Fareham Borough Council will begin the process of considering the Publication version of its new Local Plan at a meeting of its Planning and Development Scrutiny Panel next week (Thursday October 1st). This follows a consultation on proposed changes to the Government’s Planning Policy Guidance which could significantly alter the number of new homes we need to plan for.

As a result, we are planning for a minimum of 403 new homes a year (a 22.5% reduction on the figure of 520 that we were working towards in 2019) meaning that we would be required to provide sites for 1,872 fewer new houses than previously during the Plan period. The resulting Publication Local Plan, on which the Council will be consulting, reflects the proposed lower housing numbers. The approach to plan for lower numbers enables the Council not to progress the Strategic Growth Areas south of Fareham or west of Downend and many other proposed housing sites previously consulted upon.

Following consideration by the Planning and Development Scrutiny Panel, the Executive will meet to consider the draft Local Plan on October 12 before Full Council decides on October 22 whether or not to approve the Publication Local Plan for consultation.

If approved by Full Council, there will be a public consultation through the autumn. This stage of the process is known as a Regulation 19 consultation and is an opportunity for residents to state whether they think the Publication Local Plan is sound and meets the legal requirements for plan-making. All comments received during this consultation will be sent to the Government’s appointed Planning Inspector to be considered as part of the public examination process. If the Inspector finds the plan to be sound during the public examination, it will come back to the Council for formal adoption. Upon adoption, the new Local Plan will be used to decide planning applications.

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said:

“The Publication version of the new Local Plan sets out our approach to development in the Borough through to 2037. The housing numbers are based on the formula currently being consulted on by the Government. The Council is aware that the formula might be subject to revision however the difference for Fareham is so significant that it would seem irresponsible to ignore the changes being proposed.  We do not plan to submit the Local Plan for consideration until after the results of the Government’s consultation are both known and enacted.

“I am delighted that the intense lobbying that I undertook on behalf of the Borough with both ministers and civil servants has borne fruit in the Government’s latest proposed method for calculating the requirement for new homes resulting in a very significant reduction in Fareham’s requirements. Preserving our Strategic Gaps has always been a very high priority for me and for the Council and the proposed new Local Plan does just that. I hope it will be supported by our residents, many of whom are just as passionate about these issues.”