Council loses the power to decide on Gosport eco-home plan

Gerald Vernon-Jackson at the election count this month Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180470-5)

New Portsmouth City Council leader puts domestic violence and low pay at top of priorities list

Have your say

GOSPORT’S council has lost the power to decide whether or not a former munitions depot can be converted.

Owner Alan Dawes applied to wrench the vote from councillors after his plan to build an eco-home was not decided on for 15 weeks.

Now the Planning Inspectorate will determine the application off Britannia Way, Priddy’s Hard.

Resident Jennifer Higgins, 40, said she is angry that it has come to this.

Mrs Higgins said: ‘I’m still a bit cross with Gosport for not getting their finger out and making a determination.

‘They couldn’t weigh up the evidence in time.’

As reported, neighbours are concerned that badgers and bats will be affected by any development.

The building is located inside a wooded and fenced-off site is within the Priddy’s Hard site of importance for nature conservation.

When the Ministry of Defence closed Priddy’s Hard and moved out the magazine was to provide a breeding area for Great Crested Newt.

Residents oppose any building work as they fear further developments.

Mrs Higgins added: ‘Originally he wasn’t expecting us to object as much as we did.’

John Hudson, also of Britannia Way, said it would have been better for the decision to be made locally.

He said: ‘There’s an obvious benefit for people who have local knowledge of planning and history to have made the decision.’

Mr Hudson added the campaign against the development has continued.

‘There’s been a great deal of electronic communication, a number of small meetings and circulars put round,’ he added.

Gosport Borough Council’s regulatory board will meet next Tuesday at 6pm.

Councillors on the board will make a decision on refusing or granting permission but it will only show what they would have done if the council still had the power to determine.

It is not known when the Planning Inspectorate will decide on the application.

Mr Dawes’ appeal for non-determination explains there was a dispute with the council’s ecologist.

It said: ‘We are concerned the local planning authority’s ecologist has not seen the site but makes many recommendations which sometimes contradict those of our Ecologist who has extensively been working on site from April to July.’