CAMPAIGNERS battling the building of homes have been buoyed by an opportunity to stage a further fightback.
Tonight Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for planning, Councillor Luke Stubbs, agreed to reduce the St James’ Hospital site housing allocation to 280 from 370.
We’re quite pleased because it gives us the opportunity to influence it in futureJanice Burkinshaw
The council allocated a revised figure based on a feasibility study that found that due to listed buildings and trees, fewer houses could be fitted in on the land.
This is not a proposal by the authority to build the homes.
The meeting heard the council chose the figure as a ‘working assumption’ to inform its own work.
Speaking after the meeting Janice Burkinshaw, chairwoman of Milton Neighbourhood Forum, said she was pleased the figure had been revised down.
She said: ‘We’re quite pleased because it gives us the opportunity to influence it in future.’
Mrs Burkinshaw said the allocation of the homes, which are being fought by the Keep Milton Green campaign, could be further reduced if the impact on roads and other matters are considered.
Baffins ward councillor Darren Sanders added: ‘I’m quite pleased that they’ve said that essentially it’s a working assumption rather than casting tablets in stone.
‘What worries me is that the NHS, developers and the Homes and Communities Agency, will go away and think that’s the number of homes.’
The council has considered buying the St James’ site to protect it from development at a cost of around £8m.
Paul Pritchard, a member of the Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum is concerned.
Mr Pritchard, 67, of Bertie Road, Milton, added: ‘My concern is that whatever number is put down will become somehow accepted.’
Cllr Stubbs also agreed at the meeting to designate Milton Common as a local nature reserve.
The scheme will deal with conflict between dog walkers and people without dogs.
Mrs Burkinshaw criticised the report, adding: ‘It does not protect levels of biodiversity, has not surveyed bird numbers or species yet these draw visitors to its special environment – vastly different to the centre of Portsmouth.’