Fareham nursing home and housing plans for ‘eyesore’ rejected

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A COMMUNITY has been left divided over failed plans to replace an ‘eyesore’ with a nursing home and 31 new homes.

Proposals had been made to demolish the Hinton Hotel and Limes pub in Catisfield Lane, Fareham, and replace them with the new development.

Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee admitted that something did need to be done with the site – but all nine members agreed unanimously to reject the proposals from Mansell Construction.

Over the past 40 years the hotel plot has played host to various businesses, including a nightclub, an off licence, a jewellers and even a brothel. It is currently a hostel.

Judy Ekins, of the Catisfield Village Association, said: ‘We were delighted when we heard that a hugely reputable company was involved in redevelopment of the site. We did have reservations, but we were supportive.’

However, she added that the group had been ‘disappointed’ a better application had not been put forward.

John Ekins branded the hotel a ‘monstrous hulk’ and the pub a ‘sad edifice’, adding: ‘The plan does have shortcomings, but it’s the best we have seen in 30 years.’

Maureen Sygrove, of Catisfield Lane, added: ‘I would very much like to see this site redeveloped, but can’t agree that anything is better than nothing at all.’

Councillors agreed that the plans for the 60-bed nursing home – plus the housing – would leave the three-acre plot far too over-crowded, lacked open space and would intrude into designated countryside space.

Ward councillor, Cllr Connie Hockley, said: ‘When this scheme came up I was quite excited, it’s an eyesore there and desperately in need of development.

‘But I don’t want us to set a precedent by allowing overdevelopment. I didn’t think it would be beyond the wit of man to get it right before it came to the table, but it seems to be.’

Cllr Paul Whittle added: ‘We are on the horns of a dilemma – something desperately needs to be done, but it would be irresponsible to sanction something we didn’t feel was fitting for the sake of it.’

Cllr Brian Bayford added: ‘I fully appreciate that this area is long, long overdue for redevelopment, but I don’t think we would be very responsible to accept this proposal.’

And Cllr David Swanbrow said: ‘This is trying to do too much. It’s not a quart into a pint pot – it’s a gallon into a pint pot.’ A linked proposal to demolish the pub, which is still open for business, was also rejected unanimously.