Caution urged over jobs promise at MoD site in Gosport

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HOUSING should not be built at a site due to be sold for development to Gosport’s council.

That is the warning from an opposition councillor as Gosport Borough Council prepares to buy the land at Royal Clarence Yard, off Weevil Lane.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn said the Defence Infrastructure Organisation-owned retained area should not be used for housing.

He told The News: ‘The fear is we will end up with more flats.

‘We were promised it would be Gosport’s Gunwharf Quays – we got all the houses.

‘There’s a row of empty shops down there.’

The Royal Clarence site was developed by Berkeley Homes.

As reported, the council now wants to buy the land for a marine business hub, which it hopes will boost its waterfront masterplan.

The DIO agreed to sell the land to Gosport’s council after MP Caroline Dinenage secured a meeting with a representative from the organisation and council bosses.

Ms Dinenage said that often firms require housing to make developments work.

She said: ‘You have to be pragmatic about these things.

‘Often developers will require housing in exchange for other stuff as well.

‘Certainly I don’t envisage any large-scale housing.

‘The local plan doesn’t. The priority for that site is jobs.

‘In order to unlock the investment you need to have housing.’

Council leader Mark Hook had previously said he hopes development at the site will create jobs.

New businesses and ones currently based in the town could be moving to the area into the development.

Cllr Hook hopes a marine hub would be created at the site.

It comes as unconnected plans for 31 homes at the Crewsaver building in Mumby Road have been submitted to the council by Prinset Ltd.

If approved, the proposals would see a four-storey residential tower constructed along with 41 parking spaces.

Cllr Chegwyn said there were too many homes and other promises had been made before, including that there would be a cinema.

He added: ‘We have heard it all before. People are just very cynical as so many promises have been broken in the past.

‘There’s a wider concern – there’s very historic buildings there so any development has got to be sensitive.

‘We’ve heard all these promises before and all we have ended up with is high-rise flats.’

Cllr Chegwyn said he wants to see leisure facilities at Royal Clarence Yard.

The DIO has not revealed an asking price for the retained area at the site.

As reported, around a fifth of land in Gosport is owned by the military.