Oakcroft Lane saved again

Persimmons’ latest plans for 206 homes at Oakcroft Lane in the Strategic Gap were refused by 6-3 at Fareham’s Planning Committee.

A big thankyou to the many residents who joined Jim Forrest and other councillors in expressing our community’s opposition to the plans.

The developers had reduced their original proposal of 260 homes, and made some concessions on house design and landscaping.

The Focus Team on an earlier visit tothe Oakcroft Lane site

But the committee ruled that it was still unacceptable development in the countryside which would damage the Strategic Gap.

You can see Jim Forrests’ presentation to the committee here.

Jim says: “Persimmon will probably appeal, so we still have a fight on our hands to preserve the landscape we value so dearly.”

Proposals for up to 16 houses on and beside the former site of The Grange on the other side of Crofton cemetery were accepted at the same meeting..

While this development is also in the countryside, it should give improved views of St Edmunds Church (Crofton Old Church), improve safety for walkers in Ranvilles Lane, and the ugly leylandii hedge is to be replaced with trees and shrubs more in keeping with the area.

Confusion over village plan

There’s been a lot of speculation on Facebook recently over a supposed “plan” for alterations to the traffic layout in Stubbington Green.

Jim Forrest writes: It’s true to say that Hampshire County Council are working on proposals to take advantage of Government funding for improvements to walking and cycling access to the shopping centre, in response to the additional pressures caused by queuing during the pandemic.

But it’s well short of being a firm plan.

To support the bid for funding last autumn, Hampshire officers submitted a draft plan which was part of an earlier study of possible “active travel” options. (This was shown to one of Fareham’s senior planning officers, who shared it with the Stubbington borough councillors.)

I have discussed that document with the County Councillor for Crofton, and asked County officers to inform the local councillors and start consultation with residents as soon as they have firm proposals to put forward.

Some of the ideas floated might be helpful; some might not; some would be unlikely to be affordable within the budget of the Government funding.

The clumsy way in which incomplete proposals have been leaked has led to unnecessary alarm and speculation about ideas which may never be taken any further, and I have no intention of feeding that rumour mill.

Your local councillors are well aware of the needs of residents: The pressures on parking space for those who need to visit the village by car and those who deliver to our invaluable local shops; the value of local bus services for those who can’t visit by car; and the dangers to pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists posed by inconsiderate parking and driving.

When a proper consultation starts, we’ll work with residents as always to keep the balance between these needs. And we’ll do our best to inform the planners, based on the day-to-day experience of Stubbington and Hiill Head people..

Guarding our shops

Councillor Jim Forrest persuaded Fareham Council to alter Stubbington’s retail status from its previous “Local Centre” to “District Centre” in the debate on the Draft of the Publication Local Plan on October 22.

We won’t see any changes to the village as a result of the change in definition – and that’s precisely why we asked for it.

Jim says: “My aim was to give Stubbington increased protection under the section “Strategic Policy R1” in the draft plan, which says: ‘Any development that would significantly harm the vitality and viability of a defined centre or small parade will not be permitted’.

“The definition of District Centres includes providing ‘…day to day food and grocery shopping facilities…’. The definition of Local Centres does not.

“Stubbington’s shops are the main suppliers of daily needs for many hundreds of people. We saw that spectacularly demonstrated during lockdown, when our local shops stepped up their game, and gave a lifeline to people who could not travel to the big supermarkets, or access their online delivery services.

“I wanted to help protect the future of our local shops against possible developments which might threaten them, by tightening the criteria against which councillors or planning inspectors will measure planning applications.”

Jim’s motion was carried unanimously at the Council meeting, meaning it was supported by all parties and by all the Stubbington and Hill Head councillors.

But Jim Forrest points out: “It remains a proposal, not a done deal, until residents have had their say.

“A public consultation on the Local Plan opens on November 6. Please watch for the edition of Fareham Today which you’ll be getting shortly, and follow the explanatory material about how to comment when it goes on the Council’s website.

“It’s not a simple process, it’s a huge, detailed file of documents, but if you want your views heard by the Government inspector who will rule on the plan, it’s worth taking the time.

“And in the meantime, if you want our shopping centre to thrive, vote with your feet, shop local, and let’s live up to the title of our local traders’ and community group:

Love Stubbington.

Blooming well done

The open space at Puffin Crescent is looking a lot brighter, thanks to local residents and business.

Allan Priestley asked Councillor Jim Forrest if residents could plant flowers at the edge of the green, which was being ploughed up by cars parking or turning.

Jim put them in touch with Fareham Council’s gardens chief, the idea was approved, and Allan went to work with neighbour Graeme Sign, helped by a donation of plants from The Fruit Basket in Stubbington Green.

Allan, left, and Graeme show the finished flowerbed

Jim Forrest says: “Well done Graeme, Allan and The Fruit Basket. We’re really lucky in Stubbington to have so many people prepared to dig in and keep our vilage beautiful.”

A word of thanks to our sponsors…

Preserving our wildlife

Bob Seymour and Jimmy Roberts explore concerns about the over-exploitation of the shellfish on the Solent shore.Click on the image to view video.

Since 2010 the Solent fishery has been declassified for commercial activity because water quality has been considered unsafe. 
From 2014 the native oyster fishery for the whole of the Solent was closed because of the collapse in the population.


Many of us in the area will have enjoyed collecting a few Cockles for our families.
 But it’s a totally different vision to see large numbers of people go out on the shingle with large bags and buckets and sweep the area clean of everything that is alive.


Police believe some of the people involved may be controlled by gang-masters in a version of modern day slavery. We’d clearly wish to stamp out such inhuman exploitation.


Some legislation already exists to help prevent over-exploitation of the food source, through the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations of 2006.


But what is really required is a long term strategy to protect the resource this sea-life represents. 
Seabird numbers are in decline, largely because of a noticeable reduction in food supply.


One way to halt that decline might be some form of ban on shellfish and bait digging along our foreshore between the Hamble river and Lee beach. 


Closed seasons, between March 1 and October 31, already exist for shellfish in the Portsmouth area.
 A Special Nature Conservation order has been in place for many years in Fareham creek prohibiting commercial bait digging.


Crofton Lib Dems are studying what measures might be possible and we’ll report back.

Preserving Stubbington’s “hamlet”

Fareham Council’s planning committee have backed refusal of two planning applications for a total of 190 houses off Newgate Lane.

The site, between the old Newgate Lane and the new relief road, is part of Fareham’s Strategic Gap.

Councillor Jim Forrest and several residents made deputations calling on the committee to refuse the sites.

Jim argued that they would destroy the “country hamlet” atmosphere of Peel Common – the long-estblished community of Newgate Lane, Albert Road and Woodcote Lane.

You can read Jim’s deputation here.

The developers had already appealed because of delays in bringing the plans before the committee, and they will be decided by a Government inspector.

But the committee’s view gives hope that the inspector will also refuse them.