A DERELICT former nightclub dating back to 1924 is set to become a multi-million-pound nursing home.
Planning permission has been granted for the Regal Palace, in Kingston Road, North End, to become a 53-bedroom care facility.
The distinctive building was a 2,000-capacity nightclub until it closed 14 years ago.
It has also been a cinema – and over the last few years several planning applications have been accepted and refused for the site.
One such plan was to convert the building into flats, but none of the projects has got off the ground.
Now Southampton-based Blue Water Nursing Homes has been granted permission to revamp the property.
Waterlooville-based chartered surveyors the Project Support Practice designed the nursing home and partner Don Boddy said he was keen to keep as many of the old building’s distinctive features as possible.
‘We were aiming to retain the feel of the existing building,’ he said.
‘I love old buildings you can keep using like this one.
‘When it is completed this project will be unique. We will have chandeliers and all the decorative coving and the old staircase that is there at the moment.
‘It was a challenging project to design but I’ve got to give praise to the Portsmouth City Council planning department which gave us a lot of guidance.’
Ward councillor and cabinet member for health, Cllr Leo Madden, said he hoped that this time the development would definitely go ahead.
He said: ‘The building has been standing empty for years.
‘It needs some sort of use being made of it.
‘It just seems to me that a lot of people are putting in applications for nursing homes.
‘We do already have a plethora in the city, but clearly the private sector has decided there is still demand for them.
‘There were a couple of objections from local people but the developer went and met them to explain this and after that all but one dropped their objections.
‘I’m happy to see some use being made of it.
‘We know that more people are getting dementia and living longer so demand for these nursing homes is only going to increase.’
There was a concern raised by an engineer from the Highways Agency that the proposal did not include any parking for staff or visitors, other than a single space for an ambulance or visiting doctor.
But because of nearby car parks the agency decided that ‘the proposal is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on the surrounding highway network’ and noted that the developer has agreed to give £1,000 towards extra cycle parking nearby.