Hunt for company to build the Blade tower continues

BIG IDEA An artist's impression of the Blade tower
BIG IDEA An artist's impression of the Blade tower

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DELAYS continue to cast a shadow over the future of a landmark building in Portsmouth city centre.

In March The News reported that the developer due to start work on the University of Portsmouth’s huge new hall of residence – dubbed the Blade tower because of its striking appearance – had pulled out.

Now the university has confirmed that more than four months later it still does not have a company lined up to build the tower.

The iconic structure is supposed to stand on the site of the former Victoria Baths and rise more than 300ft high above the city’s skyline.

It was originally set to be finished next year in time for the start of the September term.

But financial reasons led to construction firm Watkin Jones abandoning the project and the university told The News it has not yet gone out to tender for a replacement.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The University of Portsmouth will soon begin the tender process of seeking a new partner to develop the scheme as originally conceived.

‘The tender process will be published in due course in European media as European procurement processes require us to do.’

The building was granted planning permission last year amid controversy over its height and modern design, but won the support of the Portsmouth Society and the Canon of St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral David Hopgood.

But objections were also raised by local residents and English Heritage.