Heritage group says Portsmouth ‘Shard’ would hamper city’s most historic sites

The 'Shard' building has been criticised
The 'Shard' building has been criticised
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PLANS for a 40-storey ‘Portsmouth Shard’ have been described as tall, bulky and inelegant by English Heritage.

Planning documents for the student accommodation and apartment block at Brunel House on The Hard are being considered by Portsmouth City Council.

As part of the public consultation, English Heritage produced a report laying out its concerns over the building, which it says has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on the historic naval heritage of Portsmouth.

An English Heritage spokesman told The News: ‘We are unable to support this application for a 40-storey high building to the south of the historic naval dockyard because this large and bulky building would be out of scale with surrounding listed buildings within the conservation area which includes the naval dockyard, The Hard and St George’s Square which collectively make a major contribution to the naval heritage of the city of Portsmouth.

‘We would like to see redevelopment of the Brunel House site with a building which responds more positively to its surroundings and we would be happy to advise on a more suitable scheme.’

Celia Clark, who has written a number of books about architecture in the city, has asked the council to reject the planning application.

She said: ‘A 40-storey triangular structure will cast large shadows over the adjoining residential area, some of which, such as the next-door Victory Road, is only two storeys high.

‘It will severely diminish the setting of St George’s Church and the nearby listed buildings, not to mention the damaging effect on the historic dockyard.’

Jackie Baynes, a member of the Portsmouth Society who lives in Old Portsmouth, said the building would be ‘very dominant’ but said any replacement to the current Brunel House building was preferable to how it is now.

She said: ‘People I have spoken to at the Portsmouth Society about it think it is a bit too large. The mass of it will be very dominant. Of course, it may not jar so much once The Hard interchange is done as that will be modern.

‘It will be very close to the dockyard but I don’t think any architect would design something different to what has been put forward.’