Firm behind Savoy Southsea flats will not budge on plan

The latest plans for the elderly residential homes planned for the Savoy Buildings
The latest plans for the elderly residential homes planned for the Savoy Buildings

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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THE developer behind retirement flats on land owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp is refusing to alter its plans despite calls for change.

And McCarthy & Stone has warned should its proposals for the former Savoy site in Southsea be turned down again, then Portsmouth City Council could lose more than £1m it has agreed to pay for other improvements.

The warning comes despite the authority’s planning committee turning down the plans, which included a Co-op store on the ground floor, on the basis the developer needed to rethink its design.

But in a statement to the council, McCarthy & Stone said it had clearly thought out its designs, which have already been altered through feedback it received from members of the public during a consultation.

The firm said: ‘The proposal is also presented to the committee with a number of contributions (totalling over £1m) and conditions agreed through negotiation.

‘It may well be that these would be revised by an inspector if the proposal did have to be considered by way of an appeal.’

A bulk of the money would pay for more affordable homes in the city.’

The developer would also have to come up with a traffic plan and improve nearby roads such as dropped kerbs and the relocation of a bus stop and shelter.

But Tory Councillor Ken Ellcome, who admitted at the previous meeting the plans still had ‘a long way to go’, said it was disappointing the developer was disrespecting the views of members and refusing to budge.

‘The council needs the best solution for that site,’ he said.

‘The decision should not be based on how much money it would be getting.’

Lib Dem members of the planning committee have agreed not to vote on the plans because Lib Dem councillor Will Purvis works for McCarthy & Stone and has been involved in the plans.

Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘McCarthy & Stone is absolutely wrong to do this.

‘I have told the company time and time again it needs to be a design that fits in with the buildings on each side.’

The Savoy flat scheme is set to go before the city council’s planning committee again tomorrow to determine whether planning permission should be granted despite no changes being made.

Councillors were to meet at Portsmouth Guildhall’s executive meeting room, based on the third floor, from 5pm.

Company boss urges councillors to reconsider position

COUNCILLORS have been urged to change their stance and approve the Savoy scheme for the sake of the future of the seafront.

Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, Nigel Sibley, the regional managing director at McCarthy & Stone, said the plans would finally see a derelict site be brought back into use after years of uncertainty and the land ‘blighting’ the landscape.

‘Following the deferral at the previous committee meeting, we are committed to our approach, which provides a wholly suitable backdrop to the life of the seafront through introducing a contemporary design that responds to the scale, materials and proportions of the surrounding buildings,’ he said.

‘The site has lain vacant for many years in the absence of a viable scheme.

‘Any further planning delay threatens an £8m investment in an empty site that has long blighted Southsea seafront.’