Closure of Gosport's HMS Sultan could put pressure on roads by commuters
THE closure of a Royal Navy base could lead to the government needing to spend millions on road improvements.
Gosport Borough councillor Stephen Philpott, chairman of the Economic Development Board, believes the closure of HMS Sultan could lead to more congestion on roads like the A32 if houses were to be built on the land.
This, he believes, would put pressure on the government to spend money on improving the roads.
The Ministry of Defence last month announced cost-cutting measures to close the facility by 2026.
Although plans are still in early stages, Cllr Philpott says there needs to be more jobs in Gosport and not more housing.
He stated that a report in 2013 found Gosport had 0.5 jobs per person which means people travel out of the area for work to places such as Fareham and Winchester, which has 1.23 jobs per person.
Cllr Philpott said: ‘In 2013 there were 20,600 jobs in Gosport – just 0.5 people per person. This means we are exporting people elsewhere.
‘If HMS Sultan is converted to housing, it will put increased pressure on roads like the A27, A32, and the M27.
‘That will mean we need more money from the government to make improvements. It is in the interest of the local plan to create jobs when spare land comes available and not more housing.
‘I sympathise with other areas who worry about greenbelt land being built on but housing on Sultan would be a borough-by-borough issue and not just a Gosport problem.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage recently met Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon to discuss Sultan.
She said: ‘I explained the local planning authority would not give planning permission because it does not fit with the local plan.
‘Not a house has been built on Daedalus nor Haslar yet. Haslar was valued at £55m but sold for just £2m because of it.
‘What we need is more jobs in Gosport.’
Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said: ‘I welcome housing at Sultan and that is what is going to happen but there also needs to be employment.
‘There is a low amount of jobs in Gosport and most come towards Fareham. We’re helping Gosport by creating 3,500 jobs at the Daedalus Enterprise Zone. If the government is going to shut these sites, that is why we need the money for roads like the Stubbington bypass.’