Design of Savoy site flats sparks a review into Portsmouth City Council seafront plan

Bill Saunders studies plans to transform derelict land owned by ex-Pompey manager Harry Redknapp into retirement homes. Developers McCarthy & Stone wants to redevelop the site of the former Savoy buildings, opposite South Parade Pier, in Southsea.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (141335-926)
Bill Saunders studies plans to transform derelict land owned by ex-Pompey manager Harry Redknapp into retirement homes. Developers McCarthy & Stone wants to redevelop the site of the former Savoy buildings, opposite South Parade Pier, in Southsea. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141335-926)
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A REVIEW has been ordered into a planning dossier as it does not have ideas for how the derelict Savoy site on Southsea seafront should be redeveloped.

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, is calling for action to be taken over the seafront masterplan.

The masterplan, adopted by the previous Lib Dem administration, is a planning document with aspirations for how new developments on the seafront should look.

But it doesn’t mention anything about the site of the former Savoy buildings – and Cllr Jones fears the council will have a limited say in the look of retirement flats which developers McCarthy & Stone wants to build there.

She has already met with representatives of the firm to express concern over the design they’ve come up with lacking character.

Cllr Jones said: ‘I was dismayed to find out that the seafront masterplan doesn’t include the Savoy site, and that makes it very difficult for us as a council to curtail design specifications of the application. I am hoping the architect goes back and has a rethink over the design. The Savoy site is crucial in what I want to achieve with my masterplan for the city.’

As part of the review, the Tory administration will see if other areas of potential redevelopment have been missed out and should be included.

Any changes would require consultation with the public, and it is too late to include the Savoy plot as a planning application for the site is expected to be submitted by McCarthy & Stone soon.

The Tories hope the developer will revise its design in the meantime though.

Claire Upton-Brown, the council’s city development manager, said the Savoy site is instead included in the council’s site allocation plan, which suggests where new homes could be built. She said the design would be considered when the planning application is considered.

Ms Upton-Brown said: ‘When the council receives an application, one of the material planning considerations is whether the development is of excellent architectural quality and therefore should be supported. Dialogue around the design of the site is on-going.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said: ‘It’s always a good idea to look at things and see if there are different ways of doing things. The masterplan gives an indication to developers of what might be okay.’

A petition against the flats, which would include a ground floor shop, has reached almost 1,500 signatures.