Concerns remain as plans for new Portsmouth homes plough on

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PLANS to earmark a pocket of land in a congested area of Portsmouth for hundreds of new homes have again faced strong opposition.

A drop-in session was held yesterday for residents to find out more about proposals to advertise the St James’ Hospital site for 370 family properties.

Jan Belcher and Dave Hawkins look at plans to develop St James' Hospital site in Milton. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142744-370)

Jan Belcher and Dave Hawkins look at plans to develop St James' Hospital site in Milton. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142744-370)

Portsmouth City Council wants to allocate that many houses on the site in its local plan – but fears have been raised on occasions about the impact that would have on traffic and the city’s sewage network.

And neighbours again voiced their disapproval at the event.

Justine Glanville, 56, of Cheriton Road, Milton, fears she will be penned in on both sides by new development.

‘I think it’s terrible,’ she said.

142744_PLANS_24/9/14''Picture shows plans to develop St James' Hospital site in Milton. ''Portsmouth City Council's plans to advertise the site as an ideal location for hundreds of new homes.''Picture: Collect PPP-140924-202352001

142744_PLANS_24/9/14''Picture shows plans to develop St James' Hospital site in Milton. ''Portsmouth City Council's plans to advertise the site as an ideal location for hundreds of new homes.''Picture: Collect PPP-140924-202352001

‘I understand the need for new houses, but I don’t understand why there have to be so many houses crammed into this site.

‘I am going to get homes on both sides of me, and I am very concerned about the number of trees that could be taken out.’ NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which owns the hospital site, is seeking to submit a planning application for the first 100 homes next month as it begins to sell off parts of the land to developers at the highest price.

A section of land north-east to the site has already been sold off in recent weeks to Crayfern Homes, which wants to create 30 properties.

It will form part of a separate planning application.

David Smith, 59, of Shelford Road, said: ‘I would rather the site have a mixed use. Limited housing is fine, but we don’t want lots and lots of them all on top of each other.’

Andy Strange, NHSPS head of planning and development, said putting homes there would appear to generate the most amount of income for the NHS.

It is seeking to slash half of the £6m a year it spends running assets in the area.

‘We are a public body and we have to get best value for money,’ he said.

‘It may well be that we receive offers for other proposals other than housing, but we are trying to get best value and we think that will mean selling the hospital site for housing.’

The firm believes there won’t be additional problems with traffic – but Lib Dem councillor Darren Sanders believes an independent survey should be carried out.

Lib Dem ward councillor Ben Dowling said: ‘People are very angry and upset by the number of homes and the way the council has moved forward with this.’