CONTROVERSIAL plans to build thousands of homes in the Hampshire countryside are due to be decided next week.

Buckland Development has submitted an outline application to construct houses, schools and community facilities on a huge area of land north of Fareham.

The multi-million-pound Welborne Garden Village scheme has sparked a large number of objections.

Members of the borough council's planning committee are meeting on October 16 to decide if the application should be given the go-ahead.

Buckland wants to build up to 6,000 homes, a secondary school and three primary schools, plus a district centre and a smaller village centre.

Commercial, industrial and employment space is also planned, together with improvements to the A32 and junction ten of the M27.

Connections to the surrounding cycleway and pedestrian networks also form part of the application.

Council officers have written a report describing the proposed development, its potential implications on the Fareham area and the public's response to the plans.

The report, which will include a recommendation on whether the scheme should be approved or rejected, is due to be published tomorrow.

Objectors say the proposed site is too close to existing communities, claiming the amount of land available is insufficient to accommodate all the essential ingredients of a new community. Other protests centre on the loss of countryside and the resulting threat to wildlife.

Cllr Nick Walker, chairman of the committee, said: “This is a very significant planning proposal for the borough, which has attracted a lot of local interest."

Fareham MP Suella Braverman is backing the scheme.

A statement on her website says: "Welborne Garden Village will be a distinct new community with its own facilities, including schools and surgeries, rather than an extension to existing urban areas.

"I believe Welborne to be a well thought-through development which adequately takes into account infrastructure provision.

"I am the first to acknowledge that a new town is not an easy decision for the communities that border the site to accept.

"Welborne will meet the borough's housing needs and without it fewer people will get on the housing ladder. There will be significant upward pressure on house prices, and more families will be forced to live in accommodation that is too small for them."

Anyone who wishes to speak at the meeting must submit a written request to the council’s democratic services team by noon on October 14.


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