Portsmouth's first neighbourhood plan is introduced after Milton backs proposals
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Eighty-seven per cent of people who took part in Thursday’s referendum approved of the document which sets out local priorities for development and will be used to help determine planning applications.
Rod Bailey, the chairman of Milton Neighbourhood Forum which has put the plan together over the last seven years, said he was particularly pleased at the turnout for the referendum.
‘To have more than 20 per cent of people take part was touching,’ he said after Friday’s count. ‘Planning is one of those things that can be difficult to get excited about but people want to have their say on issues that affect the area they live.
‘Portsmouth is one of those places where it can seem like the public doesn’t have a say but this plan will now have to be used for every application in Milton.’
Of the people who voted, 1,379 approved of the plan while 174 opposed its adoption. Turnout was 21 per cent.
The document includes the designation of two campus sites as brent geese feeding areas and green spaces at the Furze Lane sports fields and Matron’s Walk in the St James’ Hospital grounds.
The hospital and the Langstone campus are the two main areas in Milton earmarked for future development.
And Mr Bailey said a ‘land swap’ agreement also included in the document would lead to ‘significant’ biodiversity improvements to Langstone Harbour.
‘What we wanted to do was give people a say in what happens in their area,’ he added. ‘People felt that wasn’t the case and that is the reason we started working on the plan seven years ago.
‘This sense of feeling is very common in rural areas but not so much in place like Portsmouth – it was really heartening to see so many people taking part in the referendum.’
The plan is the only one of its kind in use in Portsmouth and no others are being produced yet. The council will be required to take its content into account when making decisions on planning applications.
The forum will continue to exist and act as a consultee on planning applications in Milton.