Incoming landowners snub forum meeting

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RESIDENTS who attended a neighbourhood forum meeting left feeling snubbed by developers.

McCarthy & Stone, who have bought a stretch of seafront land owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp, failed to send anyone to the meeting at the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea last night.

Southsea Association chairman Vince Faithfull said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ no-one from the firm had shown up.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The is a significant site and it deserves to have proper consultation.

‘The schedule leaves very little time to take on the views of the residents.

‘They’re a big organisation so it’s hard to believe they couldn’t have sent somebody.’

McCarthy & Stone plan to turn the site of the former Savoy Hotel into a retirement home with 90 flats and a Co-op convenience store facing the seafront.

Meeting chairman, Leon Reis said: ‘A public exhibition to present the design proposals is planned for early May to which all key local stakeholders, including the East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum, will be invited.

‘It’s anticipated that the site will be developed with a single building that will comprise a mixture of both assisted living and retirement living apartments.’

Mr Reis said McCarthy & Stone planned to submit a planning application by June and hoped for planning permission to come through by August or September.

He said: ‘Should this be the case then it is expected that construction will start on site in early 2015.’

Mr Reis said the retirement home could be opened by summer 2016.

The forum also heard that the Pyramids Centre would be closed until at least August.

The strife-ridden centre on the Southsea seafront was forced to close after it flooded during storms in February.

Alan Westall, who is working for a firm which is repairing the centre, said: ‘It basically breached the sea, came straight through the road at the back of the Pyramids and into the plant room.

‘It wasn’t just a little bit of water. It literally saturated the whole building all the way through to the poolside.

‘No matter what happens we will be shut until August.’

Mr Westall said the Pyramids should be more economical to run after the repairs and would benefit from cleaner water in the pool.

He said: ‘We will have a nice, revamped sports centre.’

Mr Westall said the old View cafe at the seafront end of the building would be converted into a dance studio which could also be used as an event and wedding venue.