RESIDENTS will get to speak up over plans that pave the way for developers to build hundreds of new homes in a built-up area of the city.
A consultation is now under way into whether the council should earmark the St James’ Hospital site, in Milton, for 435 family homes.
As part of that exercise, three public meetings are being set up for those who want to have a say and hear the authority’s point of view.
As reported, the Tory cabinet revealed at a meeting it will be extremely difficult to not advertise the land as developers can submit planning applications for homes regardless.
The first meeting is due to be held at St James Church, in Milton, from 6pm to 7.30pm on September 4.
Two other ones are due to be hosted by Milton Neighbourhood Forum on dates in September yet to be confirmed.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, said: ‘The result that the cabinet took last week was to take the proposal to change a site allocations document to consultation, and this is part of that consultation. We want to hear people’s views on this and we want to have a conversation with them.
‘It’s about engaging with people in the area concerned about this.’
As reported, residents stressed to the cabinet that they are concerned the city is already at ‘breaking point’, with roads and the sewer system already at capacity.
Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, said the meetings would give her a chance to dispel myths about the proposals.
She said the council is considering all options available – including one mooted by Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, that pockets of the hospital site could be bought to ensure anything put there will not have a detrimental effect.
But she admitted there is little money available and options would need to be discussed with the site owner, NHS Property Services Limited.
‘As a city council, we have to try to present the facts of the case,’ she said.
‘Houses have been allocated on the site since 2006 and this is not a city council development.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Planning officers have said there is no need for these new homes.’