This article is part of a series based around our Plan for Affordable Housing which you can read more about here .
To sign the petition supporting our Plan for Affordable Housing click here .
Residents gathered at the Milton Neighbourhood Forum earlier this week to discuss the Local Plan and proposals for development in the area. Presentations were given on the ongoing Local Plan review process as well as the latest proposals for housing development on the St James’ Hospital site.
Our Plan for Affordable Housing lists St James’ Hospital as one of the sites Portsmouth City Council could investigate purchasing in order to bring forward, in partnership with the community, a development consisting of affordable housing as well as other local amenities.
When challenged over whether the council had considered this possibility the senior council officer present replied simply with “no”. Why the council is happy to allow a private property developer to take advantage of one of the city’s key strategic sites without first considering how the land could be best used for public or community benefit is unclear.
With over £100m of taxpayer money being spent by Portsmouth City Council on commercial property around the country in recent years the financial resources are obviously there if required. The land at St Jame’s is in fact already publically owned by the Homes and Communities Agency making it even more surprising that the council hasn’t explored the option of acquiring the site.
We believe Portsmouth City Council should urgently and thoroughly investigate the possibility of acquiring the site for the purpose of affordable housing and local amenity provision in conjunction with the wishes of the community.
Commenting on the meeting, having been in attendance, local resident Rajah Ghosh said:
“It is extremely disappointing that the council have not even considered the possibility of purchasing the site for public development. Even if it is later found for this to not be the way forward, the complete lack of consideration for a community partnership demonstrates the one track corporate mindset of the council along with a complete disregard for democratic, community based working. Many, including myself, fear that another private development will again lead to there not being a significant amount of truly affordable homes being built to house those that are most in need. Even more disappointing is the apparent lack of regard given to the increased provisions that will certainly be needed in light of so many new homes. Doctors, dentist and school places, along with the inevitable increase in traffic seem to have been completely overlooked!”
To sign the petition supporting our Plan for Affordable Housing click here.