Public access to fort is top of the agenda at meeting

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TRANSPARENCY and communication.

That is what the residents of Gosport are calling for from their borough council and developers over public access at Fort Gilkicker.

A CGI of the homes plan for Fort Gilkicker

A CGI of the homes plan for Fort Gilkicker

They spoke out at a meeting to discuss plans that would see four luxury flats and 22 townhouses at the site.

Hilary Percival said: ‘I have been going to Fort Gilkicker all my life and developers have put up fences stopping us from using the footpaths and it would be such a shame to lose public access.’

The fences were first put up around the site, originally a Royal Navy fort, in August and provoked a backlash from many residents.

The 65-year-old added: ‘There has been no transparency from the council and the developer and I have concerns about future communication.’

The residents have now started a petition for a meeting between Gosport Borough Council, the developer, Wild Boar Developments, and the community to air their concerns and ask questions about the future of public access around the site.

Bob Maynard said: ‘We need clarity.

‘There needs to be a line of communication between the council, the developer and the community.

Members of the Gosport Labour Party organised the non-political meeting for residents to discuss their main concerns to be fed back to the council.

Mark Smith, from the party, chaired the meeting.

He said: ‘It’s a big community issue, which is why we organised the meeting and we need to make sure residents have access to the coast.

‘There were many people who came to the meeting that had completely different political views but all want public access and rights of way to be kept at the fort.’

Community leaders are collecting testimonials from residents about their use of the footpaths at Fort Gilkicker as a way to prove to the council the importance right of way is retained.

Resident Liz Backhouse said: ‘I think the path has been used as a public right of way for the past 40 or 50 years and I think all the residents should have the right to use the path.

‘I feel the council need to be more clear and up front about the way they are going forward with this project and the aim of the meeting was to ensure we are able to meet the council and the developers and enable greater clarity.’