Labour condemns Tory Plans for Fareham.

Labour has condemned Tory controlled Fareham Council’s plans to build on green spaces and bolster the economy. In a submission to the Borough Council’s Local Plan consultation Fareham Labour Party has said that the proposed loss of land would be devastating and the economic plans were weak.

The council proposes to release land which only a few years ago they said would be protected by the Welborne development. Now in the latest plans most of these areas are designated for building. Fareham Labour has consistently been on record as saying the Welborne should supply most of the housing development with brownfield sites taking up any additional requirements.

In the submission we said: ‘We would support the prioritising of brownfield sites in the local area, especially those suggested in this consolation ( which includes building higher density developments in existing town centres).  We object to the current proposals seeks to designate areas of green space that were previously protected by development on the Welborne site.’

The council’s proposals to bolster Fareham Town Centre, Portchester and Locks Heath are weak. They haven’t even mentioned Stubbington in the plans. Labour has proposed  encouraging  independent retailers to build a thriving local economy. We believe this strategy would put money back into the local area, which otherwise might be drawn out by national retailers. Where possible we would like to see the building of additional affordable properties in these areas, to bring life back to the high street.

Matthew Randall, Chair of Fareham Labour Party said  “The response from Conservative majority run council in Fareham would be comical if it wasn’t playing with lives of present and future residents of the borough. Trying to shift the blame for the failure of the local plan from a Conservative run council to a Conservative run government is beyond farce. Whether it’s a failure to draft a housing plan at the local level, or the formation of an unrepresentative cabinet to oversee vital Brexit negotiations, there is only one Conservative party. Such tactics, treating residence of the area as fools, only serve to highlight that the Conservatives in Fareham take local people for granted.”  

Our full submission can be seen on Fareham Borough Council’s website.

Plans for 125 houses on greenfield site condemned

Fareham Labour Party has condemned the plan to build 125 houses on a greenfield site at Newgate Lane East.

Labour spokesperson Richard Ryan said “We all agree that we need more housing but this site threatens the green gap between Fareham and Gosport and will add to the already congested roads. The Labour Party is on record as saying that major new housing developments should be built either on brownfield sites or at Welborne. If this plan is approved by Fareham Council it will again show the Tory controlled council cares little about our environment.”

Labour’s response to the application says:

Fareham Labour Party wish to object to this planning application. This proposal threatens the strategic gap between Fareham and Gosport. It will increase the number of vehicle movements which will add to the already congested roads leading to and from Gosport. Traffic movement from the proposed site heading north along Newgate Lane will affect the A32 which is already causing concern about the high levels of pollution.

This site is not designated for development in either the Fareham Draft Local Plan or the Fareham Borough Core Strategy 2011.

We believe that further major development in the Borough should be at Welborne or on brownfield sites. This development goes against the Borough’s existing policies and against the whole concept of Welborne as the major development area in Fareham.   

Labour welcomes Downend decision

Fareham Labour Party’s Portchester Branch has welcomed the decision by Fareham Borough Council to refuse Miller Homes permission to build 350 houses at Downend.

The plans submitted by the developer would have seen the destruction of open fields between Downend Road and Portchester Crematorium.

Portchester Branch Chair Richard Ryan said “We are very pleased that this plan has been refused. Labour campaigned against this plan as we were concerned about the number of houses being proposed and the effect it would have on the infrastructure and traffic congestion in the area. We have fought against this and other plans which are slowly but surely taking away our last pieces of green open space in Portchester. Labour will continue to oppose unnecessary building in and around our village.

This is not the end of the threat as the developer could appeal against the Council’s decision. If this happens the Labour Party will oppose any attempt to overturn the refusal.”

Fareham Constituency Labour Party Press Statement – Welborne

As a completely new development Fareham Labour see’s Welborne as an opportunity for Fareham Borough Council and developers to avoid mistakes we have seen develop in other ‘self-contained’ developments.

We have asked that the provision for affordable and social housing be increased to at least 50% percent of the overall development, of which we would like to see 30% kept as affordable to rent properties. This Amendment will make sure Welborne continues to provide housing for those in need over the coming years. The CLP also asks that these houses be mixed throughout the development to ensure a decent living environment for all residents of Welborne.

Furthermore, we are putting pressure on the council at this early stage to designate Welborne as a Living Wage zone. We want to see the retail units and industrial park occupied by employers willing to pay their workers a living wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation. We believe this would put Welborne at the forefront of a new economic plan for Fareham, providing a model for decent employment for the modern age.

As you can see from our full consultation our support for the development is not carte blanche. As a CLP we have asked that the plan be amended, with special reference to the need to provide a GP’s surgery and NHS Dental practice at the proposed Health Hub and that all schools built in the new development should be under council authority.

Fareham Labour Party Chair, Matt Randall said “Fareham CLP will continue over the coming months, and years, to hold the council and the developers to account in their promise to make Welborne a ‘self-contained’ community within Fareham.”

Fareham Labour Party response to Fareham Borough Council consultation on Welborne development

Introduction

Labour supports the Welborne development. We believe that this new community will supply much needed housing to reduce the housing waiting list and should allow our young people to be able to still live and work in the area. Without it our children and grandchildren will be forced away from Fareham to seek affordable housing.

This development should have eased pressure on the few green open spaces and strategic gaps within the borough. Although much development has already taken place in these areas, we still believe that Welborne should be the prime development area in Fareham Borough to protect the remaining green spaces. We are disappointed that the developers have reduced the number of homes from the original 7500 to 6000. This will dramatically affect the remaining open spaces in Fareham Borough.  

Housing

It is our strongly held view that the provision for affordable housing proposed is inadequate. We believe that a mix of both affordable and social housing is necessary which should equate to 50% of the overall development of which 30% should be allocated for rent. Such housing must include a high proportion of shared ownership, housing association, council and co-operative ownership.  These properties should be mixed throughout the development. A key requirement is that there is long-term security of tenure for all residents. Labour believes that the increase in the proportion of affordable / social housing is needed to help alleviate the housing waiting list which is currently too long. Our proposed amendment to the plan will allow enough housing to help low and medium income families get good housing and still give provision for those who aspire to more expensive / larger housing.

Schools

We are supportive of the proposition of an all-through school, enabling the earliest possible development of secondary school places within Welborne. It is desirable that provision of school places within Welborne is made as early as possible such that a culture of travelling does not become embedded, consistent with the policy objectives of self-containment and minimising the traffic impact on adjacent communities.

We would encourage the adoption of space for nursery/per-school places near the primary schools, such that parents and children requirement to travel is minimised. We also expect that space should be allocated for Nursery provision within neighbourhood centres.

As this development is a new community, we will support these schools as local authority schools. Fareham Labour will oppose any move to introduce a Free School within Welborne.

Health Hub

Labour is deeply concerned that the designated ‘Health Centre / Hub’ does not have provision for a GP’s surgery. We believe this goes against Welborne being a self-contained community with adequate infrastructure. We urge Fareham Borough Council to put pressure on the local Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure a GP’s surgery and extend provision in the Community Hospital at Sarisbury and the QA Hospital.

We would consider a true health hub to contain a GP’s surgery and an NHS dental practice.

We support the provision of an affordable care home. Although this provision should be counted separately from the overall number of dwellings.  

Employment

We support the provision of the proposed area allocated for employment with the inclusion of reasonably sized ‘anchor’ employers to provide job opportunities for residents of the Welborne development. It is also desirable that employment opportunities within the Welborne development covers a range of skills at a range of levels, consistent with the desire to maximise the self-contained nature of the development and minimise commuting to nearby population centres. We note the number of jobs is expected to exceed 5700. Although the number of ‘full-time equivalent’ jobs are unknown we urge and will campaign for all employers to be Living Wage Employers. This would put Welborne at the forefront of a new economic plan for Fareham, providing a model for decent employment for the modern age.    

Transport

We note the planned alterations to the road network, including substantial modifications to the M27 junction 10. We remain concerned about the potential impact of Welborne on traffic in Fareham. In order to limit the adverse impact, we support the introduction of the Rapid Transport System and urge its implementation at the earliest stage. Further consideration should be given to the proposed route through the North Hill area which we believe could add to the existing congestion.

Labour supports the provision of a railway station at Welborne. It is unclear from the plan details of car parking for the station. We believe clarification is required.

It is important that both the Rapid Transport System and rail network timetables are linked to provided easy of transport.

We welcome the inclusion of cycle routes, as this has been a campaign issue for Fareham Labour over a number of years.

Portchester Branch Labour Party opposes plan to build 350 houses at Downend

 

Portchester Branch Labour Party has objected to the planning application to build 350 houses east of Downend Road, Portchester.

Labour Chair Richard Ryan said: “We vigorously oppose this plan as it will take away more green areas in Portchester and add to the continuing ‘concreting over’ the whole village. This is not the only development. We also have the building at Wicor and plans to build at Romsey Avenue. All these developments mean that the strategic gap between Portchester and Fareham is being eroded.

Developers are taking advantage of these opportunities, but the real culprit is the Conservative controlled council who have failed to successfully fight plans like Downend. The new town of Welborne was supposed to protect green areas in Fareham Borough but the council failed so miserably to get it’s act together that Welborne has now been delayed meaning all our green spaces have been put at risk. It is about time the Conservative Leadership in Fareham took full responsibility for their inaction and resigned.”

In a submission to the planning application Portchester Labour Party said:

We object to the application for the following reasons:

  • The plan is against the current local plan, which designates this area as open space.
  • Loss of open space in the urban area. Reduction in the strategic gap between Portchester and Fareham.
  • Over development of the site.
  • We object on highway grounds as the development will increase the amount of traffic in the area especially on the A27 which has heavy traffic already. Even with the new proposals to enhance the road network we still believe that the amount of new traffic – around 700 vehicles – will not mitigate traffic congestion.
  • Lack of infrastructure in the application.
  • Strategically, we object as this area is supposed to be protected by the new Welborne development. We believe that all future large development such as this proposal should be refused on the grounds that Welborne will supply the number of houses needed up to 2036.

 

Labour condemn Tory controlled Hampshire County Council’s attack on concessionary passes

Fareham Labour Party has objected to Conservative controlled Hampshire County Council’s proposals to introduce a 50p single way charge for older people’s concessionary bus pass travel and remove the bus pass concessions on Taxishares, Dial-a-Ride and Call and Go services.

In a submission to the County’s consultation, Fareham Labour said the effect of these proposals on older and vulnerable people would be considerable. If a 50p single way charge was introduced it would mean in affect a £1 charge as most trips are return. If a charge was introduced there would be a real danger that over the years this cost would increase substantially. It would also increase traffic congestion and harm the environment as those with access to private transport would be more likely to use their own cars rather than pay a £1 fare.

To remove the use of bus passes for Taxishare, Dial-a-Ride and Call and Go services would mean a huge increase in transport costs for the very people who can least afford it. An increased fare for a single way Taxishare from £2.50 to £3.50 would mean an increase of £2.00 to £7.00 for a return trip. The same with Dial-a-Ride where an increase to an average of £4.50 would be devastating for many users.

Fareham Labour Party’s Chair Matt Randall said: “The rising cost of living continues to have disproportional effects on the most vulnerable in our society. After a life time of contributing to the local community it is a disgrace that the County Council would propose plans that would further increase the social isolation of the older members in our communities for the sake of £4 million. A large amount of money that does not go directly to the local area but the balance sheet of privately owned bus companies. Nobody is winning from this punitive proposal.”

Labour demands review after M&S announce closure

With news that Marks and Spencer is to follow on the heels of Argos and leaving Fareham high street, Fareham Labour Party is calling on the Borough Council to hold an urgent review of the future viability of Fareham Town Centre.

 

Spokesperson Richard Ryan said, “Over the past few years we have seen a reduction in the attractiveness of Fareham town centre for consumers as the negative effect of more and more stores closing down, and a lack of proactivity by the current Borough Council administration to address the issue of empty shops.”.

 

We find the Conservative Council Leader’s response staggering. Cllr Woodward has said that M&S has 82 years left on their lease, so they should be looking for a new store to open on the site. It is Fareham Borough Council’s responsibility to safeguard the local economy. Frankly Cllr Woodward should stop saying it’s someone else’s problem and recognise that something has to be done and quickly.

 

Fareham Labour Party are calling for action to be taken to find ways of attracting more stores to the town rather than waiting for someone else to take responsibility. We believe that the Council should work towards making the high street more accessible to independent retailers, who offer the consuming public unique retail opportunities, and favour shops willing to pay a working living wage to employees.

 

With thousands of pounds being spent on the rejuvenation of public transport in Fareham, it would seem a waste if there was even less reason for people to come and shop in Fareham.

 

We are calling for decisive action now.”

Labour Supports Small Business’s Plan to buy Apex Site

Fareham Labour Party is supporting small businesses at the Apex Centre, Newgate Lane, Fareham in their fight to save jobs after Lidl received planning permission to extend the store.

Lidl want to buy the whole site to extend the store. Now the owners of the workshops affected are banding together to try and buy their properties on the site thus saving their businesses and 70 skilled jobs.

Labour’s spokesperson Richard Ryan said “We are supporting these local businesses in their fight to keep their workplaces open. We objected to the planning application by Lidl and were very disappointed when the Tory controlled planning committee approved the plan. These local businesses are really important to the local economy and the loss of so many skilled  jobs would be a real blow. We wish those striving to keep these specialised businesses all the best.”

Labour condemns Lidl plan

The Labour Party has condemned Fareham Council’s Planning Committee for approving the extension of the Lidl store at the Apex Centre, Newgate Lane.

The plan will see 70 skilled jobs under threat after the approval for a larger Lidl store on the site. The plan means that the site, housing a number of small highly specialised businesses, will be destroyed to make way for the new super store.

Spokesperson for Fareham Labour Party Richard Ryan said “Labour condemns the Tory controlled planning committee for passing this application. We objected to the plan as we were afraid this would put at risk these highly skilled jobs and remove much needed small businesses from the area. Now the application has been approved we are concerned for the future of these jobs and businesses.

Labour believes that although retail jobs are as important as any other this approval risks the removal of much need technical employment.

We see that Lidl has promised to help those businesses they are displacing. Well that remains to be seen. What we demand is that Lidl live up to their promise and as the Council has approved the plan, it is Fareham Council’s responsibility to do all they can to find other acceptable sites for these businesses to transfer to.”