AN APPLICATION to build houses on a former community centre site has been rejected.
Gosport Borough Council voted unanimously to throw out the application which would have seen 13 new houses built on the Royal Sailors Rest, on Grange Lane, in Rowner.
As well as the two-bedroomed and three-bedroomed houses, there would have been car parking and landscaping.
But the regulatory board said the site needs to be used for community purposes because the Rowner ward is lacking in community facilities.
The council has suggested that the developer, Driftstone Developments Ltd, works with community groups to see if there can be a compromise.
Councillor Lynn Hook, chairman of the board, said that an option for the derelict site could be to build houses and a community centre.
She said: ‘There is no reason why there cannot be houses and a community centre on the site.
‘Since no formal application has been put in to build a community facility, this could be the way forward with the developers building both.’
During the meeting, many councillors agreed that the site should remain for community purposes only.
Councillor Mark Hook said: ‘There is a need for community facilities in that area.
‘I don’t want to see just another housing estate built.
‘Our community groups are finding it difficult to find space and for me, that space should be used for community facilities only.’
A deputation was given at the meeting by Theresa Pratt who was representing Aggie Weston’s.
The organisation works with serving sailors, marines and their families. They also put on social gatherings and activities.
Ms Pratt, who is director of operations, said a space is needed for such activities to continue to be held.
And she was happy when the council voted against the application.
She said: ‘I am pleased that it was agreed to reject this application. But I am also very excited to potentially work with the developers.
‘We need more community spaces in Rowner and this derelict site is the perfect place.’
The site used to be occupied by the Royal Sailor’s Rest which functioned as a community centre. The building was demolished earlier this year and has stood empty since.