Plans for high-rise student residence in Southsea given green light

An artist's impression of the student accommodation to be built in Greetham Street
An artist's impression of the student accommodation to be built in Greetham Street

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THE city’s skyline is to be pierced by a new high-rise building after planning approval was granted for a 25-storey student hall of residence.

The £42m building will tower 240ft and feature a distinctive yellow ‘cube’ section at its highest point.

Councillors at a Portsmouth City Council planning committee meeting unanimously approved the plan despite concerns over the structure’s design and lack of bicycle parking. The building will house 836 University of Portsmouth students but will have no permanent car parking spaces.

There will be 197 bicycle spaces for residents and 30 for visitors.

The structure will be built in Greetham Street, Southsea, and span across Dugald Drummond Street.

It is planned to open in time for the 2016/17 academic year.

Cllr Rob New said he was in favour of the project even though he did not like the design.

He said: ‘It’s a poor design that’s not in keeping with the Portsmouth planning scheme. I absolutely loathe the colour.

‘But this is too good an opportunity to miss and I will be happy to support this.’

But Cllr Sandra Stockdale said she liked the modern design.

She said: ‘I like the clean lines. It’s needed by the university, it will provide jobs and I see it as a positive for Portsmouth.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs said the residence would ease congestion on the private rental market and make the university more competitive.

He said: ‘A lot of students would rather live in halls of residence than in private housing.

‘If the university wants to attract more students there is a need for this and for further student residences in the future.’

But Cllr Colin Galloway said he was concerned about the lack of bicycle parking space at the site.

A University of Portsmouth spokesman said: ‘The university welcomes the decision taken by the city council to approve plans to develop a halls of residence on the current Greetham Street car park, which will significantly contribute to the supply of purpose-built student accommodation in the city.’

Development will help meet a growing demand

THE new tower will be built by Unite Students, which already operates three halls of residence in Portsmouth housing 1,400 students.

Unite’s managing director of property Richard Simpson said the new building would plug a growing gap in the property market.

Mr Simpson said: ‘The acquisition forms part of our regional development strategy where there is a growing demand for student accommodation.

‘This year we have seen university applications continue to outstrip available places and there is a growing need for safe, secure purpose-built student accommodation. The site is ideal for University of Portsmouth students.’