Concern sparked over election signs at base

CAMPAIGN posters placed by one of Gosport's election candidates have sparked controversy.

Friday, 2nd June 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:28 pm
One of the election posters at Browndown
One of the election posters at Browndown

Tory politician Caroline Dinenage has ignited concern after she placed a number of large election boards at an ex-military training hub in the town.

The placards have been attached to fencing inside the former Browndown army training camp – part of which is still owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD would not be allowed to host political material on its land.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Labour’s MP candidate for Gosport, Alan Durrant, branded the signs a ‘safety hazard’ to drivers.

However, Ms Dinenage has insisted she placed the signs on a privately-owned stretch of land, which was sold off by the MoD in 2012, and has done nothing wrong.

In a stinging attack, the Conservative added the road safety concerns were ridiculous.

She said: ‘It’s exactly the sort of mean, small-minded, begrudging talk you expect from parliamentary candidates who have done no work for the past two years and are then surprised that no one wants to put their signs up.’

Ms Dinenage added she had received similar criticism during her previous election campaigns, when signs had been placed at the site.

And she claimed the latest concerns the signs were a danger to motorists were ‘sour grapes’ and were untrue.

‘It’s a general election – there are signs everywhere,’ she said.

‘My signs are smaller than previous ones. We were invited by the landowners of the site to place them up there.’

Rules state political parties are not allowed to place election material on MoD sites.

However, there is not issue in placing signs on private land.

In 2012, the accommodation section of Browndown was sold by the MoD to private firm Jumbuck Ltd for £754,000.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Infrastructure Organisations, which maintains MoD sites, confirmed part of the site had been sold.

But she added areas of the ageing camp were still government property.

These parts include the southern area of the site as well as the foreshore section of the camp, which is used for beach landing training by the Royal Marines.

As previously reported, the privately-owned part of the camp cannot be used to build new housing.