Gosport councillors reluctantly agree plans for 55 flats at Royal Clarence Yard

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We are in between a rock and a hard place.

Last night, members of the Gosport regulatory board voted in favour for the application put forward by Berkeley Homes – the developer of Royal Clarence Yard.

The flats will be built on a site originally given permission on appeal by an independent inspector in 2006 for 78 properties. If refused, Berkeley Homes would be able to go ahead with the original larger plan.

Cllr Richard Dickson said during the meeting: ‘We’re between a rock and a hard place. Reluctantly I will vote in favour of the officers recommendations.’

It was made clear to councillors that if they refused the 55 properties, Berkeley Homes could appeal and an independent inspector would make the decision.

Council leader Mark Hook said he would not be happy spending taxpayers’ money on the appeal process.

‘We have to be pragmatic,’ he said. ‘If we refuse this, they will appeal and we will have to pay the costs.

‘We should not waste taxpayers’ money by allowing that to happen.’

Residents and business owner at Royal Clarence Yard Heather Ewing gave a deputation at the meeting. She was concerned about parking saying the additional properties would mean less parking for visitors. She also had issues with the commercial viability of the site.