Independent Review Of Plans For New Town Near Fareham

Proposals to build a new town near Fareham will be reviewed by an independent planning inspector from today (Wednesday 15 October).

The community called Welborne would include 6,000 homes, four schools and a shopping centre. There would also be upgrades to Junction 10 of the M27.

Opponents of the scheme are planning a protest outside the planning hearing sessions later.

The hearing sessions are an important part of the examination process for the Welborne Plan, which started when Fareham Borough Council submitted the plan to the Inspector, Mr David Hogger, last month.  The Inspector will use them to get more information on the issues linked to the Plan that he thinks are critical to the ‘soundness’ and legal compliance of the Plan.  For example, whether it meets national planning policy and whether it has been prepared in the correct way.
All of the representations that were made during the recent consultation on the Welborne Plan are being considered by the Inspector as part of the examination.  He will also invite some of those people and groups who indicated that they wanted to participate at the hearing sessions to talk about specific issues in more detail.  
During the hearing sessions, the inspector may identify particular parts of the Welborne Plan that need changing, in order to make them sound or legally compliant.  If this happens, the Council will undertake further public consultation on the changes to the Plan and then report the results back to the Inspector.
A daily programme for the hearing sessions outlining what Plan issues are to be discussed, as well as which representors he wishes to attend each session will be published by the Inspector in the coming weeks.
The Inspector will not be holding a Pre-Hearing Meeting, but instead will be issuing detailed guidance to everyone who made representations on the Welborne Plan earlier this year. The guidance note will explain the procedures to be followed throughout the examination of the Plan and an explanation of how the hearing sessions will be prepared for and carried out.
Executive Member for Planning and Development, Councillor Keith Evans said:

"This is another important milestone in the development of the Welborne Plan. I would like to thank all the people and organisations who have commented on the Plan, all of which will be considered by the independent inspector.”

Key elements of the new community include:
- 6,000 new dwellings
- 97,250 sq m of employment floorspace
- Three primary schools and one secondary school
- Green environment built on garden city principles
- New shopping centre
- Transport infrastructure improvements including upgrading J10 of the M27
Following any follow-up consultation that may take place, the Inspector will prepare his final report which will set out whether he finds the Welborne Plan sound and legally compliant. The Inspector’s final report is expected to be received in early 2015.
If the Plan is found sound, then the Council will be able to formally adopt it as part of the Council’s Local Plan and use the policies in the Welborne Plan to assess future planning applications for Welborne by site promoters.

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