PLANNING permission has been requested to demolish a former magistrates court.
Homes England have entered planning permission to demolish the court in Fareham, which closed in September 2016, in the hope it will assist in making the site attractive to a potential buyer.
The site forms part of Fareham Borough Council’s Local Draft Plan allocated for a capacity of 45 homes in a three or four-storey development.
Executive member for planning and development at Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Keith Evans said: ‘We were very upset when they decided to pull out of the town’s magistrates court as people in the town now have to travel at least to Portsmouth but it meant we were left with a brownfield site.’
The council’s draft local plan came under fire from residents due to the amount of greenfield sites earmarked for future development.
Petitions, marches and protests were held against the plans for 3,300 homes across the borough and in particular Warsash and Portchester.
Resident Chris Wilkinson has been a prominent voice against housing on greenfield sites.
She said: ‘It is great that they are moving forward with this site and my view is brownfield sites should be used before greenfield sites are touched and there have been some great examples locally where housing has improved an area that was previously an eyesore.’
It comes as Fareham Borough Council’s housing target could be increased thanks to a new National Planning Policy Framework.
Chris added: ‘I know the council are under a lot of pressure to build more houses so it is a very difficult situation but hopefully this brownfield site could potentially save a greenfield site in future.’
When the closure of the court was announced two years ago, many councillors expressed their wish for it to become affordable housing.
Leader of the council, Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘Good riddance this building is absolutely awful.
‘It is a win win situation now as we get rid of this appalling building and we get new housing in the town centre on a brownfield site close to amenities.’