The following, is our statement in support of the planning application which the Gosport Regulatory Board approved ‘virtually’ in their first meeting of the Covid 19 lockdown.
BROCKHURST GATE, GOSPORT – PLANNING APPLICATION REF: 19/00316/FULL
DEPUTATION BY MILLNGATE GOSPORT ESTATES LTD
2nd JUNE 2020
- We wish to make the following deputation to the Regulatory Board in support of the application and the positive recommendation before you.
- Board members will be aware that the site originally formed part of the Brockhurst Gate scheme approved in November 2017 and is the subject of an extant approval for an Adult football pitch and a Junior football pitch with a changing room building and car parking.
- Following the grant of Permission and through to the successful opening of Brockhurst Gate in early 2019, we worked very hard to identify an end user for this part of the site. Unfortunately the only Football Club (Lee Rangers FC) who originally expressed an interest and supported the original application, advised they could no longer operate the facility and alternatively expressed a preference for improvements to their existing pitch. We explored alternative opportunities but none were suitable or appropriate for the site.
- To avoid providing a facility that would not be of viable use nor meet the requirements of local Clubs and operators, we instead explored with your Officers an alternative proposal for employment uses and were encouraged to make an application subject to demonstrating compliance with the loss of open space tests and providing off-site mitigation. This culminated in the current scheme. We feel this is the right scheme not only for the Site but also the Town overall with the additional benefits it offers for the economy and football facilities of the Borough.
- The scheme has been carefully formulated to deliver net economic, environmental and social benefits for the Gosport area and local population. The benefits are considerable and include:
- A high quality Employment development to attract new business and investment to this part of Gosport and increase the amount of economic floorspace available to potential occupiers. This will meet 5% of the Borough’s Local Plan target for employment floorspace.
- Delivery of new business and trade counter units which are specifically designed to be flexible to cater for a range of different occupier requirements which offers the best prospect of early occupation. They can also accommodate requirements from national, regional or local businesses. For example, Screwfix has supported the development and intends to occupy Unit 10.
- Creation of a range of new job opportunities in the new units. This is expected to be in the region of 200 full and part-time posts. This excludes the temporary construction jobs during the circa 12-month construction period which are expected to be in the region of 100 full and part-time posts.
The jobs on site could be new or transferred from existing businesses or sites elsewhere in the Borough, which is something we cannot control. This should be viewed as a positive as the aim is to provide a platform to improve existing and prospective businesses in Gosport. Any units that are vacated will in turn make them available for other lettings and/or improvements to support re-letting. This will improve floorspace capacity overall.
- Net sport and recreation improvements for the Gosport area through the delivery of a significant £277,000 contribution to the enhancement of football pitches and related facilities in the Borough. This represents a betterment compared to the permitted scheme as it will create much needed football pitch capacity on land in GBC’s control to provide significant improvement in the quality and attraction of a number of locations throughout Gosport compared with what would be another privately controlled facility.
- Further financial benefits for the GBC area including circa £231,000 of Business Rates revenue per annum. This in addition to the significant CIL and Business Rates revenue generated by the successful delivery of the Permitted Development to date.
- The scheme has been the subject of extensive and detailed negotiations with your Officers and Hampshire County Council highways. This has already been explained and presented to you in the Report this evening and the Briefing Note sent last week. The key points to note are:
- Highways: the County Council supports the scheme. Importantly, it will deliver the white lining amendment to the northbound section of Fareham Road to increase highway capacity.
- Football Improvements: the contribution is based on the cost of providing the permitted scheme on-site which has been calculated using cost estimates that have been independently verified by your Streetscene Officers. This will compensate for the loss of the permitted facility and provide an enhancement based on how the contribution could be used throughout the Borough for the benefit of Borough Council owned facilities.
- The Board Report has also demonstrated how the scheme is acceptable in all other respects including providing a high quality design and having no impact on Fort Brockhurst.
- The importance of the benefits to Gosport and the extent of policy compliance is demonstrated by there being only one third party objection, the contents of which have been addressed by the application.
- We have also enjoyed an unprecedented engagement with Councillors across the political spectrum about these plans. We wish to thank Members for the opportunity to meet as the discussions have allowed us to better understand and respond to the concerns and issues raised which is reflected in the presented scheme.
- We have demonstrated its commitment to the Borough through the successful delivery of the award winning Phase 1 scheme which represents an investment of £17m. We have retained control of the overall site and despite the impact of Covid remain committed to delivering this scheme which will have an investment value of £5m compared to the £200k value of the original permitted scheme
- We are very pleased that the scheme is fully supported by your Officers. It is funded and capable of starting construction within the 18-month period set if Permission is granted. This can provide much needed economic and social benefits for the Borough, which will make an important contribution to the recovery from the current crisis.
- Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to make this deputation. We respectfully request that Planning Permission is granted in line with the terms of the Officer’s recommendation.
Manager Director, Millngate Gosport Estates Ltd
Director, Planning and Environment Group