Furore In Fareham As ‘Outsider’ Conservative Candidate Backs Controversial Development Plan

Fareham says 'No' to this sort of thing.

Fareham says ‘No’ to this sort of thing.

One doesn’t normally expect political controversy in what is regarded as one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, yet somehow the Conservative party, aided and abetted by the local council seemed to have successfully achieved the political equivalent of poking the proverbial hornets’ nest with a sharp stick.

The current furore has historical roots in an ambitious development plan to the north of the town, known locally as Welborne; a plan embracing some 6,000 additional dwellings, which has been embraced by the council and vehemently opposed by residents of the borough. As Café Spike’s head office is in Fareham, and given that we have the right to express an opinion, our Editor In Chief, Martin Shuttlecock today issued a statement.

“There’s been a long-running dispute about this development proposal,” he told us. “On balance it appears that the local council have a vested interest in proceeding with the plan, whereas local residents have expressed deep – and quite reasonable concerns – over associated infrastructure problems. Whilst I accept that our country needs additional housing to meet the requirements stipulated by the government, it’s also quite reasonable to take into account the concerns of existing residents. These people are distinctly not NIMBY types; they’re concerned about a lack of affordable housing in the area, the destruction of a vast area of greenfield designated land in pursuit of further urbanisation, the provision of schools, the availability of medical treatment on a system which is already horrendously overstretched, endless traffic jams on already gridlocked roads and fears of becoming swallowed up by an endless urban sprawl.

“The furore, which was already blazing as a result of a lack of transparency by the local council – who appear to have a vision of a megalithic conurbation tentatively branded Solent City – was further inflamed when the Conservative party “parachuted” in out-of-towner candidate, Suella Fernandes to contest the seat at the forthcoming general election.

“Suella Fernandes is a Conservative candidate who has unsuccessfully contested seats in other constituencies in the past. According to reports she is a property lawyer who has been ‘parachuted’ in by the Conservative party at both local and national level with a mission to seal the Welborne deal, come what may, as evidenced by her immediate support for the Welborne project, despite not being in full possession of the relevant details.

“Some voters have expressed concerns that Fernandes has been conducting a below-the-belt campaign by claiming to be a local person who has the interests of local people at heart, and the voters don’t seem to be buying that.

“The bottom line is that she’ll be elected by a landslide, as Conservative candidates tend to be in this constituency, but I have to at least question her motivation in all this. The people of Fareham are good people, and my feeling is that they deserve the truth from the Conservatives at both national and council levels, and they aren’t getting that in my opinion.

“Of course, nobody would ever come out and make an honest statement to the effect of: We stand to make a fortune out of this, and so do the developers, so just kindly shut up and go away.

“Which is a shame, because the people deserve honesty, and they aren’t getting it at all. At least in my opinion.”

*The anti-Welborne/development group have a Facebook page – Fareham – Countryside Or More Housing – The Big Debate. Contributors to the page aren’t by any means fanatical; they’re actually quite accommodating and friendly on both sides of the argument. If you join the page your views will be respected and the participants are willing to discuss the issue without going overboard or being unreasonable. Unlike the prospective Member Of Parliament, who by all accounts has embraced the Welborne project yet blocked anyone from her Twitter feed with the temerity to question her claims.

Café Spike has no vested interest in the argument and acts purely as an independent observational entity.

Martin Shuttlecock and Paddy Berzinski

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