Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Landowner anger at Welborne compulsory purchase plan

Welborne designs Image copyright Fareham Borough Council
Image caption A third of the homes due to be built in Welborne are classed as 'affordable'

Landowners have reacted angrily to plans to force them to sell up to allow work to start on a new 6,000-house town between Southampton and Portsmouth.

Fareham Borough Council voted to impose Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to speed up the planned Welborne development.

Principal landowner Mark Thistlethwayte said he was "gobsmacked" by the move.

Council leader Sean Woodward said it was due to "frustration" at no planning application being submitted.

Fareham Borough Council formerly adopted the Welborne Plan last year.

The authority has more than 1,300 families on its housing waiting list and nearly a third of the homes due to be built are classed as "affordable".

Ten parties own land earmarked for the Welborne development, with two private parties currently owning 90% of the 1,000-acre site. The landowners are responsible for bringing forward a plan for key infrastructure issues.

Image caption Mark Thistlethwayte told the council meeting landowners were 'committed' to Welborne

Mr Woodward said: "Welborne's been talked about for over a decade, we've been through the planning process, public inquiries, we've had the plan adopted - everything has been agreed

"We'd have reasonably expected development to be starting - it isn't and we need to help the process along.

"We want to get on with delivering the much-needed Welborne by whatever means."

Speaking at a council meeting on Thursday, Mr Thistlethwayte said the landowners had been "working in harmony" over Welborne and had spent £5m advancing detailed plans with developers.

"We committed to Fareham Borough Council we would jointly put in our conjoined planning applications to the council by 31 March.

"We were absolutely gobsmacked when we were informed of the council's plans."

The landowners said they would continue with their own planning application.

Residents in nearby villages have protested against the plans, claiming they would have a detrimental effect on the countryside.

If the CPO plan is agreed by the council's executive, building work would start in 2017 at the earliest.

The new town is due to be completed by 2038 with an eventual population of 15,000 people.

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