Local Issues

27 Aug


Parking charges could be introduced at all coastal car parks in the Borough of Fareham to help close the projected funding gap, made worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. But parking charges in Fareham town centre would continue to be frozen and new app-based systems to pay for parking could be introduced alongside cash and credit card payments if proposals are agreed.
A report to go before Fareham Borough Council’s Executive on Monday 7th September recommends the introduction of charges at all coastal car parks at Swanwick Shore, Warsash Shore, Meon Shore, Hill Head beachfront and Portchester Castle.
If approved the decision will bring Fareham into line with all other councils along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent.
One recommendation on the table is for a £3 charge for a four-hour stay between 10am and 6pm. Other options to charge by the hour will also be considered.
The proposed rates are in line with neighbouring Gosport where charges range from £3.50 to £4 for a four hour stay and considerably less expensive than Hayling Island where the charge is £5.80. It is hoped the charging will encourage a greater turnover of users at busy car parks in the peak months, allowing more residents to enjoy easy access to the Fareham coast.
The new charges could generate up to £900,000 income for the Council each year which would offset some of the losses the Council has made during the pandemic, cover the costs of upgrades and improvements to the car parks and new payment machines. It could also be used to help fund a much-needed £5.5M refurbishment of the Osborn Road multi-storey car park in the town centre which will make it more attractive and user-friendly. The proposals for this will also be considered at the September Executive meeting.
Enforcement in the car parks will be conducted by the recently formed General Enforcement Team , which is also taking a more proactive role in tackling environmental issues such as littering and fly tipping.
It is also proposed to have:
•new pay-on-foot machines for Osborn Road, Fareham Shopping Centre and Market Quay car parks;
•new solar powered pay-and-display machines for the coastal car parks;
•Meon Shore car park upgraded with improved surfacing and marked bays;
•dragons’ teeth and height barriers in Monks Hill and Salterns car parks;
•consultation on a Traffic Regulation Order outlining any required changes to parking restrictions;
•consultation on free car parks where the time waiting limit is deemed too long.
For some time Fareham Borough Council has been the only local authority on the south coast of England that has not charged people to use our coastal car parks, but now we must consider it.
The Council must explore all available revenue streams open to it and it is fairer to charge people who want to use the car parking facilities that we provide and maintain than to simply add more to everyone’s Council Tax bill. We have deliberately kept the rates low – lower than our neighbouring authorities – and been flexible with the times that charging is in force to allow for early morning and evening use to remain free of charge.
I am pleased that we are able to continue to freeze the day-time parking charges in Fareham Town Centre which have now been frozen for over a decade and I hope this will continue to encourage people back into the centre for shopping and leisure.
25 Aug


It was an honour to join The Right Reverend Bishop Christopher Foster, The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth, for a short service at the foundations of the Cornerstone Church of England Primary School Whiteley and chapel space in today on a very windy aftenoon.

The new 630 place Church of England (Aided) primary school, designed and built by Hampshire County Council will be opening in September 2021 on its new site off Bluebell Way.

I was pleased to be joined by Flick Drummond the local MP and Cllr Roz Chadd Hampshire’s Executive Member for Education. This has been a long fight to get the school agreed for a suitable site and funding. It has also been a 30-year wait for Whiteley Church to finally get a permanent physical home. I hope that the children of Whiteley enjoy a really enriching education in the new buildings and that the parishioners of Whiteley Church find inspiration in their new surroundings.

22 Aug


I have had several meetings with ministers and the Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick to demand change to the methodology for calculating housing requirements which have hit Fareham so much harder than most local authorities placing on us massive housing requirments which threaten so much of the countryside that we all value. I am delighted that following my lobbying the government has listened and providing the new methodology using the most up-to-date household need figures is approved this autumn we will see a significant reduction in our numbers in contrast to those of most of our neighbouring councils who will, with the exception of Portsmouth, see an increase. What is more on these figures we would again have a 5-year housing land supply.
Alongside the government consultation on a new planning white paper (Planning for the Future) is a technical consultation whose results are expected to be signed into law very rapidly while the white paper is likely to take a couple of years to become law by which time Fareham Borough Council will already have a new local plan adopted.
As residents who follow the progress of the new Local Plan will be aware the government imposed upon us a requirement to plan for 514 new houses per year through to 2036 PLUS a requirement to consider meeting some unmet need from surrounding areas in South Hampshire. In order to meet that unmet need the Council has consulted on the possibility of two “Strategic Growth Areas” in Portchester (west of Downend Road) and in a part of the countryside strategic gap which provides separation between south Fareham and Stubbington which, along with the Meon countryside strategic gap, the council has always fiercely protected.
As per the attached calculations by Lichfields using the proposed new methodology which enables us to use the latest Office for National Statistics household predictions for 2018 rather than 2014 the figure for Fareham is 403 new homes per year, a 22% reduction of 1,665 houses in the plan period.
We will now consider the implications for the draft Local Plan currently in preparation.