Fears that tower block would ruin castle views

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Perhaps the only pleasure of driving along the M27 is the view of Portchester Castle as you sweep, eastbound, down towards Portsmouth from Fareham.

The vista which opens up across Portsmouth Harbour is one for which most conurbations would give their eye teeth.

The keep and the flint walls of the most impressive and best-preserved of the Roman Saxon Shore forts cannot fail but catch the eye.

The castle has its origins in the late third century. So, in the early 21st it would be a crying shame if that spectacle was to be blotted out by a near-150ft tower block.

And that’s just from the motorway. We can only imagine what the residents who live close to the castle might think of living in its shadow.

It is all part of the Trafalgar Wharf development on the former Vosper Thornycroft shipyard off Southampton Road on the border of Portsmouth and Fareham. It would also include up to 164 new homes, cafes and restaurants and 200,000sq ft of marine buildings for local businesses.

Developers Quadrant Estates say that reducing the height of the tower block would make it less attractive to would-be purchasers, buyers no doubt with an eagle eye on that view of the castle and harbour.

We agree with Fareham Borough councillor Roger Price when he says: ‘It’s totally out of keeping with that area to have such a high rise block.

‘The density of the development is pretty high too. It’s all very crammed in. I imagine that’s being done by the developers to get the value out of the land.’

Quadrant might very well argue that for many years the site has been dominated by the Vosper shipbuilding hall.

However, people accepted it was all part of the Portsmouth area’s maritime heritage, provided jobs and its warship grey tones tended to blend in with the sky – most of the time.

Portsmouth planners will eventually rule on Quadrant’s plan even though the development will impinge on the Fareham borough.

We can see the sense in much of it, but a tower block? No.