Plan unveiled for new five-storey health hub in North End

A computer-generated image of the new multi-purpose health building
A computer-generated image of the new multi-purpose health building

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  • Ambitious plan for former 99p Store would see care home, doctor’s surgery and 24 assisted living apartments all under one roof
  • Civic leaders say plans seem ‘very sensible’
  • Cautions raised over how hub would fit with North End aesthetic
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AMBITIOUS proposals have been revealed to create a new multipurpose health hub on one of the city’s main roads.

Plans have been submitted for a five-storey mixed-use development in London Road, North End, that would include a doctor’s surgery and a dentist’s in addition to a nursing home, a care home and 24 assisted-living apartments.

You have got lots of elderly people living across the city who need to live closer to the shops and this proposal would be suited perfectly for them.

Councillor Luke Stubbs

The Project Support Practice, a Waterloovile-based architectural firm, are developing the proposals which would see the former Woolworth, then 99p Store in North End demolished to make way for the large new building.

Its layout earmarks retail space on the ground floor alongside a doctor’s surgery, dentists, opticians, physiotherapists and a pharmacy.

The first floor would be a 27-bed care home and a nursing home would be built on the second floor, providing a further 32 rooms. The assisted living apartments would be built on the third and fourth floor.

The proposals have been welcomed by civic leaders, who say the plans sound ‘very sensible’ and will bolster options for the elderly in Portsmouth.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, Conservative cabinet member for health on Portsmouth City Council said: ‘There’s a real gap in the market at the moment for assisted living apartments so these proposals meet a real need.

‘Councils are always under pressure to deliver more social housing and this is a site that has been under-used for such a long time.

‘You have got lots of elderly people living across the city who need to live closer to the shops and this proposal would be suited perfectly for them.’

His thoughts were echoed by Portsmouth Liberal Democrats’ leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson who supported the principle for the project.

He said: ‘These proposals sound very interesting and are timely too as we are losing a lot of doctors surgeries in Portsmouth as it is getting harder to replace our GPs.

‘In my view, it would be very sensible to have all these services and residents under one roof, however, the size of the building needs to be taken into account as it must fit in within its surroundings and not overwhelm the area.’

Councillor Stephen Morgan, leader of Portsmouth Labour Party said: ‘Improving the quality of care is a vital part of providing dignity in older age and independence and support for people who are vulnerable in our communities. The idea to create a hub for Portsmouth bringing together a range of health and wellbeing services sounds very sensible, if the plans have the support of local people.

Donald Boddy of The Project Support Practice said: ‘We have had numerous meetings with the council regarding the plans and we have had positive feedback.

‘There’s no question it will assist in the rejuvenation of North End.

Outline plans for the proposal have been submitted to Portsmouth City Council with the local authority’s planning committee expected to make a decision on the plans later this year.