Either or both of these two developments would have serious implications both for my constituents in Stubbington, and for the borough as a whole.
Residents in Newgate Lane, Albert Road and Woodcote Lane endured decades of misery as a quiet country road became a rat-run, with non-stop queues of traffic on their doorsteps at all hours of the day.
The creation of Newgate Lane East brought respite, restoring Peel Common as a quiet hamlet where residents no longer needed to fear constantly for their children’s safety.
Within months, they have the prospect of seeing that tranquillity snatched away. Nearly 200 homes will mean hundreds of cars once more disgorging onto Newgate Lane. And the difficult exit to Newgate Lane east, across a 40mph traffic flow, will see a tripling in pressure.
As a ward councillor I’d be bitterly disappointed to see my constituents in Peel Common lose the haven they have only just regained.
As a Fareham councillor, my greatest concern is to see protection for the Strategic Gaps which prevent Fareham’s distinctive communities from merging into one giant urban sprawl.
We are in the middle of examining the Local Plan. If the proposals of the 2017 Draft Plan are accepted as part of that, we could see up to 475 new homes on the land east of the new road. Taken with the proposals in front of us today, that would mean a total of around 650 new homes filling the gap between Bridgemary and Peel Common. That would be a body blow to the concept of preventing coalescence of urban areas.
As well as the core benefit of physical separation, recent rulings by Inspectors have focussed on the concept of “valued landscape”. Peel Common has recently been given added value. A vista has been opened up of tree-lined paddocks, a sensitively restored farmhouse and cottages going back to Victorian times and beyond,
And I think the idea of “valued landscape” is about more than prettiness. It’s about a feeling of place. As you journey between Fareham and Stubbington or Lee, there’s a sense of passing from an urban landscape, through the countryside, to a seaside town. The Strategic Gaps are an asset to all of us in the Fareham-Gosport peninsula, and these proposals for Newgate Lane would put it seriously at risk.
I’ve focussed on two areas where these proposals conflict with our adopted Core Strategy. The officers’ recommendation cites 14.
Ir would be a mistake to risk irreversible damage to strategic gaps because of panic over the housing land supply figures. The projections of housing need we are working on were drawn up before the Covid pandemic. It will be many months before the results of the economic upheaval can be assessed. Employment patterns, incomes, transport usage are all likely to be altered.
While that assessment is being made, I urge members of the committee to base your decision on the sound planning principles that have served Fareham well till now.
Cllr Jim Forrest