Despite acknowledging concerns over the shadow the 12-storey building would cast over neighbouring Victoria Park, the city council's planning committee granted planning permission, praising its 'exceptional' design.
‘I've got every sympathy with the people who use the park who will find the change difficult,' councillor Judith Smyth said. ‘I hope that they would find some benefit in having further access to the new building, which then will open up that corner which isn’t used as much as the rest of the park.’
Councillor Rob New said it was ‘a great opportunity’ to develop the former Victoria swimming pool site and that he hoped the university would begin construction 'as fast as they possibly can'.
These concerns were echoed by city council parks and landscape officers who said the building would ‘reduce the quality of tranquility and refuge’ of the south western part of the park.
The building will be used to house the university's business, law and humanities departments with new teaching spaces and lecture theatres. A ‘destination’ restaurant and roof terrace will take up the top floor.
The university said the building had been designed to be sensitive in terms of its effect on the park and that it would have ‘no significant impact’.
Its vice-chancellor, Graham Galbraith, said the award of planning permission was 'fantastic news for our city and for the university’.
‘This new building will become a landmark in Portsmouth and a symbol of our city's commitment to learning and teaching,’ he said.
The university said the building would be 'net zero carbon ready' and that it expected construction to be completed in 2024.