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Welborne Developers And Council Accused Of Ignoring Planning Rules

By Local Democracy Reporting Service in Environment News on December 5, 2023

The village of Knowle residents have been ‘lied to and misled’ by developers and Fareham Borough Council.

Councillor Craig Manuel, is asking why the Welborne developers have not waited for planning permission before tearing up about 500 metres of 20-year-old trees, hedgerows and wildlife habitats where deer, bats, birds and other animals live along Knowle Road, Fareham.

He said, there are three live planning applications: P/23/1178/RM, P/23/1175/RM and P/17/0266/DP/1 which have not been approved yet, the hearing dates have not been agreed and yet the mature wildlife corridor has gone.

Councillor Manuel said: “We knew Welborne was coming, we accept there’s a housing shortage, they call it a garden village and they promised to protect all the trees and hedgerows on the entrance. But as soon as they’ve gone to detailed landscape planning, you see the drawings and they are going to chop them all down.

“They are not being ‘Good neighbours.’”

Councillor Manuel spoke to the developers last week and they claimed that they were following instructions to cut down trees by Fareham Borough Council.

These original reassurances to get Welborne approved were made by Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council and Buckland, the developers of Welborne.

Councillor Manuel said, they came to the village with their boards during the consultation process and made promises that the hedgerow avenue, many metres deep in some places (30 acres in total) would be kept.

Welbourne is to be built both sides of Knowle road. Knowle road is the only way in and out of Knowle village. Along the Knowle road three intersections were proposed that would connect each side of Welborne together and allow Knowle residents access to their village.

Now there are eight intersections along this road and the Welbourne site is currently an excavation site which was hidden by the hedgerows.

While the rest of the UK is fighting to keep established wildlife habitats, and hot on environmental issues the 30 acres along Knowle Road has been ripped up before planning has been granted.

Councillor Nick Walker, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “In September 2021 Outline Planning Permission was granted for the whole Welborne development and at that point, the future treatment of the existing Knowle Road was considered and determined.

“Both the Council and the developer agreed that Knowle Road is an integral part of Welborne Garden Village and should become a street. As such, Members of the Planning Committee agreed that the character of Knowle Road would fundamentally change.

“The landscape clearance and change in character to the road was balanced against the benefits that the Welborne proposal brings. While there is disruption at present, the look and feel of Knowle Road will continue to improve as work progresses.”


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