Bid launched to extend Hippodrome House in Portsmouth upwards by two storeys

TWO extra storeys could be added to a prominent city centre building if new plans are approved.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:44 pm

Guildhall Walk Ltd has submitted plans for the extension to Hippodrome House which, it said, would ‘reinstate the grandeur’ of the theatre that stood on the site until it was destroyed in a Blitz bombing raid in January 1941.

Hippodrome House is an office block that was built in the early 1980s.

The new floors would be used to house 13 flats, bringing the total number to 58 after Portsmouth City Council approved the conversion of the existing floors last year.

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A CGI of what Hippodrome House in Portsmouth would look like should the two extra storeys be built

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The developer had originally drawn up plans for a three-storey addition to the building but scaled this back on the advice of council planning officer Germaine Asabere.

‘There has been a resistance on the part of the local planning authority to grant permission for the conversion of the building or parts of it to residential use,' he said. 'However, the grant of planning permission [for a single storey extension and the conversion] set precedent that residential use at the application site is deemed acceptable.’

He added that the original proposal was 'at least a floor too high' and would 'result in a poor relationship with the immediate neighbouring buildings and would appear overly dominant'.

The former Hippodrome Theatre Picture: Barry Cox collection

The approved conversion of the building has yet to be carried out.

A statement submitted with the application says the new proposals would improve its appearance.

'This will seek to enhance the overall aesthetics of the building and give new vibrancy to a building and look to improve the overall quality of the development,’ it says. ‘With a nod to the historical links the site has, we are proposing to reinstate a building within the city skyline with the same prominence and grandeur that was created by the former Hippodrome theatre.'

It adds that the developer is in the process of assessing the viability of providing some of the flats on an affordable basis.

'The additional proposed development falls in line with other developments in the vicinity and, with much of the city centre undergoing a major facelift and the everchanging landscape, we believe the development is a thoughtful and considerate one,' it adds.

The application will be considered by council planning officers in the coming weeks.