Five-storey flats could go on site of former cinema

The cinema picture in 2010 before its demolition
The cinema picture in 2010 before its demolition
Peter Axworthy at the OffBeet cafe

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PLANS to build two five-storey blocks of flats on the site of a former cinema have been welcomed.

Community leaders say it is high time something happened to the derelict land off Cosham’s High Street.

The former Carlton cinema was bulldozed in 2011 after a series of break-ins but nothing has replaced it since.

Housing association firm First Wessex now wants to put 46 apartments there over two buildings, which would be visible from nearly two miles away at Ford Widley.

Some space would also be included for businesses.

Tony Broome, of Cosham Business Association and owner of Shoefix, on High Street, said: ‘That site in particular has been an eyesore since the building was pulled down.

‘It’s inevitable with the size of the plot that flats would go there. It’s a huge, huge area.

‘I am in favour of new development.

‘So long as a shop can be put in at the bottom to help the high street then it’s good.’

First Wessex is currently building flats on a similar scale on the site of the former Southdown bus depot in Hilsea, after planning permission was given by Portsmouth City Council in February last year.

It came despite fears from residents about the scale of the development and the impact it would have on the nearby environment.

The plans for the Cosham flats only include 24 parking spaces, one of which would be a disabled bay.

But planning officers feel this is enough given Cosham has several bus routes and a train station.

The council’s planning committee meets on Wednesday to decide whether planning should be granted.

Planning officers have recommended it goes through, so long as First Wessex contributes £5,000 towards a new pedestrian crossing at the junction of High Street and Vectis Way.

The company would also have to provide 14 affordable homes.

Cosham Labour councillor and committee chairman, Cllr Aiden Gray, said: ‘It’s high time something is done with this site – it has been an eyesore for years now.

‘Improvements to the High Street are a good thing but it has got to be right for the area and the right feel for the area.

‘We need more housing but we also need to be mindful of the businesses around there as well.’