Goodbye garden village?

A funding fiasco means that the 6,000-home Welborne estate will be less effective than promised in providing homes for people who really need them.

The developers, Buckland, will have to pay a bigger share of the cost of improving Junction 10 on the M27. Buckland has agreed to double its contribution from £20million to £40million. But they say this means they will have to reduce the proportion of affordable homes provided as part of the development.

A revised planning application for Welborne can be seen on the planning pages on Fareham Council’s website. The application number is P/17/0266/OA and residents have until January 25 to comment on it.

Bukland will also now be unable to provide Passivhaus buildings – homes and other buildings which need less energy for heating and cooling – or Life Time Homes, which are designed to be accessible and adaptable for everyone from young families to older and/or disabled people.

The shortfall comes because the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has withdrawn £25million it had pledged for the £75million junction. Delays to the Welborne project meant the LEP’s contribution could not be spent before a government-imposed deadline. But Welborne cannot go ahead without guaranteed funding for the junction.

A Government contribution to the junction will have to be increased from £10million to £30million via Homes England.

Jim Forrest, Lib Dem spokesman on Planning and Development on the Council, said: “Reductions in affordable housing make a nonsense of the argument for developing on greenfield sites. And the loss of adaptable homes undermines efforts at all levels of government to fight the climate emergency.

“If Ministers are serious in their estimates of housing need, they should have enabled the LEP to stand by their commitment. Instead they are undermining the concept of a Garden Village, and running the risk of making Welborne yet another over-priced, soulless estate.”

This revised Viability Statement attached to the new application sets out Buckland’s arguments for the changes.

5 thoughts on “Goodbye garden village?

    • The planning permission has confirmed protecting land for this, and Network Rail are in favour, but funding has yet to be identified. It needs central government to focus on infrastructure that’s really needed rather than vast vanity projects.

  1. The Viability Statement is a dense, technical document, but it’s worth ploughing through to judge for yourself whether Buckland’s arguments stack up.

  2. Jim, I’m at Buckland the developer for Welborne. There’s no reneging from us. Quite the opposite. The gap is being funded by our lost profit AND some affordable in the early phases. But no less than it was last year when it was heard at the planning cttee. I agree It’s a real shame the affordable homes will be lower in the first phase due to the LEP pulling their funding. We’re with you. We want more affordable homes too! With the development filling the mway funding gap the affordable homes level should drop to zero (ie to give a developers return etc etc) however, we’re not the normal volume housebuilder and we’ve pledged to keep the same aff hsg levels (10% for the 1st 1000 homes) that went to planning committee last year. This means we’ll be embarking the scheme at a margin of zero. There’s a risk to us but we believe that if we do a lovely job of the garden village we’ll see the benefits in due course. ie the sort of decision that can be taken by a firm like Buckland but not a normal PLC house builder. We’re backing ourself to do the right thing. There are also some imaginative ways of forming partnerships with local RPs to convert private homes into affordable. It’s not certain but i’m giving it my best. I’m always happy to speak so please feel free if you ever need a point clearing up or want any more info. Kind regards, John Beresford ps btw the piece you wrote isn’t quite right. notably that FBC are putting anything in – there’s nothing from FBC. The development may end picking up the tab for it all. Even the £30M from Homes England is a loan! and it won’t be soulless…

    • Thanks John. I’d actually amended the article before I saw your comment, because having read the Viability Statement I realised I’d been unfair to Buckland. And I now realise my comment about an FBC contribution was a misreading of a rather ambiguous line in a press release. I’ll correct that. Jim Forrest.

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