Public access is top of agenda at Gosport meeting

FRUSTRATIONS over the restriction to access around an ongoing development project were brought to the forefront by the public last night.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 2:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th January 2018, 2:45 pm

Gosport Borough Council hosted a public meeting at Thorngate Halls in Bury Road, over the future of Fort Gilkicker.

The fort is currently being converted into real estate by Fort Gilkicker Developments Ltd, though controversy has arisen through the frequent closures of Military Road, as well as fencing put up to the east of the fort blocking passage through the area.

At the meeting, the public put a number questions to council officers.

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Fort Gilkicker Developments Ltd was invited to the meeting but declined the offer, according to Gosport Borough Council.

On the subject of public access, council solicitor Hilary Hudson said: ‘The council retains the ownership around the fort, apart from the access road and a small area to the north east of the fort.

‘With regards to land owned by the developer, the council has imposed a covenant that preserves the right for pedestrians to continue to use the paths.

‘This means that the council can require the developer to allow public access, though it may need to be restricted to allow works to be carried out.

‘The council will be monitoring any restrictions and give as much notice to members of the public as possible.’

Senior development management officer Gregg Allison said: ‘The fencing doesn’t need to be static and I think it is causing offence to people to say that land behind the fencing is under the ownership of the developer.

‘Let’s see what we can achieve.’

Questions were also raised about the safety of the environment, road use from builders and alleged damage to land by the developers.

Resident Marilyn King, who lives in Christchurch, said: ‘I think the meeting was a bit pointless, because we’re speaking to the wrong people.

‘The council has no power over things like the fencing or the road, it comes down to the developer.

‘It is strange, because I have spoken to the developer before and he seems like a reasonable person.

‘I think a lot of people would like to have a second meeting with the developer present.’

Susan Jeffrey from Brockhurst said: ‘I don’t think the council officers were expecting the level of detail in the questions that they actually received.

‘I think they may have been hoping to waffle away the problems.’