PLANS for a new hotel on The Hard have been given the go-ahead by Portsmouth City Council.
The six-storey, 24-bedroom hotel would be built on the Keppel’s Head Hotel car park, next to the Lady Hamilton pub, facing The Hard, Portsea.
The application was made on behalf of the Keppel’s Head, but its owners are said to be ‘keeping their options open’ about whether to use the building themselves, or offer it to another hotel operator.
Architect Mick Morris, who is working on the proposal, said: ‘It’s good news. This is an important area of Portsmouth. It’s the only commercial road with a view of the harbour and it’s a stretch people walk down if they’re travelling between the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays. But it’s become a little tired-looking, so we hope this development will be the starting point for new investment, which we know the council wants to bring to the area.’
The hotel will have 24 rooms above a ground-floor open plan reception and cafe area.
It’s hoped the ground floor area will have the feel of a continental hotel, with street blinds and folding doors opening onto the street.
Mr Morris said: ‘It will be a good addition to The Hard, and a place where people can come to stay, overlooking the harbour. It will improve the look of the street. It will be separate from the Keppel’s Head, and a final decision hasn’t been taken on whether or not they will use it or to have another hotelier.
‘They’re keeping their options open, but they’re planning a refurbishment relatively soon, so if the current hotel has to close for that, perhaps they’d want the extra building.’
The owners of the Lady Hamilton pub, which is next door to the proposed hotel’s site, had opposed the plans.
They said the building would block one of their windows. But planning officers said the window was already blocked, from the inside.
Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee decided unanimously to approve the proposal.
Councillor Lee Hunt, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said: ‘This will be a good addition to The Hard. It’s something we should support and I look forward to seeing it there.’
Tory councillor Luke Stubbs added: ‘The land already had permission for housing, so this hotel option is a much better use, because of the economic benefits it’ll bring to the city.’