Council leader warns against homes plan

The site boundary

The site boundary

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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Gosport’s council leader says a homes plan that developers say would create jobs is in the wrong place.

Developer Millngate has unveiled the scheme to build homes, shops and a supermarket on old military land near Fort Brockhurst, which it says would see 550 jobs made.

The firm claims around £10m of trade could be brought back to Gosport if the plans are a success.

Tony Sweeney, managing director of the firm, said: ‘The site represents a unique opportunity to bring forward a comprehensive multimillion pound investment.

‘An estimated £10m of trade that is currently lost to outside of the Gosport area is anticipated to remain.’

The scheme would include 43,055sqft of retail space across three units, the Aldi, two restaurant cafes and a McDonald’s fast-food chain.

But Gosport Borough Council leader Mark Hook told The News the area is designated as open and employment space.

Cllr Hook said: ‘I can understand the developer wanting to maximise profits.

‘But for them to want to build housing on employment land is wrong.

‘Everyone knows we have something like 25,000 people out-commuting on a daily basis and we need land to bring employment.’

He added it would make more sense to extend Heritage Business Park, which is already at full capacity.

Millngate’s plan at Brockhurst Gate hopes to open up views of Fort Brockhurst, along with creating footpaths and woodland trails.

Pam Braddock, curator, said the fort is legally protected but she is concerned the setting could be harmed.

She said: ‘It’s going to be fairly high density there.

‘They want to cram in a massive amount of stuff and it’s within about 30ft of the monument, which is going to be a concern.’

Ms Braddock added the fort, owned by English Heritage, has been in talks with the developer about the plans.

No application has been submitted to the council. The firm will review feedback before submitting one.

An exhibition is being held tomorrow from 2pm to 7.30pm and on Saturday from 12pm to 3.30pm at Gosport Leisure Centre, off Forest Way.

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