Developers criticise Gosport Borough Council plans for open space sites

Stokesmead in Alverstoke
Stokesmead in Alverstoke
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Developers are arguing that they should be allowed to build new homes on land in Gosport that is earmarked for sports pitches and open space.

A hearing is being held into Gosport Borough Council’s development plans for the future – the Gosport Local Plan 2011-2029. The plan allocates land for new developments for employment, housing, retail and community use.

An independent examiner will decide whether this is ‘sound’.

In the plan, Gosport Borough Council has marked Brockhurst Gate, off Heritage Way, and Stokesmead, off Anglesey Road, as open space. This would give the public access to the sites and make it harder for developers owning the land to build on them.

Michael Knott was at the meeting representing Abbey Developments which owns the land at Stokesmead. He questioned the council’s plans for the site which could see it become a multi-functional play park for children.

Mr Knott said: ‘The council says the site is identified as open space because Gosport needs more mini football pitches which I believe is wrong because there are already enough sites in the borough.

‘They also say they want it for a play park but there are two parks less than 400m away from the land.

‘Abbey Developments, as a commercial business, will be prepared to have part of the site as open space but that has to be with a number of residential properties.’

But the council argued the play park would meet community needs and improve what is already there.

Owners of the land at Brockhurst Gate had similar problems with the plan which will use the site for sports pitches. Mark Harris, representing Millngate Gosport, said: ‘There are sports pitches at Bridgemary School, Gosport Leisure Centre and Stokes Bay. There is no commercial or community-based interest in that sight.’

But the council argued more pitches for adult football are needed.

A spokesman said: ‘The pitches already in the town are suitable for mini and junior football but there aren’t enough pitches for adults and that’s what the site would be used for.’