Portsmouth City Council tells Harry Redknapp: ‘Clear up your mess’

DERELICT The fire-ravaged Savoy Buildings and, inset, Harry Redknapp
DERELICT The fire-ravaged Savoy Buildings and, inset, Harry Redknapp

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HARRY Redknapp’s firm has been ordered to clear up the Savoy Buildings site in Southsea – or face legal action.

Portsmouth City Council served notice on the Pierfront Developments – which former Pompey boss Mr Redknapp owns – on Friday.

OWNER Harry Redknapp

OWNER Harry Redknapp

If it fails to act, the council plans to go to magistrates to win the right to enter the seafront site itself, clear it, and charge the firm for the work.

Council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘They have 28 days to comply. We had to write to them because the situation at the moment is not tolerable. This is a sea-front site and it’s in a terrible state.

‘It can’t continue to look as it does now. We have tried hard to encourage them to do this because it’s their land and their responsibility. But nothing has happened, so we’re at the point now where we’re going to court if they don’t take action. It’s not acceptable for them to leave it in such an appalling state.’

The Savoy Buildings burned down in August this year, but there are fears that despite an emergency clean-up by the council, which was paid for by Pierfront, parts of the site remain unsafe, as well as an eyesore.

In response to concerns and complaints from Portsmouth residents, and visitors to the city, the authority has now written three times to Pierfront asking it to dismantle the remains of the buildings, and secure the site.

But it has not responded.

So under the 1984 Building Act the council now plans to go to court to get permission to do the work itself, and charge the firm.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It’s a last resort. We hope they will do the work. But if not, we’ll have to.’

Councillor Terry Hall, who represents the Eastney and Craneswater ward in which the site, on South Parade, Southsea, is situated, said: ‘It’s a final warning. People are concerned the building could fall down, and there are panels which have been left to blow in the wind. It’s not safe.

‘And because it’s just been left, with the firm doing nothing, there are lots of fears that things like asbestos are lying there untreated. People, especially those on Alhambra Road, have had enough to put up with. We have to do something. It’s disgusting that the firm has come here, in the hope of making money from the city, and done nothing when this fire struck.’

Geoff Hill, the council’s building control manager said: ‘We want to get the site cleared as soon as possible. It’s an eyesore in one of the city’s most popular areas.’

Mr Redknapp, who last week underwent a heart operation, was unavailable to comment.

Pierfront’s representative in Portsmouth, Jason Bernard, was also unavailable for comment.