Consultation starts today and runs to 25th January on revisions to the planning application for the
Welborne Garden Village after proposals emerged for the government and developers Buckland Development Limited(BDL) to plug a £40m shortfall in the budget to redevelop junction 10 of the M27.
The plan to create the 6,000-home Garden Village, to include schools, district shopping centres, a business park and health facilities had been in jeopardy after £25m funding from the Solent LEP towards creating an all-moves junction 10 on the M27 motorway expired last year when it could not be used in time due to the complexities involved in the scheme.
The planning application was originally approved in October 2019, subject to Buckland Development Limited (BDL) signing a Section 106 planning agreement to guarantee provision of the associated infrastructure improvements. The agreement was not signed after it became clear that the funding of the junction 10 improvements was increasingly uncertain. Funding for the junction improvements being in place is a pre-commencement condition that the council imposed on the planning consent.
After a year of negotiations with Fareham Borough Council, BDL, which originally pledged £20m towards the £75m cost of the junction 10 improvements, has agreed to double its contribution to £40m. Fareham Borough Council has also negotiated with the government to increase its contribution to the scheme from £10m to £30m.
That means the £75m cost of the upgrading of junction 10 can now be secured as £5m has already been funded by the government via the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to complete the detailed design work and business case for the junction which is required not just to serve Welborne but also to aid the smooth running of the M27.
The additional early financial commitment being met by BDL has affected the early viability of the Welborne development as originally approved and the developers have therefore put forward further revisions to the planning application. The previously agreed scheme allowed for 10 per cent (600) affordable homes, with regular reviews during the 30 years of the development that could increase affordable home provision to bring it to the Welborne Plan requirement for 30 per cent. BDL has indicated it will maintain the initial 10 per cent affordable homes commitment but that the prospects of the profitability of the site enabling that figure to increase to 30 per cent will now be reduced. Any possible increases secured by the planning authority will be in the second half of the development, once 3,000 homes have been completed and the scheme becomes profitable. The revisions to the planning application are now subject to a new three-week consultation and will be brought back before the Council’s planning committee towards the end of January, when public consultation feedback will also be reported.
I am very pleased that after extensive negotiations with BDL and the government we are now on the brink of having the funding in place for the redevelopment of junction 10 of the M27, a key enabler for the Welborne Garden Village. The revised proposals from BDL will be subject to the scrutiny of public consultation for the next three weeks and will then be examined by the Planning Committee. If the application is approved later this month there are still a number of hurdles to overcome before work can begin. This is, however, a very significant and important step forward in the Welborne Garden Village delivery which will provide 6,000 much needed new homes, nearly 6,000 jobs as well as hundreds of millions of pounds worth of infrastructure such as schools, roads, open spaces, shopping and community facilities.
It has been a long and hard road to get to this point however it does seem that we are to expect a start on Welborne this year.