Scheme to convert church into housing for families is agreed

Kate Tame and Cllr Roger Price next to the current First World War  plaque inside St Mary's Church in Portchester Castle. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (170259-7003)

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A FORMER church in Southsea will be converted into housing.

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee has agreed to allow the Southsea United Reformed Church, in Victoria Road South, to be turned into eight maisonettes.

Although the development will require an extension to be built, it will keep the 1911 Arts and Crafts Perpendicular-style building, designed by city architect CW Bevis, intact.

The former church is in the Owen’s Southsea Conservation area.

Inside, the building will be converted into seven two-bedroom and one three-bedroom maisonettes on four levels.

Councillor Luke Stubbs said: ‘This plan will at least see the building retained. I think there are issues about parking, but we can’t ask them to knock down part of the building to make space for parked cars.’

Fourteen people had objected to the plans, on the grounds no off-street parking being proposed by the developer.

Other concerns included neighbours’ fears extensions to the north and west of the building would block natural light to their homes.

But the council’s planners advised committee members: ‘The principle of conversion is acceptable. Little change in design of the two main street elevations is proposed. The north extension would be a mainly glazed stepped addition and would complement the existing building’s architecture. The modest extension to the west elevation would not have any significant impact on the light and outlook enjoyed by neighbours in Stafford Road.’

Cllr Donna Jones asked if parking could be provided under the building, but other committee members agreed with planning officers that nearby amenities made car-free living possible.

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