PLANS have been lodged for another high-rise student accommodation tower to be created in Portsmouth city centre.
Wingfield House could be transformed by Residential & Commercial Estates Ltd into a 13-storey halls of residence with 295 studio apartments.
There is a danger Portsmouth could reach a saturation point for student accommodation.Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council
The redevelopment of the former Commercial Road tax office follows a number of other high-rise student blocks that have planning permission and are being built as demand for rooms grows.
But council leader, Tory Councillor Donna Jones, fears the city’s level of university accommodation has now reached ‘saturation point’ – and believes a balance needs to be struck. Cllr Jones said: ‘There is a danger Portsmouth could reach a saturation point for student accommodation.
‘While it has been needed, there are over 2,800 rooms being built within the city centre, I am really disappointed with these proposals as it is a key employment space.
‘We need to strike a balance and have a good mix of accommodation for students and residents, employment space and green space.
‘It’s in the wrong location – it’s a poor location for student accommodation.’
Cllr Jones added: ‘In a perfect world, Wingfield House would stay as an office building, but changes in the way companies work means the demand just isn’t there anymore. While the council has been very supportive of moves to create additional student housing in the area around the station, Wingfield House is too far out and would be better suited to general purpose housing.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond believes the rental sector needs attention. She said: ‘This kind of development frees up homes for families. We have a shortage of homes. But landlords also need to be issuing long-term rents so people have stability.’
A proposal had previously been brought forward to turn the building into 145 flats.
STUDENT accommodation developments are cropping up across Portsmouth city centre.
Councillors last month voted in favour of a 23-storey block, made up of 600 bedrooms, being built in Surrey Road.
Flats being built in Greetham Street near Portsmouth and Southsea station by Unite will house 1,400 students, and the same firm’s project at Chaucer House aims to be a home for 480.
The 1,000-bedroom redevelopment of the Zurich House on Stanhope Road is due for completion later this year.
But plans to transform the former Brunel House in The Hard into student halls were rejected last year.