THE fate of plans to build a block of retirement flats on land owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp on Southsea seafront will be decided within days.
Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee is to consider whether the proposals for the site of the former Savoy buildings should be accepted on Wednesday.
The McCarthy & Stone development, made up of 32 flats and 66 assisted living apartments, have attracted mixed views.
The council has received letters from 18 residents in favour and 24 against on the grounds the design of the building and use of the space is not good enough.
Portsmouth Society, which is interested in the preservation of city buildings, believes the applicant ‘has not listened’ to negative feedback it received during a consultation.
The society adds major design changes have not been made and the council ‘should make a stand’ over the prime site and a ‘back to basics’ rethink is required.
Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of the city council, said: ‘The use of the site for retirement flats, while not my first choice, can’t really be objected to. But the design and style of the building is poor and not in keeping with our beautiful Victorian seafront.’
Cllr Jones said she had asked McCarthy & Stone whether it would swap the land for another one in the city which the council owns.
But this was dismissed due to the amount of money the company had already spent on its proposals.
Lib Dem ward councillor Matthew Winnington is to highlight the pros and cons of the scheme at the planning meeting.
‘There are so many opinions on the site and when we are in the planning committee, that can be lost,’ he said.
Council planning officers have recommended the plans be accepted because ‘the proposed development would enhance the character and appearance of the East Southsea Conservation Area’ and would not adversely affect seafront buildings or affect the quality of life of nearby residents.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock agreed the plans should go through.
‘I am delighted it is coming forward and I hope it will get planning permission,’ he said.
‘The people of Southsea want something to go there and it is a building of quality.’
Meanwhile, McCarthy & Stone says it has made amendments which it feels have bolstered the plans.
This includes improvements to materials being used following concerns expressed by planning officers and the Design Review Panel.
A McCarthy & Stone spokesman said: ‘We have strived to introduce a scheme that will make a positive contribution to the special character of South Parade, whilst improving the range of housing choice available to people in later life.’
The company will take over the land from Mr Redknapp if planning permission is granted.