Lost countryside – for what?

Below is a submission Stubbington Councillor Jim Forrest has made to the consultation on Fareham’s Local Plan, which closes tomorrow (July 30).

Lib Dems on the Council voted against the plan. We believe the Council should have stuck to the plan they agreed in December 2019 which was based on a lower and more up-to-date assessment of housing need. Large stretches of Fareham’s countryside will be destroyed to meet out-dated and unrealistic targets.

On specific proposals for Stubbington, Jim argues that the Government inspector who will rule on the soundness of the plant should remove Housing Allocations HA55 (1250 homes south of Longfield Avenue) and HA 54 (180 homes at Oakcroft Lane, near Crofton Cemetery.

Jim writes:

“Allocation HA 55, south of Longfield Avenue, is a new salient into the Strategic Gap rather than a coherent extension of the urban area. The proposals are said to include provision to “maximise the open nature of the existing landscape”, but the “green infrastructure” indicated includes a high proportion of parkland, play space and a sports hub. Presentations in Council have suggested a large part of this will be sports pitches or playing fields.

“This will transform much of the area into a bland, suburban landscape, rather than a stretch of mainly farmed countryside – more tha a kilometre wide even at its narrowest point – which changes with the seasons. The nightscape of predominantly dark sky will be lost in a huge increase in artificial lighting.

“The allocation should also be viewed in conjunction with allocation HA54 (Oakcroft Lane near Crofton Cemetery) and with the Stubbington bypass, whose junction with Peak Lane will be light-controlled. Taking these together, the Strategic Gap will shrink to a few metres around what will inevitably be a busy junction at all times of day. 

“At present, all residents travelling between surrounding parts of Fareham, Stubbington, Hill Head and western Gosport benefit from a clear sense of separation, as they pass from one urban landscape, through a stretch of countryside and into another quite distinct settlement.

“That sense of separation will be entirely lost: Allocations HA55 and HA 54 are at odds with the Local Plan’s aspirations fro “the conservation and enhancement of natural and historic landscapes and assets ” (Paragraph 1.2). They should therefore fail the test of soundness.”

Lib Dems have also pointed out the unsoundness of the proposed housing allocation HA 56 on land west of Downend Road.

As well as exacerbating traffic pressures from other development east of Downend Road, the allocation proposes an access road from the slip road between the M27’s Junction 11 and the Delme roundabout which will pose huge problems on the main route between central FAreham and the motorway.

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