Residents rally together in bid to protect land

Residents and ward councillors of Milton making a stand against plans to earmark land at St James' Hospital for hundreds of new homes
Residents and ward councillors of Milton making a stand against plans to earmark land at St James' Hospital for hundreds of new homes

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CAMPAIGNERS are rallying together to create a planning dossier giving them power over how many homes should be built in their area.

Residents opposed to hundreds of properties being built on the site of St James’ Hospital, in Milton, Portsmouth, want to put together a neighbourhood plan.

It comes after a meeting chaired by Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt informing residents about how they can put one together.

Areas in the UK where neighbourhood plans already exist help stipulate where new houses should go and protects plots of land from unfair development that doesn’t benefit a community.

Milton neighbours, some of whom have operated under the banner of the Keep Milton Green campaign, will meet this year to start talking about how much of the Milton area should come under the plan.

It is hoped shops and pubs could be included to ensure they are protected.

Milton resident David Jordan, who has pledged his support, said: ‘It would take a holistic view of the Milton Neighbourhood Forum area and it would provide protection against piecemeal applications and against applications for the main hospital site and the university site.

‘The plan would give us a long-term vision for the area as a whole. We want to be protected in terms of housing but we also want to be giving protection – particularly for the Milton shops on Milton Road, and pubs.

It is hoped councillors from each of the main political groups will get on board.

Residents would be able to apply for grants and the city council legally would need to provide some financial help.

Lib Dem ward councillor Ben Dowling backed residents taking such a step.

‘This is a really, really positive sign,’ he said.

‘Anything that can be done to help the situation can only be a good thing.’

Ukip councillor Steve Hastings, a supporter of the Keep Milton Green campaign, said: ‘This is a great step forward.

‘It sounds like a winner.’