Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Marchwood Military Port petition goes to Number 10

Marchwood Military Port
Image caption The government says leasing Marchwood Military Port to a commercial operator will reduce costs

Campaigners have travelled to Downing Street to ask for a consultation about the future of Marchwood Military Port in Hampshire.

A petition of almost 2,000 signatures, calling for the Ministry of Defence to consult residents about its plans to lease part of the site, was handed into Number 10.

The government says leasing to a commercial operator will reduce costs.

But residents are concerned it will put too much strain on the roads.

David Harrison, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Totton South and Marchwood, was part of the group travelling to London.

Image caption A petition of almost 2,000 signatures was handed into 10 Downing Street

He said: "Already the stretch of road from Southampton to Marchwood is one of the most frequently congested roads for HGV traffic."

'Cloaking in secrecy'

Other concerns include additional noise, lighting, and impact on the New Forest National Park.

Mr Harrison said: "At the moment the Ministry of Defence is cloaking everything in secrecy."

Some of the UK's biggest commercial dock operators have expressed an interest in using the 300-acre (121 hectare) port.

They include ABP, which runs Southampton Docks, and Peel Ports, which runs the ports in Liverpool.

The port will continue to be used by the military.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said it was working with New Forest District Council's planning team.

"It will be the responsibility of any future Marchwood Port operator to comply with any planning requirements," she said.

"The MoD will continue to facilitate discussions throughout the concession process."

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