‘Shard’ developer refuses to provide affordable homes in Portsmouth

An artist's impression of the proposed transformation of the Brunel House site
An artist's impression of the proposed transformation of the Brunel House site
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PLANS to build a 40-storey Shard-style tower block in Portsmouth could be under threat because the developer does not want to put in affordable homes.

Bouygues Development says it would be ‘unviable’ for social housing to be built into the proposed student and apartment block on the site of Brunel House at The Hard.

And a warning has now been issued that planning permission could be rejected as the city council stipulates 30 per cent of developments on such a scale should be made up of affordable homes.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, says Bouygues has refused to contribute money towards council homes going in another area to ease pressure on the budget.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Planning policy requires larger schemes to provide 30 per cent affordable housing.

‘Many of the flats in this building would be very expensive and there is not a justifiable argument not to provide anything on site.

‘It is however very unfair for a scheme of this magnitude not to at least make a cash contribution. The city council is legally obliged to replace homes sold under the Right-to-Buy scheme and it’s got to get the money to pay for this from somewhere.

‘If a company is building a £100m scheme and wants to get away with not having social homes on site, it should at least chip in to the pot to provide something somewhere else.’

The council’s planning committee is to consider the plans in the new year.

Members can still accept the scheme because there is nothing in law stipulating the developer must act on the council’s demands, which are only based on guidelines.

A Bouygues spokesman said: ‘The complexity and size of the site do not allow for social housing as this would generate a complex internal design with multiple cores and would also make the project unviable.

‘The scheme will bring significant benefits to the community by improving the public areas, removing a derelict building to create a better impression at this gateway to Portsmouth, as well as providing improved connections to Gunwharf Quays. The redevelopment will also create new jobs through the construction process, the completed retail outlets and the wider management of the building.’

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