THE next stage of Portsmouth’s regeneration could see a 39-storey tower overlooking The Hard area.
Bouygues Development is asking Portsmout City Council for permission to demolish the disused Brunel House building and replace it with Portsmouth’s answer to The Shard.
The developer is no longer looking for permission to include a 200-bed hotel inside the building.
Instead, it is asking the council to consent to student accommodation for 512 people in clusters of eight, as well as some studio rooms; 329 residential properties and one floor of retail space.
The application also seeks permission for retail space to be used for a restaurant, cafe, financial services, hot food takeaway or ‘drinking establishment’.
A multi-storey car park for residents with around 300 spaces, and 816 cycle spaces, is also proposed.
The existing taxi office is also given space in the plans.
Leader of the authority, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘I think Brunel House as it is at the moment is terrible. It is such a bad advert for the city as people arrive in on the train.
‘The question is, why is there no hotel? We really need an extra hotel here.
‘I think in some ways I am pleased there is a plan for something different but I am really disappointed that they don’t have a hotel.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the council will need to work with the developer on the provision of affordable housing - which documents submitted to the council say there will be none of, either on the site or elsewhere, because ‘it would be unviable (sic) to provide affordable housing at all in connection with this development’.
John Holland, The Portsmouth Society’s planning spokesman, said the development of the site is ‘welcome’.
‘For a long time it has been an eyesore,’ he said.
‘It has been empty and disused for a long time. We are glad to see the planning application has been submitted. It is an exciting proposal and will be another addition to our skyline.
‘There are some concerns. It is going to have some effects on the area and the people who live there.
‘We are surprised that the hotel idea is gone because it is deemed to be needed in the area.
‘Generally we are looking forward to studying the application.’
Nicolas Guérin, managing director of Bouygues Development, said: ‘The submission of our Brunel House planning application marks an important step in our development plans to create a scheme which we believe will be great for Portsmouth, complementing the historic heritage of the dockyards and at the same time bringing economic opportunities to the area.
‘The scheme will provide a vibrant and exciting street frontage while assisting in the wider regeneration of The Hard.
‘We look forward to working with the planners at Portsmouth City Council to achieve planning and bringing forward a scheme which will provide important jobs and an economic boost.’
The company did not respond to The News’ requests to find out why hotel provision was no longer included in the proposals.
The designs are now available on the city’s council’s website and at the Civic Centre and are on public consultation until May 23.