A DEVELOPER that had promised to build new sports facilities behind a retail park will instead look to put new businesses on the land.
Millngate, the firm behind the Brockhurst Gate Retail Park in Gosport, had laid out plans in its initial planning application for sports facilities to be built behind the retail area.
But after proposing a 12-month extension to the construction process, the firm then withdrew this plan, and instead now hopes for more businesses to be attracted to the site, and is discussing options for sports facilities elsewhere with the council.
This decision comes to the dismay of residents, who publicly wrote to Gosport Borough Council with concerns about the change.
Writing to the council, nearby resident David Holmes said: ‘They promised these facilities and as a resident this is what I want.
‘I want the Brockhurst Gate sports field to go ahead and not be delayed, they said they would build it.’
Adriana Simons added: ‘Even though I believe the current shops are popular, I would not be happy that a possible delay may eventually lead to a change of planning permission to build more shops.
‘Obesity in Gosport is very high and therefore it is important to expand areas of sport.’
In a statement, Millngate told The News that Lee Rangers Youth FC was initially interested in the site, but their withdrawal forced the developer to explore alternatives.
It now hopes to create 200 more jobs by expanding upon the retail park, and will submit a new planning application for facilities elsewhere.
Managing director Tony Sweeney said: ‘Following the decision to withdraw the S73 application, we will shortly be submitting a full application to deliver improved football and sport facilities, albeit off-site, and in addition, deliver up to 200 new jobs in the community.
‘We consider this as a win-win solution.’
Chairman of Gosport Borough Council’s regulatory board, Councillor Tony Jessop, says that any alterations to the plans would be scrutinised by planning officers and councillors alike.
If plans shifted to additional retail and an off-site sports facility, Cllr Jessop said, it ‘would be a decision for the planners and the board.’
He explained: ‘There would have to be good reason for this and an acceptable alternative.
‘We would then make a decision based off of that.’
Lee Rangers Youth FC was approached for comment.