Residents angry as walking site at fort is fenced off

Fort Gilkicker from the air      Picture: Tom Wren
Fort Gilkicker from the air Picture: Tom Wren

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ANGER has erupted after after a popular walking site was closed off the public.

Land around Fort Gilkicker in Gosport has been sealed off by the developers due to what they believe to be a health and safety risk – but residents are having none of it.

The fencing that has been put up has restricted access to the beach, meaning that people must walk right around the site to gain access.

Among those who are concerned about the current situation is Tony Cokes, who served in the navy for more than 42 years

He said: ‘Like a lot of other people, I use the route on a daily basis.

‘Everybody I have spoken to has been up in arms about this – it is something that has impacted a lot of people’s lives.

‘They say that it is about health and safety while they go about their construction work, but I’m not sure the alternative route to the beach is much safer.

‘The worst part about this is that the dog bin is the other side of the fence – which means that walkers have to get to the other side just to bin their dog muck.’

Tony is also concerned for the future of the wildlife in the area, saying that the construction is putting a number of species at risk.

He said: ‘I know the company have said they will protect the wildlife that is there, but I can’t see the birds that used to visit here ever coming back.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage says that she also uses the route frequently – but that the news about the dog bin was new information to her.

She said: ‘I come down to the area quite a lot myself.

‘I wasn’t aware that the dog bin was on the other side of the fence, but can see how inconvenient that is for people.

‘There will be a meeting between myself and the developers very soon, where the issues raised by residents about the dog bins and the wildlife will be discussed at length.

‘The fact that this development is happening is great, but is important that the environment is kept clean while work is ongoing.’

Managing director of Wild Boar Developments Andrew Templeton has previously stated that the protection of wildlife is at the forefront of his mind during the build.

He said: ‘‘Fort Gilkicker is host to a number of species of bird and other wildlife.

‘The planning consent was granted following a public inquiry which took account of detailed investigations into these species.