(Submitted 6th August 2014)
Fareham Borough Council
Civic Way Fareham
6th August 2014
Fareham Society Comments on Welborne Design Guidance
You are aware of the Fareham Society's views on the proposal to create a large settlement on this high quality agricultural land which is highly visible and in close proximity to existing settlements which will suffer from major highway disturbance.
The Society welcomes the preparation of the design guidance SPD because it could mitigate the harm done by the development of this sensitive area. It is of utmost importance that the document is clear and succinct and leaves no room for doubt of the Council's intentions.
This SPD is repetitive, lacking in clarity and is too long. It refers to the strategic framework diagram and the requirement to produce a confusing hierarchy of structuring plan, strategic design codes and comprehensive masterplanning without clearly setting out what they should contain. The necessary guidance and standards should be included in this SPD.
The Society agrees with the Standing Conference that the design codes should be included in the pre application consultations to be carried out by the developers.
In its endeavour not to stifle the design process the SPD leaves too much open to interpretation, e.g. words like 'adequate' and 'generous' leave too much room for discussion. Some indicative measurement parameters would be more helpful. Minimum garden sizes should be introduced together with separation distances to achieve privacy.
The vision for Welborne set out in the submitted Welborne Plan and paragraph 1.1 of the SPD is to 'seek to create a 21st century Garden Community that is 'distinct' 'new', and 'set apart but connected to Fareham, whose spirit, character and form are inspired by its landscape setting'. We realise that the NPPF refers to garden cities, but without any clear definition; to the public it is really being used as a term to create an illusion of 'something nice' when standards will not be set within the original meaning of 'garden city'. ln reality it is unlikely to be any different to most modern urban developments.
The principles set out in paragraph 6.6 do not provide an adequate definition of what a 21st century Garden Community should be. The following principles from the Town and Country Planning Association should be used.
The Society agrees with the Standing Conference statements on reflecting the wider context of the site in section 2.
The Society does not agree with giving the district centre too high a visibility from the A32: it is to serve Welborne so this is not a necessary or indeed desirable feature. lt should not be an aim to attract high levels of traffic movement from outside due to the aims set for self-containment.
The Society concurs with the Standing Conference that a walled garden, orchards and allotments would be worthy of inclusion, but it is considered that a sizable park, able to hold public events and offering more important habitats would enhance and serve the settlement. Stubbington is well served by such a park; a similar facility at Welborne should be at least this size.
The size of the gaps between settlements, particularly at Funtley where the land begins to rise behind the village, should be 100 metres wide with planted mounds to elevate some planting. The quality and long term maintenance of the tree planting over the whole site should be emphasised in the SPD. The Society is able to quote many examples where tree planting and cover has been poor and failed due to inadequate maintenance and vigilance. Planting ahead of development should be a requirement of landscaping requirements in the SPD.
What does scale mean in paragraph 3.2? The SPD should set minimum dimensions for the facilities listed in paragraph 3.1.
There is no reference to vernacular architecture and materials in the SPD even though the Standing Conference discussed at some length the desirability of architectural styles from the surrounding area being used to help to establish the character of Welborne recognising its local context. These views do not seem to have been incorporated into the document, instead some quite poor pictorial 'examples of potential development characteristics are included, for example gabion walls!
The SPD should place more emphasis on the wider context of the site and the need to 'break up' the site by large scale early planting along the highways and green infrastructure corridors to establish an early green framework around and throughout the site. It should also recognise the contribution that gardens of sufficient size to accommodate larger trees can make towards creating a garden city/community character. This is particularly important in relation to views from north Fareham and the M27.
The section on the area south of Dean Farm/the Meadows should refer to the need to incorporate sound attenuation measures which could potentially include high fencing or mounding and would have a significant adverse impact on character of Welborne when viewed from the south.
How does the reference in paragraph 7.4.7 to creating 'a more intimate small scale mosaic of woodland and wetland within the smaller-scale landscape' relate to the scale of employment buildings proposed for this part of the site?