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Is government funding for Fareham's roads about to cease?

01-12-2016

Nowhere in Chris Grayling's briefing to Parliament is there a mention of the M27 or Stubbington By-Pass (did you ever really believe there would be?) Does this mean that all of those grand words about funding for these two vitally important projects for our area have come to naught? It looks as if our Suella's little chat with Tessa didn't achieve much either.
Other than an additional £70M being allocated to filling potholes in local roads there are six large local major project schemes mentioned

And a further 6 schemes will receive funding to develop business cases:

So absolutely nothing for the most congested area of the country - the South East. Does this spell the end of the M27 J10 or Stubbington By-pass? I guess that we will just have to wait and see whether they manage to pull anything out of the fire. Will the developers fund the upgrades or will work go ahead without the upgrades taking place in the hope that something can be rescued - rather like the Cherque Farm school and surgery that never materialised?

HMG icon Link to Christopher Grayling MP's Written Statement to Parliament

But our Executive Leader says we still don't know but might possibly by next week. It seems to be getting to the point that he doesn't seem to know much about what is going on as he still doesn't appear to have seen the independent review that FBC commisioned to look at the independent review of IFA2 possible problems at Daedalus.

The News icon Link to The News article

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And another 358 for Portchester

20-10-2016

I heard a rumour of this one the other day but before I could get any firm details this appeared. I guess that it was bound to happen when the Council asked land owners to come forward with plots of land that they would like to turn into cash.

Downend Road site
"Councillor Geoff Fazackarley, who represents Portchester East said: ‘Words fail me. I think it’s time to say enough is enough."
Or even "FAREHAM IS FULL"

Funny that - we've been saying it for a long time now - it looks as if our Councillors are suddenly starting to catch on to what is likely to happen, still they supported PUSH and agreed to the number of houses that would have to be built in our fair borough so they have really got nobody to blame but themselves.

The News icon Link to The News article

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FBC to buy magistrates court?

17-10-2016

court house
One might have thought that before trying to buy more land to develop, our Council could possibly have started to build on derelict sites that they already own, for example at the old Hampshire Rose site. Something also needs to be done with the mess that used to be Skippers, that appalling mess at the junction of Trinity Street and Osborn Road, but that isn't owned by the Council although I am sure that there is something that they could do to force an improvement here.

The reason given for not developing the Hampshire Rose site is supposedly lack of funds yet they obviously have enough to start stockpiling land unless of course they are going to sell it on to developers at a nice margin which should then make the houses, flats, huts or whatever they build even more expensive because there would be an additional profit to be made somewhere along the line.

The News icon Link to The News article

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Planning Committee meeting, October 12th 2016.

12-10-2016

Reports Pack available here

This was an interesting if somewhat lengthy meeting. The meeting kicked off with a planning application to demolish an existing property in Brook Avenue, Warsash, and to replace it with something rather more substantial. This was opposed by adjacent residents and also the Fareham Society largely on the grounds that the new property was not in keeping with the area. After much deliberation (which went on for considerably more than an hour) the application was refused on the grounds that it was too bulky and not in keeping as described above. A more interesting aspect of this application was concerns that the proposed developers had already carried out much clearance of the site and, in the process, had removed a large number of trees! Unless the trees come under a TPO (tree preservation order) then there is little the council can do about it apparently. However, one Cllr did express concern that this undesirable pre-emptive work, before applications are approved, was becoming more common. This is a view shared by many with regards to other sites up for development in the Borough, for example the land at Seafield Close where residents have had to take their own action to try and stop it.

Next up was an application to build 24 new properties at Windmill Grove, Portchester. Whilst in the main the planning committee were not opposed to this application to turn this eye-sore into something worthwhile there were concerns about coastal erosion and flooding. The site backs onto the waters edge at Wicor. An interesting discussion took place about ownership of land. The owners of this particular piece of land – in their self-interest I suspect - believe that the boundary of the land does not include a coastal footpath bordering the site. This is a complex matter and some Cllrs are of the opinion that the landowner’s obligation ends at the high-water mark on the seashore and not where they would wish. I asked a friend who is employed by the environmental agency his take on the situation. His answer was in accord with some Cllrs. The owner’s obligation does include any land up to the high-water mark and beyond that is Crown Property: which is what at least one Cllr said. This application was deferred for further investigation.

Another lengthy discussion then took place about proposed changes to the Osborn View public house at Hillhead. One resident opposed this application on the ground of the fact that continual developments on the site are becoming a nuisance to local residents. It was difficult not too see the residents point of view. Over the years this place appears to have developed in a way that seems almost uncontrollable. The application was passed with conditions attached. The residents have my sympathy.

Finally there was an application to build six new hangers on the Daedelus site. I say this from a personal point of view, but it did strike me as odd that having spent the last three hours or so arguing about the minutiae of various applications this particular one was passed with a nod-of-the-head in about five minutes flat. Daedelus? I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that. This had been an interesting insight into the workings of the planning committee and the above is only a very brief sojourn. I wouldn’t recommend it to the faint hearted. Love them or loathe them they are a necessity.

The next planning meeting is on 16th November at 14:00 if anybody would like to see how it actually works.

Videos will be available on the as soon as they can be edited to fit.

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Possibly another new development for Warsash

13-09-2016

Quote from Councillor Trevor Cartwright

"I think it will be a welcome place to put flats as you can imagine that the view out on to the River Hamble is going to be pretty stunning."

Wouldn't it be nice if some of the students that Southampton University have educated could afford to buy flats - anywhere. The stunning views available from this site will ensure that there will be absolutely no affordable properties here. The only thing against the site, as far as developers are concerned, will be the fact that once you are ensconced in your flat with stunning views, you won't be able to leave it because the roads will be stationary due to inadequate infrastructure.

The News icon Link to The News article

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Local Plan Review.

17-08-2016

Following adoption of Part 2 (Development Sites and Policies (DSP) Plan) and Part 3 (Welborne Plan) of the Fareham Borough Local Plan in June 2015, the Council is now commencing a review of the Local Plan.

The Sustainability Appraising Scoping Report Pretty is pretty heavy reading - 262 pages but the Where Next for Housing in Fareham can still raise a laugh (or maybe a tear).

FBC Logo Link to FBC site (Link no longer available)

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Southern Water’s goal to reduce water consumption from 150 to 133 litres per person per day by 2020.

03-08-2016

"Southern Water’s head of water efficiency Ben Earl said: “We have to balance supply and demand for the whole of Hampshire. There are no reservoirs here and at the moment there is a slightly unbalanced supply and demand."

If we have a slight imbalance now how large will this imbalance be in 2036 with an additional 121,500 houses in the catchment area. Maybe we will all land up on stand pipes. That's one dead certain way of cutting consumption or will we need to start putting land aside for reservoirs instead of housing?

Daily Echo icon Link to The Daily Echo article


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Will 6000 houses just south make the problem worse?

31-07-2016

Wickham floods

The News icon Link to The News article


"Many parts of Wickham, but particularly Riverside Mews, have been plagued by sewerage problems because, as the village has grown, the system has struggled to cope.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘Mr Wright made clear it Wickham was a special case regarding to the publishing of this document because residents have suffered with sewerage in their homes and gardens after heavy rain for some years."


Bear in mind that at the moment the preferred sewage treatment plant for Welborne would seem to be the one just south of Wickham. There will have to be an awful lot of upgrading to allow that to proceed. Will they take that into account when devising their action plan?

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Fareham police station eyed up for housing as force plans exit

16-07-2016


The News icon Link to The News article


Difficult to say whether this should be here or under the Police page. Once it happens then the only contact point with the police for the WHOLE of Fareham - Warsash , Portchester, Park Gate, et al will be at the Tower of Power.

There also seems the possibility of losing the multi-storey car park. If that happens there will be nowhere to park if you do need to visit the police offices, or even if you want to visit the Town Centre even though our Council keep saying that they want to attract more shoppers. Is this what they call 'joined-up thinking'?

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Around 100,000 homes in the offing as ‘Solent City’ moves closer to reality

17-07-2016

PUSH area map


The News icon Link to The News article


"The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) – made up of local council leaders – has identified a total of 106,500 new homes across the Hampshire coastal belt from Portsmouth to Southampton."

Earlier this year Cllr Donna Jones said she had ‘massive concerns’ about infrastructure and the fact that Queen Alexandra Hospital was at breaking point and roads were heavily-congested.

At the time she said the government needed to take a ‘reality check’ when imposing housing targets.


We seem to have understood this was to be our future for quite a long time, yet only now is it becoming more widely known.

I do wish that they would make their mind up just who is responsible for these crazy numbers. After Cllr. Woodward's statement that it is Local Councils that create the numbers, we are now back to PUSH's responsibility. The Council awarded the Warsash Wasps Football Club a matched funding grant of £2000 towards the cost of upgrading the facilities at New Road Lane.

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Notes on the Planning Committee held on 23-06-2016

23-06-2016

Michael Stephenson kindly videoed this one for us.

Having attended this meeting on behalf of the IFFG I can confirm that a small development of four new properties at Church Road Warsash was passed.
The Egmont outline planning permission was refused basically because it falls outside the local plan. It could go to appeal obviously but my feeling is that it won't for the moment.
The concerns about the Navigator site were not resolved. A comment from the planning committe - agreed by the council officers - said that FBC was stymied by the planning inspectors decision re the Navigator site. To my mind that comment may have significant concerns re Newlands if the application goes to an appeal.
This meeting also confirmed that the requirements of Section 106 have been diluted by central government. Locally, in essence, as I understood it, development of less than 10 new properties will not fall under this requirement.

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unaffordable housing

31-05-2016

Winchester


The Guardian icon  Affordable housing crisis has engulfed all cities in southern England, says Lloyds

Quotes from the above article - "Winchester in Hampshire emerges as Britain’s No 1 property hotspot, easily surpassing the capital in terms of house price rises and unaffordability. The local council says that soaring house prices have pushed locally born people out of the city, while finding workers to fill lower-paid jobs is proving extremely difficult."

House prices have grown faster in Winchester than anywhere in the UK over the past decade, said Lloyds, jumping from an average of £249,703 in 2006 to £446,796."

“Everyone knows that Winchester houses are very expensive, even ‘affordable’ ones. Londoners love our beautiful city, gorgeous countryside, great rail links and it so much cheaper than London even if they commute. They can afford expensive property when they sell up in London and move here,” one resident told the Hampshire Chronicle."


Whilst it is not exactly Fareham it is only 15 miles away and the last sentence tells the whole story about the need for another 10,000 houses in Fareham - not for locals but for London commuters.

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'Affordable' housing

03-05-2016


The Town and Country Planning Association campaigns for the reform of the UK’s planning system to make it more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and to promote sustainable development.

There appear to be many people that are starting to believe that the current approach to 'affordable' housing is flawed and will cause major problems further down the road.

TCPA Icon  "93% of councils do not think that Starter Homes will address affordable housing need"

Planning Portal Icon  "Peers take aim at starter homes policy as bill is scrutinised"

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House prices


Current price trends in the PO15 area, care of Zoopla". Interestingly prices seem have falling slightly (2.77%) over the last 6 months even without an increase in supply although they have risen over the last 12 months so this fall could be a seasonal one.

Current price trends in the PO16 area, care of Zoopla". Similar movement to PO15 but slightly less marked.
Let's see what happens over the next 6 months.

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Recent reports

21-03-2016


House of Lords report into "Building better places"


"More fundamentally, however, we are concerned that the overall emphasis on speed and quantity of housing supply appears to threaten place-making itself, along with sustainable planning for the long-term and the delivery of high quality and design standards".

Para. 270. "Local authorities retain the power to initiate a compulsory purchase process to help support land assembly on major sites. The consensus is that compulsory purchase is best used as a mechanism of last resort and as a way to promote agreement between landowners and local authorities, but views differ as to how it should be administered. The power is little used in practice and has regularly been the subject of reform proposals, including in the current Government’s Housing and Planning Bill."

Para. 338. "Unlike other forms of affordable housing, there will be no provision for starter homes to remain at an “affordable” rate for future households after the first five years following a sale, or for the subsidy to be recyclable for future affordable housing provision. They represent a subsidy only to the first buyer of the property or for resales within the first five years, after which they become indistinguishable from private housing. The London Borough of Islington argued that this meant the policy “provides a one off benefit for developers, land owners and initial unit owners at the expense of the community and does not justify its costs”"

Link to document is here   Adobe Reader Icon PDF 1.06MB



Local Plans Expert Group "Report to the Communities Secretary and to the Minister of Housing and Planning"


Para. S29. Our work identified a fault in the current local plan making process. At present, the Local Plans Regulations do not allow a local authority to modify a plan in response to public consultation at the first (and only) stage when a local plan is formally published in draft. This creates several difficulties:
• local communities feel excluded from the plan making process
• plans may be at risk because consultation may not meet legal requirements; and
• as a result, many authorities undertake additional non-statutory stages of consultation, thereby adding significantly to the plan making process.

We recommend two particular changes to the current regulations so that:
• the first stage of engagement (Regulation 18) should principally enable the community to express their views about their vision for the area and their views on all relevant issues; and
• a local authority can change its published plan in response to public consultation without undertaking a further round of plan making.

Link to document is here   Adobe Reader Icon PDF 2.97MB

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Distorting effect of new houses

27-01-2016

Daly said "housebuilders had to be careful not to flood an area with new housing, pointing to the “distorting effect” that oversupply could have on the local property market".



hundreds of houses


The above is a quote from a Guardian article titled

The Guardian icon  Housebuilders reject claims of hoarding land as property prices soar. There just seems to be no coherent plan that we could all work to. Surely housing should be far more about need than profit.

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National Planning Policy Framework

22-01-2016


Civic Voice to respond to Government's changes to the National Planning Policy Framework

They have prepared a discussion document, you can see here. They would be grateful for your feedback on this early draft. Please note that this document in no way represents Civic Voice policy until it has been agreed and signed off by the board of trustees. The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of their current thinking and to help stimulate discussion within the civic movement. It is for you now to respond and help shape their final response. They would be grateful for your feedback no later that Friday 5th February to inform the next version.

You can see the proposed changes at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/national-planning-policy-consultation-on-proposed-changes.

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Housing numbers

18-01-2016


We need to take an opportunity to clarify a number of misleading political assertions being made with regard to the shocking announcement that Fareham will have to find at least an extra 2000 new dwellings to be located outside of Welborne. Not merely does this statement break a solemn promise, but it seems the political spin machine is already at play.

It is utter nonsense to suggest this increase is down solely to government changing the way housing projections are formulated and that the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire quango does not have a function in determining housing numbers. I do wish people would admit responsibility for their political exertions.

It is accurate to state that the Government has introduced new rules for calculating housing need, however it is not correct to say that the new numbers had nothing to do with PUSH. If correct, why would PUSH be employing consultants to produce the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)? Surely it is not merely to demonstrate PUSH are able to think. Sorry PUSH should stop hiding and step up to the plate and admit their share of responsibility for loading even more housing onto an infrastructure base which is creaking at the seams.

The starting stage for housing estimates, and "estimates" is a key word here, is the Department of Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) household projections along with other factors.

It is up to PUSH to decide how much weight to give to all of the factors and which projection it wishes to pursue. The Strategic Housing Market Assessment document is full of various projections outlining basically what could happen and not necessarily what will happen, the problem of course PUSH will always choose the best fit scenario that fits their thought pattern for housing demand, all the other projections are worthless in PUSH's eyes.

Another misleading comment being thrown around which again is false, it was the Inspector who oversaw the public hearings on the Welborne and the Developments Sites and Policies plan who requested that both plans need to be amalgamated and realigned to 2036.

Myth….The Inspector's final report, in paragraphs 11 and 12, makes it clear that the Council was committed to reviewing the plan to take into account the National Planning Policy Framework and more recent evidence used for the Core Strategy.

It was the Council that proposed to amalgamate the plans into one and to extend the period covered to 2036 not the inspector.

Let's have the facts, not spin please.

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comments in Fareham Today

30-11-2015


If you have lost, discarded or need another copy it is available here pdf icon (PDF File 7.9MB).

Page 6 — "A lack of affordable housing throughout the south makes it very difficult for young people to get onto the first rung of the property ladder – whether to find somewhere to rent or to buy. In Fareham alone, there are approximately 1350 families waiting to be housed by the Council."

Can't argue with that but:

"In 2013 the average cost of a home was £236,067 meaning the income needed for an 80% mortgage was £52,991. In fact, the average annual earnings in Fareham were £28,330. In 2014, Fareham had the tenth highest number in the south-east of 20-34 year-olds still living with parents because they couldn’t afford their own housing – despite the majority being in full-time work."

With developers building the way that they want to, where are these houses that the average earner in Fareham going to come from? Certainly not Welborne or Newlands, with the way that affordable, sorry starter (affordable seems to have fallen out of favour lately) numbers are being reduced because of so-called non-viability.

Page 8 — “Following changes to the way government dictates housing need should be assessed, PUSH has now carried out an independent review of housing land for south Hampshire over the next 20 years. The result is that Fareham now needs to find land for around 2000 additional homes by 2036.”

It’s nice the way that PUSH has decided our future for us. Did anybody else know of this review and how was it ‘independent’? If it was commissioned and paid for by PUSH it cannot be independent.

“Fareham, sitting between the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, has an important role in providing housing land for people working in south Hampshire.”

Totally proves that Welborne is NOT for Fareham, it is for the benefit of Southampton and Portsmouth, pity the poor souls that will need to complete those commutes on a regular basis.

Page 9 — “When compared to the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, and neighbouring Gosport, Fareham has the benefit of being surrounded by green space, despite the significant development and growth that has taken place in the past 40 years.”

So does that mean that we have got to follow them into becoming a concrete jungle? The last patch of open land will disappear under concrete and tarmac.

Page 11 — “This PUSH strategy is due to be open for public consultation during the first quarter of 2016 before being finalised and published next summer.”

But the independent review states that we MUST build another 2,000 houses, so what good will the consultation and finalisation next Summer succeed in doing? It is already formalised. Once again PUSH has created a fait-accompli.

“The Fareham Local Plan is likely to include the regeneration of Fareham town centre, brownfield development opportunity sites in the borough and possible greenfield sites that could be allocated for housing.”

But Fareham Town Centre is going to be under the spotlight for development for some of the additional 2,000 houses according to page 10.

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