HUNDREDS of ‘premium’ flats could be built on the site of former Kingston Prison, The News can reveal.
Portsmouth Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs says developer City & Country is keen to pursue building homes on the historic site.
Realistically, it was always likely to be a residential scheme on this site, and it was always going to be expensive to convert the buildings to other alternative uses.Portsmouth Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs
While a planning application has yet to be submitted, Cllr Stubbs said existing buildings at the prison would be used to create up to 250 flats, most of which would have two bedrooms.
It follows a series of public consultation events carried out by City & Country, which bought the prison along with others in the south from the Ministry of Justice early last year. And the intention is to put in around 350 car parking spaces and trees around the edge of the development, off Milton Road.
But Lib Dem Baffins ward councillor Darren Sanders said the proposals will cause traffic problems.
Cllr Sanders said: ‘What concerns me, and many local people, is the number of flats which will cause major problems on what is already a busy road network at peak times.
‘It will also create major parking problems in the area in the roads surrounding it.
‘I am also concerned about the impact this, plus houses that have been built at St Mary’s, and the proposals for 380 homes at St James’, will have on the road network.
‘City & Country’s business model is premium flats.
‘That’s what it does across the country, so it’s no surprise to me it is going to be premium flats.
‘It’s disappointing that ideas like a hotel haven’t been explored in any detail.’
But Cllr Stubbs, who recently chaired a public planning forum over the plans, said: ‘Realistically, it was always likely to be a residential scheme on this site, and it was always going to be expensive to convert the buildings to other alternative uses.
‘It’s only really housing that has got sufficient evidence to make it economically viable.’
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘City & Country is a housing builder, it’s what it does.
‘It was always looking to do a residentially-led scheme.’
A ‘gate house’ could be kept for ‘community uses’, which could involve including activities and information reminding people about the history of the prison.
A spokesman for City & Country said a planning application would be submitted to the council by the end of the week, when more details would be revealed.
Kingston Prison, which was built in 1877, was one of seven prisons in England that closed in 2013, including Camp Hill Prison on the Isle of Wight.
It was part of a move made by the government to save £63m a year.