'Ambitious' plans to build 440 new homes on site of Horatia House and Leamington House in Portsmouth are revealed

MORE than 400 new homes will be built in Portsmouth as part of a £120m project to replace two condemned tower blocks.

Portsmouth City Council has revealed it intends to build 440 dwellings on the site of Leamington and Horatia House, in Somers Town, which are due to be taken down.

Plans to bring the landmark blocks down were approved in February last year after work to replace Grenfell-style cladding showed their concrete was no longer safe. As a result all 272 households were moved to new homes.

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Leamington House and Horatia House aerials

It is proposed at least 272 of the new homes will be rented at a social level and priorities raised by the public during a consultation last year such as green space and the use of mixed level buildings will be taken into consideration.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council's housing boss, said: 'We need an ambitious plan for the site that not only meets the dreams of people in Somers Town and the city as a whole, but can be delivered.

'People tell us they want something better here: appropriate homes, better use of green space and the chance to improve the wider area. I also want homes that are safe and green.'

During a cabinet meeting next week (Sep 15) councillors will decide whether to proceed with taking down the existing blocks - a process that will take them apart panel by panel over the course of a year. It is thought this could start in 2021, and cost £10m.

Leamington House and Horatia House aerials

Funding for the whole scheme will then need to be considered by full council.

Cllr Sanders added: 'If my cabinet colleagues back deconstruction and my fellow councillors back the outline plan, it will be the biggest single investment in council housing for at least a generation.

'These blocks had two major projects that led to people leaving their homes twice in less than 15 years. We need homes for the long-term and I hope we can deliver that here.'

Portsmouth housing activist, Cllr Cal Corkery, welcomed the proposals but stipulated that local residents should have as much say in the plans as possible. 'I think it's good news that the project is progressing and works towards the deconstruction seems to be coming forward,' he said.

'There's an urgent need to replace the social housing that will be lost.

'The key to to the success of the site will be active engagement with the community and former residents of the buildings. I know there's been an initial consultation but I think we've got to go beyond that. I would like local residents to be elected to the project board to make sure they can have their say.'

It is planned further engagement will be held with residents.

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