Fight against new estate on hospital site in Portsmouth will continue

Portsmouth City Council's cabinet will look into whether green space around the St James' Hospital site in Milton can be saved
Portsmouth City Council's cabinet will look into whether green space around the St James' Hospital site in Milton can be saved
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CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed plans to take more action against a major housing development.

Portsmouth City Council’s Tory cabinet will look into whether green space around the St James’ Hospital site in Milton can be saved should 370 family homes be built there.

Members will also see if the land where the Harbour School is based keeps its educational use.

Milton residents who have launched a ‘Keep Milton Green’ campaign are pleased restrictions could be made.

Kimberly Barrett said: ‘It makes us think the council is listening to the residents in the area. It’s so important the site is protected, not just currently, but for future generations.’

As reported, the council is considering whether to earmark the hospital site as an ideal site for hundreds of new homes.

NHS Property Services Ltd, the landowners, is due to submit a planning application soon.

The request for action was brought forward by the Lib Dems and backed by Labour and Ukip councillor Steve Hastings.

While the Conservatives do not want to see an influx of new homes, they warned the government’s national planning policy favours development on the land as it is unprotected.

Tory members also blasted the previous Lib Dem administration for failing to draw up a masterplan and consider building a new care home serving the community there instead.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: ‘The national policy framework dictates it’s a piece of brownfield land.

‘There was an option to put the East Lodge site there in Milton, but the council leader at the time was opposed to it.’

But Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said it was because of campaigning Tory councillors in the north of the city that the care home was earmarked for Farlington.

‘What we need to see from the administration is real action being taken,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, said she was backing residents and is putting pressure on ministers to see if anything can be done to stop the NHS bringing in more homes and adding pressure to the city’s strained traffic network.