Residents furious over homes plan for Portsmouth hospital site

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RESIDENTS are furious about plans to earmark another site in a congested area for hundreds of new homes.

Portsmouth City Council wants to advertise land at St James’ Hospital to developers as an ideal site to create 435 family homes.

Residents and ward councillors of Milton making a stand against plans to earmark land at St James' Hospital for hundreds of new homes. Picture: Miles O'Leary

Residents and ward councillors of Milton making a stand against plans to earmark land at St James' Hospital for hundreds of new homes. Picture: Miles O'Leary

As reported, the opportunity at the Milton site has become available since it is being sold off by its owners NHS Property Services.
But there is strong opposition to the move since campaigners say the area is already swamped by traffic and they claim roads and schools wouldn’t cope.

Janice Burkinshaw, chairwoman of Milton Neighbourhood Forum, said: ‘The infrastructure can’t sustain it. The council is already in the process of enlarging the two schools that serve the area to meet present need.

‘The area is notorious for traffic jams.’

Peter Mills, 68, of Morgan Road, Milton, said: ‘This will increase the accident rate on our roads as more traffic will make the roads more dangerous.’

Lib Dem ward councillor, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the extra homes would lead to ‘traffic chaos’ and cause more bottlenecks on routes in and out of the city.

Land at the University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus, which is nearby, was earmarked for 110 houses in 2013. The council now wants to extend the size of the potential development to include surrounding green fields.

While open spaces would be protected, a developer would be able to alter the area and swap bits of green and developed land around.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, said it was ‘inevitable’ new homes would be built.

He said: ‘I know some people would sooner the land not be developed at all, but that just isn’t possible – any previously-developed land other than protected employment space can be used for housing. That’s a national policy. If we don’t allocate these sites for housing, it doesn’t stop housing going through.

‘Developers can still put in a planning application and the expectation would be that it would pass or go through on appeal.’

The cabinet will decide whether to carry out a consultation over the sites at a meeting at 1pm tomorrow.

Petition launched over plans to build more houses

A PETITION calling for an end to the plans to build 545 homes in Milton has been launched.

The online survey, set up by the Lib Dems, had last night attracted more than 180 supporters.

The political group says plans for the St James’ Hospital site had been done ‘in secret’ since members weren’t informed in advance of it being an option.

Lib Dem ward councillor Will Purvis said: ‘Milton is already taking its fair share of new housing in the next few years.

‘These are already busy roads.’