FURTHER concerns have been raised about whether a tower block will fit into a town centre after a council brought in design experts.
Havant Borough Council used urban design consultants to look at the proposals for the 13-storey tower next to Havant Railway Station.
It comes as developers are looking at a potential £40m revamp of Market Parade over the next few years, including new shops and restaurants, a gym and a new gateway to Havant from the railway station.
Developer Hampshire and Regional Property Group has proposed to build 130 flats with six large shops on the ground floor as the first phase.
But a report prepared by Studio REAL for the council stresses Havant’s historic character and points out that modern developments such as North Street Parade and the Meridian Centre ‘should not be considered as appropriate precedents’.
The report adds: ‘A stronger reference to context would help the integration of the building in Havant’s townscape.
‘The proposed scheme and design rational doesn’t demonstrate an appreciation and response to the diverse character of streets and buildings along its edges.
‘The building is monolithic.
‘All elevations are similar in style and design, varying only in height. This is a strong contrast to the fine-grained character of the market town.’
As reported previously, an inspector at government body Historic England said the apartment block was too high for Havant.
Havant Civic Society has also written to the council to object.
Christopher Evans, a committee member of the society, said: ‘Havant may be the administrative centre for a borough with a population of some 125,000, but in essence it is still a small and small-scale town.
‘It is not Basingstoke; it is more akin to Andover and Fareham.
‘This proposed scheme is totally out of proportion with the rest of the town centre, where the tallest buildings to date are the Meridian Centre and St Faith’s Church.’
A planning report prepared by the developer says: ‘The proposal of a tall building reaching up to 13 storeys in height is considered acceptable given the close proximity to sustainable transport modes and the town centre location.’
Councillor David Guest, who heads regeneration, said the development would be considered on its merits by councillors at a forthcoming planning meeting.
He said: ‘We want to do the right thing for the town and make sure we get something really attractive.’