AN EYESORE wasteland has stood vacant for four years – because a council can’t decide what to do with it.
Hampshire County Council bought the old Hampshire Rose pub site in Fareham in 2010, but has done nothing with it since.
Now leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward has criticised delays with redeveloping the site, saying his authority had wanted to turn it into affordable housing or a community centre.
At the time of the sale, he said the borough council withdrew its bid as it didn’t want to waste taxpayers’ money competing against another government organisation.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘If Fareham had won the bid we would have built a community centre there, or some new housing. I hope they make their mind up very quickly. Fareham will be happy to take it off their hands.’
He believes the county council is looking to use the site for its children or adult services department.
The area has undergone improvements, with the opening of the Highlands Hub and the multi-million pound redevelopment of Collingwood Court.
But residents say they are frustrated that the site of the old pub still stands empty.
Karl Matthews, 35, of Nashe Way, says the empty land is ‘a waste’ and suggested a new pub should be built there.
Trevor Sansom, 41, of Rowner Close, added: ‘They should build a community or social centre or maybe another pub.’
Fareham North councillor Peter Davies said he had repeatedly asked the county council what is planned for the site – which he claims was bought for £330,000 – but received no answers. He suggested the land could be used as additional parking for the Highlands shops until a decision is made, but says the idea was refused by the county council.
Cllr Davies said: ‘I’ve heard the same answer for years. It’s hopeless. What can we do? It’s sad.’
County council leader Cllr Roy Perry said in a statement: ‘The county council will be very happy to discuss with Fareham borough council the use of the site for potential housing use and we are by no means confining consideration to just county council services. I am familiar with the site and whilst it will be for the borough council as planning authority to determine any change of use it seems to me an ideal site for residential development, possibly for affordable housing.
‘As leader of the council I am keen to have as close co-operation as possible between county and districts to best serve the needs of local communities.’
The county council could not confirm how much it had bought the site for.