Residents unite to protest against new student block in Portsmouth

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FRATTON residents are united in their fight against a new student block on a former social club for fear they will lose their privacy.

The proposals would see 50 student apartments built on the site of the vacant Fratton Trades Club on Fratton Road, as well as a ground floor social club and four car parking spaces.

From left, Derek McCullough, Sue Mitchell, Franny Phillips, Anita Pope, Jan Webb, Jo Dolan, Chris Woods, Jim Trimnell, Jonathan Snow and Nigel Rice. 'Picture: Sarah Standing (180827-9907)

From left, Derek McCullough, Sue Mitchell, Franny Phillips, Anita Pope, Jan Webb, Jo Dolan, Chris Woods, Jim Trimnell, Jonathan Snow and Nigel Rice. 'Picture: Sarah Standing (180827-9907)

But for the site's neighbours the most contentious issue was its proposed height which would be five storeys at its highest point, and three and two storeys in other parts.

Derek McCullough, 67, of Lucknow Street, said: 'The design of the proposed development is brutal. I see it as an assault on our neighbourhood. A matter of feet away, on the other side of my garden wall, the proposed main structure will stand five storeys erect.

'It will violate the area. This building will overlook our gardens, our kitchens, our bathrooms and our bedrooms. It will amount to an absolute invasion of privacy.'

His neighbour, Stephen Pannell, agreed. 'It would not only block out all the available daylight to my property, neighbours properties and private gardens but would destroy all our privacy too,' he said.

'This isn't even taking into account of all the noise associated with students and the unsociable hours they keep. It would be a complete and utter disaster for our local peaceful community and for Fratton area in general.'

The council's housing boss Cllr Darren Sanders said that it was important the proposed new social club could be used by local people. 'Anything that can replace a much-loved community facility is welcome,' he said.

'However, the people of Fratton deserve to know exactly how the community is going to use the space. The last thing they deserve are plans that are unclear about the future.

'It is quite far away from much of the other student accommodation that has been approved. It is much further for students to go and it does seem as if it's been proposed for students because that's going to make the most money.'

But Mark Holman from HRP Architects, which designed the plans for the developer, said: 'We have been working with the local authority for over a year on this project. Councillors and planners fully supported the application believing it was going to uplift the area and give a boost to local businesses. The design has been reduced quite significantly, it's now for five storeys rather than seven.

'Some residents commented in regard to daylight being lost but it's to the north of their road. And we carried out a survey that showed there was no affect in regard to that.

'It will have a new social club as well. The local authority was really keen to see it used for that.'

A date to vote on the plans has not yet been set.

The planning committee will discuss a separate application for an 11-storey student block on Wednesday, 14 November.

Student accommodation recently built:

- Greetham Street - 836 study bedrooms
- Earlsdon Street - 35 study bedrooms
- Guildhall Walk - 25 study bedrooms
- The Registry - 41 study bedrooms
- Zurich House - 999 study bedrooms
- Europa House - 242 study bedrooms
- Middle Street - 124 study bedrooms
- Lake Road - 30 study bedrooms
- Isambard Brunel Road - 484 study bedrooms
- Surrey Street - 576 study bedrooms
- The Trafalgar - 136 study bedrooms

Following schemes are either under construction or going through the planning process:

- Stanhope House - 256 study bedrooms
- Middle Street - 66 study bedrooms
- 10 Guildhall Walk - 65 study bedrooms
- Venture Tower - 97 study bedrooms
- Hampshire Court Hotel - 38 study bedrooms
- 35-37 Fratton Road - 50 study bedrooms