12-storey University of Portsmouth building in Victoria Park is given the go-ahead

WORK on a new £135m University of Portsmouth teaching facility could begin as soon as the spring after councillors unanimously approved the project.

‘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.’

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How the new University of Portsmouth building next to Victoria Park will look Picture: FCBS

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'.

Opposition to the project was led by Friends of Victoria Park which it would lead to harm the city ‘could not afford’ by increasing shadow cover over the park.

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.

A diagram of the shadow that would be cast over Victoria Park by the new university building proposed for the site of the old swimming baths in Anglesea Road, Portsmouth

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.

A night-time impression of the new building, looking east down Anglesea Road Picture: FCBS
Victoria Park in Portsmouth Picture: Neil @ www.skymarinerdrone.com