Public access to fort is top of the agenda

A CGI of the proposed redevelopment of''Fort Gilkicker  Picture: Tom Wren
A CGI of the proposed redevelopment of''Fort Gilkicker Picture: Tom Wren
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POLITICIANS have voiced their concerns over the future of public access to land around Fort Gilkicker.

Access to the site in Gosport has been closed off to members of the public, leading to worries about the safety of wildlife, fly-tipping and when the public will be allowed back in the area.

The site, which is under development by Fort Gilkicker Developments Ltd, has seen public access closed numerous times since work began, with the developers citing health and safety concerns for the closures.

In response to the most recent closure, a public meeting will be taking place at Thorngate Halls in Bury Road, Gosport, from 6.30pm on Monday, January 8.

Conservative Councillor John Beavis MBE says that although the development work at Fort Gilkicker is a positive thing, the wishes of the public must also be taken into account.

He said: ‘We’re all incredibly keen to see Fort Gilkicker move on and are keen to see this development go ahead.

‘But at the same time, we have to make sure that the public have the rights of way and access to the areas around the fort itself.

‘This has gone on for a while and the developers have responded well in the past.

‘They have made changes before which is good, but what is important is that we don’t allow that area to decay any further than it is now.

‘Redeveloping the site in this way it holds it in perpetuity afterwards, which is significant.

‘I think the public meeting will reveal exactly how the public feel about the rights of access and I am sure that there will be agreement after this in a way that still allows the project to go along as planned.’

Liberal Democrat Cllr Peter Chegwyn said: ‘It is good that we are having a meeting like this – we should be having discussions like this and listening to public more often.

‘The public has been asking a lot of questions about access to the area around Fort Gilkicker and they deserve honest and open answers, which perhaps the council should have given them long before now.

‘I have been into the fort itself and it is a construction site, at the end of the day.

‘Developers do have a duty of public care but personally, I can understand the frustrations of dog walkers and others who use the Stokes Bay area frequently.’