Update on Neighbourhood Plan examination

The Milton Neighbourhood Development Plan Examiner Liz Beth MA MRTPI held a Hearing on 6th April at the Civic Offices to determine the Local Green Space Designations before issuing her Final Report on 26 April. 

With the Examiner’s Modifications, the Milton NDP will meet the Neighbourhood Planning Basic Conditions of conformity with National and Local planning Policy and Guidance. She found our Plan to be well-evidenced and focussed.

The City Council Planners will now arrange for the amended Plan to go to Referendum in the Summer and we hope that as many residents in the Plan area will vote positively to endorse it. It is after all a Development Plan to improve the Local Environment and we are a small group of volunteers who have given up significant amount of our time and energy over seven years to get it to this stage.

The Planning Forum had submitted for Local Green Space Designation for twelve areas of Green Space, eleven of which are already classed as Open-Space in the current Portsmouth Plan. The additional area of Green Space the Forum wanted to secure, was on the east side of Chapel Way in St James’ Hospital to include the greenfield space north of “Woodlands Walk” between the Chapel and “The Limes” building.

Our hopes for St James’ Hospital may still be frustrated by the proposed Hospital conversion and new house building on green space and adjacent to the building on the former airing courts but the Examiner had to make allowances for a “Live” application. She did however support our Policy proposals for a mix of uses including; Specialist Residential Accommodation including Elderly or Dementia Care; Residential Training; Healthcare and Other Community Uses; and Residential Conversion.

The NHS Solent Trust objected to the Designation of a Local Green Space to the north of Woodlands Walk but did agree to a compromise it could be retained as Open Space unless and until a healthcare use materialised. The Examiner did however rebut the Solent Trust’s assertion they could keep healthcare development rights on the green-space north of the Chapel up to the tree belt. This was predicated on the premise it would upset the setting of the Hospital and Chapel. That effectively means no more car-park expansion.

With regards to the Campus and the University Playing Fields, the northern end of the Sports-fields will be designated as Local Green Space along with the Brent Geese Core Area adjacent to the Harbour. This is a far higher level of protection than the current Portsmouth Plan PCS13 “Greener Portsmouth” affords them. Space on an area from the Artificial Games Areas southwards to the boundary with Locksway Road Development on the Sports-Fields “May” be permitted but, this should only be for a similar extent in area terms of the 3.15 ha they currently have on Langstone Campus. That would also only be on condition the Campus is reinstated to green space appropriate for a coastal setting. The University are most likely to want housing but our aspirations for an educational use are preserved.

We have another eight green spaces with this higher level of protection including “Matron’s Walk” and “St James’ Green” in St James’ Hospital. Although The land north of the Chapel is deemed not suitable for development because of the impact on the setting of the Hospital it could not be designated a Local Green Space as such and nor can “Matron’s Garden”. Unfortunately, it is within the gift of the respective landowners to disallow it.

The Full Report can be seen under Examiners report. (top of page menu)

Rod Bailey

Chair Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum