LANDMARK tower blocks which would dominate the gateway to Havant have been compared to buildings in Eastern Europe.
Market Parade, in Havant, is the first thing commuters see of the town as they get off trains at the railway station.
At last night’s development consultation forum at Havant Borough Council the developer Hampshire and Regional Property Group stressed the nine-storey coloured-glass building was just a ‘concept’ at this stage and they were open to ideas from the public.
And although Bill Woods, from Havant Civic Society, said the group was not concerned about the height, he said he had seen ‘that particular type of tower in Belgrade and Romania but never in a seaside town with a lot of historic pride.’
He added: ‘People are putting forward Georgian-type designs for East Street which are being rejected because they’re not quality enough. Surely we need a better style of design here?’
Market Parade was built in the 1960s and with no investment or maintenance it has been left to run down.
Developer Shaun Adams wants to demolish and put 136 flats on to the site with the ground floor made up of high-end restaurants to entice people to Havant. But he was clear the only way to make it viable was to build up.
He said: ‘We’re not going to be able to create Winchester or Chichester high street. It’s not viable. What we’re trying to do is respect the area.
‘I’m not saying we’ve got the colours or materials right yet but we’re here to explore these things.
‘We have the same architect as Gunwharf.’
The council has been trying to attract investment to the area for years.
At the moment the properties are owned by several different landlords.
Mr Adams said he had been working with the council since 2007 to bring the plans to fruition.
Councillor Jackie Branson urged Mr Adams to make it a site the town would be proud of in 30 years’ time.
He has already bought and demolished The Star pub which stood at the north-east corner. And once the first phase is done there are plans to move the entrance to the railway station to the southern end of Market Parade development to encourage people into the town.
If the plans get the go-ahead work could start as early as early 2015.