Plans for 6,000-home Hampshire garden town set for approval

Plans for a 6,000-home garden community on the northern edge of Fareham, Hampshire, are set to be approved, in line with a recommendation from planners who are advising that the scheme offers "numerous and significant" benefits, including helping the council meet its five year housing land supply requirements.

A visualisation of part of the finished Welborne scheme
A visualisation of part of the finished Welborne scheme

Outline plans by developer Buckland Development Limited for a 377 hectare site at Welborne were originally submitted to Fareham Borough Council in 2017. However, a decision on the application has not yet been made. 

In January 2017, Welborne was identified as one of 17 large-scale 'garden town' and 'garden village' housing projects to secure financial support from the government.

The proposals for the site, which is allocated for development in the council's 2011 local plan, include 6,000 homes, with 30 per cent to be provided as affordable over the life of the scheme.

The application also proposes up to 30,000 square metres of commercial and employment space, up to 35,000 square metres of industrial uses and up to 40,000 square metres of warehousing.

In addition, the plans include a district centre with 2,800 square metres of food stores an 2,419 square metres of non-food retail. There would also be 2,480 square metres of community uses and 2,200 square metres of nursery space.

A planning document guiding development in the area, the Welborne Plan, was adopted by the council in 2015.

An officer’s report to next week’s meeting of the council’s planning committee recommends approval of the application.

It says the plans have been revised since they were originally submitted in March 2017, including amended layouts for the development and fresh details on a new road junction with the M27 motorway.

The planning report advises that the council cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, and councillors are advised that this should carry weight in their decision.

The report says that Welborne "will help meet the housing need in the borough," adding that there is a "high level of early infrastructure cost outlay" to ensure "early delivery of significant infrastructure" and this "must weigh in favour of the scheme". 

Planners advise that the scheme "will be a distinct new community with a modern interpretation of the garden village principles".

"As such this accords with the advice in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for delivering new large scale housing proposals; the alignment with the NPPF and specifically the need to secure design to garden city principles is a weighty benefit in favour of the scheme," the report says. 

The report concludes that the application meets the requirements of the Welborne Plan and also "satisfy the social, economic and environmental strands of sustainable development identified in the NPPF". 

"The benefits are considered to be numerous and significant and not outweighed by any identifiable harm," the report advises. 

The plans will be considered by the council on Thursday 17 October.  

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