‘We should decide what gets built in this city’

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
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

West Sussex has country’s ‘best quality of life’ for pensioners

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PRESSURE will be put on government ministers to stop planning decisions being overturned by people outside of Portsmouth.

It comes as campaigners fear plans to build retirement flats on the former site of the Savoy buildings in Southsea will be approved should it go to appeal before the UK’s planning inspectorate.

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee threw out the Savoy scheme on the grounds the design and use of the site – owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp – was not good enough.

Councillors have now pledged to back an amendment being put through parliament by MP Nick Herbert calling for an end to the planning agency, based in Bristol.

A letter will go to local government secretary Eric Pickles requesting a change in national planning policy to give sites greater protection against redevelopment.

It comes after the latest meeting of the full council where members across different parties blasted the planning inspectorate for being ‘undemocratic’.

Nick Courtney, of The People’s Plan for Southsea, who was strongly opposed to the Savoy development, admits the council’s decision was a ‘shallow victory’ as developer McCarthy & Stone will likely win when presenting its case to the inspectorate.

‘It’s most likely a shallow victory because it will probably go through on appeal,’ he said.

‘It seems like it will almost certainly go through. The only thing I think could stop this is the fact councillors at the meeting felt they had been harassed (by McCarthy & Stone), and if the public are allowed to put in objections.’

Lib Dem councillor Darren Sanders said: ‘It’s important as many decisions as possible are kept here.’

Housing minister Brandon Lewis will also be invited to the city to observe plans to redevelop the site of St James’ Hospital, in Milton, into a location for hundreds of new homes.