Developer appeals on bid to build 13 homes on Gosport site

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AN APPEAL has been lodged against a council’s decision to turn down plans for 13 homes on a derelict former community centre site.

Developer Driftstone Developments Ltd has put in the appeal to Gosport Borough Council over the Royal Sailors Rest site in Grange Lane, Rowner.

Last September, councillors refused the application saying the area should be used for a community facility.

They voted unanimously to throw out the bid for the houses, a car park and landscaping.

The plans are for a mix of two-and three-bedroom properties.

Leader of the council Mark Hook said he is not surprised.

‘Nothing surprises me when it comes to developers,’ he said.

‘Obviously what they are trying to do is make a profit which I understand.’

As reported in The News, during the meeting chairman of the board Councillor Lynn Hook suggested the developer worked with community groups to see if there could be a compromise.

Representatives from Driftstone Developments and Aggie Weston’s, which works with serving sailors and their families, agreed they would see if a compromise could be made.

But Theresa Pratt, from Aggie Weston’s, said no plans were made.

‘We did meet after the meeting to talk about having a community centre and housing,’ she said.

‘But we haven’t spoken to them for a few weeks. We always thought they would appeal because they are a commercial organisation.

‘I do hope we can come to some arrangement with them that can provide a commercial aspect but a community centre as well.’

Groups from nearby church St Mary’s, where Aggie Weston’s is based, expressed interest in using any new centre as its hall is at full capacity.

Cllr Hook agreed that community use is best for the site.

He added: ‘Like we agreed in the meeting, community facilities are needed 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.

‘It’s disappointing that talks have not gone further between the developers and the community groups.

‘I do think the council made the right decision to refuse it.’

Now the appeal has been lodged, the council and the developers will write to a planning inspector with their arguments for the development.

The site used to be occupied by the Royal Sailor’s Rest, which functioned as a community centre.

The building was demolished earlier last year and the site has been empty since.

Driftstone Developments declined to comment.