Clashes as council approves Gosport homes amid safety fears

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RESIDENTS have been left fuming after the council leader rebutted concerns over access to new homes as the ‘whim of individuals.’

Cllr Mark Hook’s comments came last night as councillors approved four new bungalows in gardens behind 206 to 216 Brockhurst Road, Gosport.

The regulatory board debated plans for the detached homes, centring on proposed new access via Jason Way.

As reported, residents said it would cause problems with parking and could make access difficult for firefighters.

Tory Cllr Hook said he had visited the site but missed yesterday’s site visit – ordered at a previous meeting in June.

He said: ‘We’ve heard from the fire officer there would be sufficient space.

‘My concern is that with all that weight of evidence, that should members choose [to reject the recommendation] we could be left with thousands of pounds worth of claims should it go to appeal and we lose.

‘And we lose because of the whim of individuals who believe they know better than experts who are advising us.

‘It would put us in tremendous jeopardy should members choose to play political football.’

It came after Rob Collett, the agent representing Burton Property Ventures, made a deputation, explaining experts agreed it was safe.

Speaking after the meeting, resident Hilary Hetherington, 60, of Brockhurst Road, said the debate was balanced but she wanted an apology.

She said: ‘I do object to councillors deciding that our views don’t matter and that we put these forward as a “whim”.

‘We are not a whim – we were just concerned about the access at the back.

‘Cllr Hook needs to offer an apology to all the residents in the area that objected.’

The application won narrow approval but Cllr Hook’s strong words failed to get the backing of one of his own.

Tory Cllr Craig Hazel joined four opposition councillors voting against the plans, while the remaining six Tories backed the application.

Lib Dem leader Cllr Peter Chegwyn had clashed with Tory Cllr Peter Langdon.

Cllr Chegwyn had criticised the latter’s description of the area as a ‘quiet corner.’

Cllr Langdon first interrupted then sought a point of clarification, saying he was referring to the rear of Brockhurst Road, not the front.

Labour leader Cllr Dennis Wright said he had ‘grave concerns’ over the ‘blatant garden grabbing’ plans.