Caroline holds Stokesmead Meeting

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted a meeting in Parliament to discuss the future of the Stokesmead site in Alverstoke.

The Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Abbey Homes (which owns the site) joined Caroline for a meeting in the House of Commons with the Chief Executive of Gosport Borough Council and the Chairman of the Anglesey Conservation Group.

It was an open introductory meeting during which a range of possible outcomes for the site were discussed. Gosport Borough Council and the Anglesey Conservation Group now have time to discuss these options in more detail and pleasingly, Abbey Homes have agreed to visit Alverstoke and the land in question.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline said:

"For too long this issue has been unresolved and this area fenced off from the local community. Today we took a positive step in the right direction – I'm pleased the Chairman and Managing Director of Abbey Homes took the time to engage with us and that we were able to have an honest and productive conversation about Stokesmead. I am confident that this has opened the door for further positive discussions towards eventually finding a solution that suits local residents."

The Chairman of the Anglesey Conservation Group, Judy Newell said:

"It was nice to meet the faces behind the names at Abbey Homes and I am grateful that they have expressed an interest in both further constructive talks and visiting the site. I look forward to updating our committee on the progress that was made at today's meeting."

The Stokesmead site was bought by Abbey Homes from the National Children's Home in 1984 and since then a number of planning applications have been turned down. Development of the land is vehemently opposed by both Gosport Borough Council and local residents who want it returned to public open space.

Today's meeting follows on from a public meeting which was held in St. Mary's Church in October attended by over 200 local residents. Caroline also raised the matter in the House of Commons, when she asked for a debate on land-banking which prohibits the public use of sites such as Stokesmead.