Fears for green space as university reveals it will close 600-bed campus in Portsmouth

CONCERNS have been raised over losing open space in the city after the university confirmed it will close a 600-bed campus.

Wednesday, 5th July 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:41 am
The University of Portsmouth's Langstone Campus
The University of Portsmouth's Langstone Campus

The University of Portsmouth is set to move out of accommodation at Langstone campus, in Locksway Road, Milton, by summer next year.

Currently it has 600 beds for students live at the site, with sports pitches flanking a tower block, and several blocks of flats.

The sports pitches are set to remain in use, but a ward councillors has voiced concerns over losing open space.

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Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group and ward member for Milton.

He said: ‘People have known for 10 years the university wants out, so it’s not a surprise.

‘It doesn’t fit with their plans for them.

‘But the bit that I’m concerned about is the open space, all the playing fields there to remain playing fields.’

He said there must also be enough student accommodation for people going to the university, and enough houses available for families to rent in the city.

Several tower blocks, including the former Zurich House, in Stanhope Road, have been developed for student living.

Kimberly Barrett, from Keep Milton Green, said residents and businesses were concerned about the situation.

She said: ‘When we heard about the university moving out of Langstone campus much earlier than expected, I know that a lot of local people and the businesses in the area were and still are particularly worried about the situation.’

She added KMG, Milton Forum and the Milton Neighbourhood planning team is talking to the university, NHS and council.

‘The fact that the university is going to be keeping the playing fields for the foreseeable future is a relief, they have admitted that there is nowhere else on the island that they can facilitate this and as it is Brent geese feeding ground, development of any kind on the playing fields would potentially be rather difficult,’ she said.

‘It has been made clear to us that the university does not know whether they will sell the land, develop it or keep it for something else.’

A University of Portsmouth spokeswoman said there was an increasing ‘over-supply’ of beds in city halls of residence built by third parties, that the sports provision would be used and ‘developed’ in the ‘long term,’ and the institution will still run its own four halls, Bateson, Burrell, Harry Law and Rees.

The spokeswoman added: ‘This has not been an easy decision to take, but it was felt that this was the right decision, balancing student needs, efficient use of resources and the very different profile of student accommodation in the city.’