TECHNOLOGY and social media were the driving force behind people having their say on plans to transform Gosport.
That is the view of Gosport Borough Council after the consultation period for the Supplementary Planning Document, which set out guidelines for future developments across the town.
Councillors and officers say that the response has been impressive, with 380 people having their say on the plans.
Cllr Stephen Philpott said: ‘With most consultations we tend to get a few scores of responses, but this has given us an incredibly large range of views.
‘One of the responses is 22 pages long, so people have certainly been engaging with the consultation process.
‘Living in the days of social media, I think that people have become a lot more engaged with these things than they used to be.
‘There are a lot of things in the SPD that caught people’s attention, such as the waterfront and bus station, which are of great interest to the public.’
In a couple of weeks, the council will sit down and go through the responses to the document.
According to the council’s planning policy officer Tom Bell, the responses will have a major impact on how the final version of the document will appear.
He said: ‘We will be making changes to the SPD based on the responses we have received. Once approved, the document will help to shape areas being developed in the future.
‘Developers will come forward with a planning application, so there will be an opportunity for residents to have their say on individual sites as well.’
Mr Bell says that the SPD guidelines will dictate whether planning applications are approved or not.
He said: ‘The SPD will act as a prompt for developers as to what we are looking for in the town.
‘But it all depends on what these developers come forward with – if their application falls in line with the SPD then it helps their application a lot.
‘However, if they go against the guidelines it will inversely be much harder to get approval from the council.’
Once the responses have been read, a final version of the SPD will be presented to Gosport Borough Council’s economic development board next year.