HARRY Redknapp’s firm has almost cleared the site of Joanna’s nightclub – but local people remain frustrated by the speed of progress.
The Savoy Buildings burned down in August this year and on November 28 a company working for Pierfront Developments started a full clean-up following a threat of legal action by Portsmouth City Council.
The company – which former Pompey boss Mr Redknapp owns – argued it was prevented from beginning work earlier first by the police and then by its insurance company.
Councillor Terry Hall, who represents the ward in which the site, on South Parade, Southsea, is situated, said: ‘I’m happy that the site looks a lot better, but this is just the first step of the clean-up.
‘It still doesn’t look good with the hoardings up and we need to get on and sort it out.
‘As a council we have had to put pressure on and threaten legal action to get things this far and I do think forcing them like that has made a difference. They got a move on when we went down that route and I think we are going to have to keep going.’
East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum committee member Leon Reis said he was not satisfied with the clean-up because residents were still complaining of waste being dumped at the site, problems with rats and an area at the back which is not overlooked and could be exploited by criminals.
‘It is just pathetic,’ he said. ‘They have still not restored the footpath next to the site, it is still blocked.
‘The local community are stuck with a bomb site. It is a nightmare for people who live in the area.’
Mr Reis added that he felt the council had made a mistake in allowing Pierfront to go ahead with demolition of the Savoy buildings without having a firm timescale for new building work to start.
He said: ‘There needs to be a proper community approach to this. If someone gets planning permission in such an area they should be held to account so that they start building within a reasonable period.’ He added that representatives from the council had been invited to the next meeting of the neighbourhood forum, on Thursday, January 26 inside South Parade Pier at 7pm, to answer questions.
Mr Redknapp’s representative, managing director of Bernard’s estate agents Jason Parker, said architects were working on a new potential scheme for the site.
‘Hoardings to the boundary should be reinstated early in the New Year,’ he said.
‘At which point any affected pathways will be fully reopened. Future development cannot take place until planning permission has been granted.’