A SITE which developers had earmarked for new housing has been designated for leisure use just weeks after their appeal was dismissed.
The derelict Royal Sailors Rest site, in Gosport, will be used for community and leisure purposes after it was agreed in the council’s Local Plan.
It seems to me therefore that there may be a need for a community use on the site.Inspector John Wilde
Independent government inspector John Wilde agreed with Gosport Borough Council that the site, which has stood empty since the old centre burnt down in 2013, should be used for community facilities.
But the plan does allow for developers to build houses if they also provide a facility for community groups and organisations to use.
In his report, Mr Wilde said: ‘I have been directed to a recent planning application during which a representation was made by a community group seeking new facilities.
‘It seems to me therefore that there may be a need for a community use on the site.
‘However, if this turns out to not be the case, and this can be adequately demonstrated, then the proposed policy is flexible enough to cater for such an eventuality.
‘For these reasons I consider that the proposed designation should remain.’
As previously reported in The News Driftstone Developments Ltd wanted to build 13 houses on the Grange Road site but their application was refused by the council.
Cllr Mark Hook said: ‘There is a need for community facilities in that area. Our community groups are finding it difficult to find space and for me, that space should be used for community facilities only.’
Driftstone Developments appealed the decision but it was dismissed by government inspector Christa Masters.
She said the council wanting to protect community facilities was relevant and the 13 new houses ‘would have an adverse effect on the provision of community facilities within the area.’
With the Local Plan being found sound by Mr Wilde, any future developments will have to take it into consideration.