Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage to meet developers in bid for village green

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CAMPAIGNERS in Gosport fighting to return land to a community have secured a victory in their long battle.

Dozens of people have written to bosses at Abbey Developments asking them to open up Stokesmead in Alverstoke as a village green.

Now managing director Lorrie Fraquelli has agreed to meet with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, Gosport Borough Council chief executive Ian Lycett and campaign leader Judy Newell.

Mrs Newell said: ‘People have been bombarding Abbey Homes and they are all getting replies saying “thank you for writing to all of us”.

‘They’re obviously getting a bit fed up which is great, we’ve got somewhere.’

She added Ms Dinenage’s intervention in contacting the firm and her attendance at an open meeting last month has helped.

The firm will meet with the representatives and Mrs Newell, of Anglesey Conservation Group, on December 11 at Westminster.

As reported, the group wants to see the long-contested land returned for public use but the firm, which owns the site, wants to develop it.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘It’s a step in the right direction.

‘When you read his letter he leaves you under no illusion he’s going to give it to the community.

‘He has no intention of returning it to the public.

‘We have to be pragmatic – it’s just really a first step to open up the channel of communication.’

Ms Dinenage added she hopes that the community would be allowed to buy the field, located between Little Anglesey Road and Clayhall Road. It is currently fenced-off with no access possible.

‘In an ideal world I’d like to see the community be allowed to buy it back and it could be used as a village green,’ she added.

It comes after a long-running saga over 30 years has seen the site left undeveloped. Planning permission has been refused in the past.

The campaign has been reinvigorated as more than 200 people attended a public meeting and 350 signed an expression of interest in the site’s future.

Councillor Mark Hook said he welcomes the meeting.

He said: ‘Communication is the key to resolving any problem. I welcome that Abbey Homes are going to sit around the table.

In a letter, Mr Fraquelli said: ‘Our view is that the site, or at least part of it, would be appropriate for some form of development.’