PLANS to earmark an ‘overcrowded’ area of Portsmouth as a place for hundreds of new homes are back in the spotlight.
Portsmouth City Council has recommended the number of homes on the St James’ Hospital site in Milton should be cut from 370 to 280.
While I would initially welcome a lower number of homes in an overcrowded area, we are still having housing forced on us.Janice Burkinshaw, chairwoman of Milton Neighbourhood Forum
It follows a consultation over the controversial proposal, which has faced a backlash from residents who created a ‘Keep Milton Green’ campaign.
They were concerned a fresh influx of new homes would cripple the road network and put further strain on schools and see open space be lost forever.
But campaigners say the fight is not over and they are still not happy with the number of properties proposed.
Janice Burkinshaw, chairwoman of Milton Neighbourhood Forum, said: ‘While I would initially welcome a lower number of homes in an overcrowded area, we are still having housing forced on us. An educational or health facility would create less of an impact on the area.’
The council has considered buying the St James’ site to protect it from development, though the cost is thought to be more than £8m. As part of the deal to secure the land from NHS Property Services Ltd, a new care home could be created.
A Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum was also recently appointed which gives people living in Milton more of a say over the future of planning sites like St James’.
Mrs Burkinshaw said she was surprised the figures have come forward as the newly-appointed planning body has not been given time to go over them.
The council is also considering awarding Milton Common local nature reserve status – a place recognised as having specific wildlife interest – to protect it once developments come forward.
The plans are being discussed tomorrow at the civic offices from 5pm.