SDA Update (Autumn 2012)

OPTIONS STUDY CONSULTATION

The results of the Options Study consultation conducted in July are expected to be released shortly. My understanding however, is that Option 1 – (Full Development including Junction 11 Business Park and a dedicated access Road to Junction 11) and Option 4 (a smaller Development West of the A32 only and using Junction 10 for access), received very similar levels of public support. It remains to be seen how much notice FBC will take of the results of the consultation.

If the SDA is to go ahead, then Option 4 is, from a purely Wallington perspective, the preferred option, in that it results in a smaller, more compact development that damages less open Countryside, ought to result in a reduced level of traffic congestion and removes the downstream flooding risk to the Village.

TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDIES

The initial, albeit very coarse results, of the HCC modelling of the traffic impact (which include, at our insistence, not only the Fareham SDA, but the totality of the 27,000 additional homes that Fareham, Eastleigh and Winchester Councils are planning to build over the next 15/20 years) are as follows:

  • The Fareham SDA alone will generate some 3,500 (additional) vehicle movements into the morning rush hour – quite how HCC intends to mitigate this impact remains to be seen!
  • The initial studies as to whether Junction 10 or Junction 11 of the M27 ought to be the preferred access point to the SDA, have indicated (surprisingly perhaps) that access via Junction 10 causes the least congestion to “the local road network as a whole” (Accordingly and given the estimated £40M - £60M cost of the access road to Junction 11, the Developers - not surprisingly! - are understood to favour access via Junction 10).
  • The studies also clearly show the huge impact that these developments will have on ALL of our local roads – which perhaps begs the question, as to why on earth our local Councils are even considering such huge development in what is already an “Over- congested Area”. (Have our FBC Councillors ever tried to drive around Fareham after 4pm on a weekday?)
  • Some 10% – 15 % of the SDA “Daily Commute Traffic” is expected to head north up the Wickham Rd (which is precisely the assumption that opponents of the SDA made several years ago!)

GENERAL POINTS

FBC’s and the Developers plans regarding the SDA remain at an embryonic stage and whilst some of this is entirely justified on “Commercial/ Probity” grounds, there is however am overriding suspicion that not even the FBC Councillors who voted for this “Folly” really understand what it’s consequences will be.

In October members of the FBC Standing Conference (previously known as the Community Liaison Group) – Several Council Officers/Councillors and members of various Community Groups, myself included, visited the Duchy of Cornwall’s development at Poundbury (Dorchester) in order to “learn the lessons” from that development.

I had previously visited Poundbury several times over the past ten or so years and what struck me this autumn, is that what had begun life as a relatively small Phase I development of largely quite attractive houses, has become in it’s latter stages a rather gaunt and “high rise” development, that now dominates the landscape. To put Poundbury into perspective however, it will when finally complete in 2025 consist of 2,500 homes – i.e.: 1/3 the size of the SDA as currently envisaged under Option 1.

Clearly one of the lessons to be learned here, is that “Bigger is not always better” and that what starts out as an “acceptable development” ought not to be spoiled simply in pursuit of “housing target figures”.

You will be aware (as highlighted by the FBC Core Strategy, Public Inquiry Inspector) last year, that the rationale behind the SDA (contrary to the propaganda published by FBC in their much ridiculed “Special Edition of Fareham Today in 2011” is NOT just to provide “affordable homes” for Fareham Borough residents, but rather, to satisfy a wider requirement, to provide such Housing across Southern Hampshire.

Whether or not Fareham (with all it’s existing traffic congestion problems) ought be used as the “Dumping ground” for housing numbers way above it’s own needs is another and entirely different debate.

David Walton