Plans revealed for ‘stunning’ student tower development

The proposed new student tower block
The proposed new student tower block
Gareth Rugg

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PLANS to construct a 18-storey tower in the heart of Portsmouth have been revealed.

The proposed building would be built in place of the Co-op bank in Commercial Road, near Liquid & Envy nightclub.

Architects say the ‘landmark’ 256-bed tower will enhance Portsmouth’s skyline.

And the idea has been welcomed by both Portsmouth City Council and a leading heritage group.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of the council said: ‘All these student schemes free up existing houses for families.

‘This would also replace a tired building with something that would form a gateway building into the Commercial Road area. It’s a striking design. I’m all for it.’

The proposed building will offer both bedrooms and studio rooms, and retail space on the ground and first floor, the plans show.

Figures included in developer Crosslane’s planning application show the University of Portsmouth has 19,100 students, with just 5,912 beds provided in total, including those under currently under construction.

The plan has won support from a senior member of Portsmouth Society, the city’s civic society which takes an interest in heritage.

John Holland, vice-chairman at Portsmouth Society, said the building looked ‘stunning’.

He said: ‘The building today is a two or three storey post-war building of no great architectural interest.

‘What is proposed is quite a stunning design. It’s got some architectural fins on the roof.

‘It’s the quality that you see in other cities, with similar in Manchester and London.’

An accommodation manager and assistant manager from Prime Student Living will manage the tower block once it is built.

Lisa Timberlake, development manager at Crosslane, said: ‘The site we have identified to develop a purpose-built student accommodation is in a 
prominent city centre location in Portsmouth.

‘The site is ideal for University of Portsmouth students, due to its proximity to the campus, and will provide a safe and modern home for students in this vibrant city.

‘Crosslane has established a proven track record of successfully acquiring, developing, investing in and managing high quality, purpose-built, conveniently located student accommodation property across Europe, completing over 3,100 beds since 2008.

‘We look forward to discussing the proposal with the planning committee members at the city council.’

A university spokeswoman said the proposal was nothing to do with the institution.

‘The plan for student accommodation on the site of Stanhope House is an independent scheme in the city led by a private developer,’ she said.

‘The university has not been involved with this proposed development.’

Nearby Zurich House, at 197ft tall, is currently under refurbishment to offer 1,000 student bedrooms and a 16 to 18-storey hotel with 228 bedrooms in Surrey Street is due to be in place.