Brunel House plans deferred as developers told to do better by councillors

The design for Brunel House dismissed as a "giant barcode"
The design for Brunel House dismissed as a "giant barcode"
Councillor Andy Lenaghan

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  • Plans to re-clad city eyesore deferred but flats proposals approved
  • Planning committee divided over proposals but developer told to come back with better design
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DEVELOPERS behind a scheme to re-clad one of the city’s ‘biggest eyesores’ have been told to do better on their proposed plans.

Councillors deferred proposals to put coloured cladding and replace windows on Brunel House in The Hard during a meeting yesterday, urging developers Makepeace Investments Ltd to re-think the scheme.

The applicants have already been granted planning permission to convert the former offices into 153 flats and put a gym and retail store in the ground floor.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the city council, previously dubbed the design of the building as a ‘giant coloured barcode’ and urged the planning committee to refuse the proposals.

While the decision was deferred, the committee were split with Councillor Steve Pitt hugely critical of the plans.

He called for refusal, stating: ‘I hate the designs. I think it looks awful. Doing up the building will not make it look less awful. It is a shame that the tower that was proposed for the site was not pursued. Taking a bulldozer to it would be best.’

Cllr Pitt was backed by Councillor Gemma New in his assessment while councillors Darren Sanders, Lee Hunt, Jennie Brent and chairman Jim Fleming voted in favour of a deferral.

The chairman said: ‘Just because something should be done does not mean that anything should be done.

‘A refusal sends the wrong message. I would like to see it looked at with some improvements.

‘Something better should be expected by the city on such a prestigious site.’

The 12-storey former office building has a long, chequered history and was once the site targeted for the ambitious but refused ‘Portsmouth Shard’ project.

Richard Oaten, architect for the new designs, said the designs would give the project ‘a new lease of life.’

When quizzed by councillors, he said it would be ‘highly likely’ that the proposals for the flats would go ahead even if the cladding proposals were rejected.