at Daedelus. I think we have mentioned it before that those businesses wishing to go to Daedelus have been offered a rate free period (two years?). Well does that stack up financially? Anyway, Cllr. Woodward implied that when all of the extensive roadworks are finished in a year or two all of the traffic problems will be solved. I think there were people at the CAT meeting who took a different view and certainly many people I have spoken to remain extremely sceptical. Bearing Daedelus in mind Woodward said the visitors lounge had been opened at Daedelus. I must pay that a visit. He also went on to say that 3000 highly skilled jobs would be created at Daedelus and that 1000 were already in post. That would be a very good thing apart from the fact that this figure may not stand up to a great deal of scrutiny. A number of the jobs do not appear to be ‘New’ openings but firms relocating primarily from Gosport to Daedelus.
In answer to a question about IFA2, Cllr. Woodward said that no detailed plans had been received yet. However, he said that it appears the height of the building was being reduced. He also added that National Grid have been asked to provide evidence re the safety aspects and any other affect on aircraft in real terms and not theoretical notions and figures. I did get the impression that FBC are starting to take the matter more seriously with regard to how it might affect the local environment. The forthcoming Stubbington CAT meeting may reveal more.
"A deadlock between Winchester City Council, developers and the Government risks losing £14million earmarked for major road improvements in Whiteley, the catalyst for the major North Whiteley housing development."
Link to the Daily Echo article
Does ANYBODY know what is going on?
It's nice to know that we are not alone in protesting about these new 'Garden' villages and towns.
Various other organisations similar to ours have been formed to object to the lack of TRUE accountability to the local residents, thousands of objections and still the plans go ahead (see the comments and link here).
Harlow & GIlston
Stop Harlow North
Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in Essex
Stop Erosion of Rural Communities in Local Essex
No Otterpool New Town/Shepway Environment and Community Network
Residents Against Inappropriate Development
Stoke Mandeville Action Group
Residents Against Cullompton Exploitation
Foreman Homes are holding a public consultation for an undisclosed development in Posbrook Lane, Titchfield.
This is to add to the current list of developments that Foreman Homes are being created in the local, if not exactly in the Fareham, area.
These sites have all received planning permission,
England’s housing market is broken, the government has admitted, with home ownership a “distant dream” for young families, as it unveiled a white paper promising a fresh wave of home building.
The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, told the House of Commons that average house prices had jumped to 7.5 times average incomes and rents in many places swallowed more than half of take-home pay.
Link to The Guardian article
And according to the Guardian - people who have fallen through the net need not expect to get any help.
Link to The Guardian article ⇧Top⇧