Residents want Gosport ‘village green’ for community use

(l-r) Malcolm Chapman, Richard Martin, Judy Newell, Bill Rundle and Penny Harris members of Anglesey Conservation Group at Stokesmead
(l-r) Malcolm Chapman, Richard Martin, Judy Newell, Bill Rundle and Penny Harris members of Anglesey Conservation Group at Stokesmead
Nicola Nixon led the protest outside Purbrook Park School Picture: Habibur Rahman (171257-382)

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A CONSERVATION group has launched a bid to return a ‘village green’ to the people.

Anglesey Conservation Group wants Stokesmead field, in Gosport, out of the hands of its owner and handed back to residents.

It comes 17 years after the borough council failed in its bid to buy the land under a compulsory purchase order.

Judy Newell, of the group, said the committee is asking members for their thoughts and it will hold a public meeting if people agree.

She said: ‘It was almost regarded as Alverstoke’s village green.

‘Now it’s a great big expanse of land behind very high fencing.

‘There’s already a lot of interest in its future.

‘One of our members is doing a great deal of research into the place.

As reported, the field, sandwiched between Little Anglesey Road and Clayhall Road, is owned by Abbey Homes.

The firm was defeated three times in its bid to build houses at the site.

In 1986 Gosport Borough Council leased the land for use as a football pitch. In 1989 Hampshire County Council tried to buy the land.

Opposition to building on the site was fierce – the most recent bid to get it opened up for sports use was ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

Bosses at Abbey Homes have refused to enter into talks with residents.

But just last month the firm, which refused to comment when approached by The News, said it ‘still holds long-term aspirations for some form of development’. It added: ‘There is no merit in a meeting or further discussions.’

Alverstoke ward councillor Peter Edgar has been involved in various campaigns over Stokesmead.

He told The News: ‘What is so sad about this is that an iron curtain has been put around it by the owners.

‘There is no community use of it at all.

‘It is a beautiful site, it’s next to the old rectory, it’s near the village.

‘Over the years councils of different political persuasions have considered the future of the site and all have said no to development.

‘There cannot be a compromise because if you develop any part of it, that can be used a precedent.’

Members of the Anglesey Conservation Group are being asked for their opinion.

If there is enough who want the site back in community use, then the group will hold a public meeting.