Bid to build flats behind old Southsea hotel is denied yet again

PLEASED Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
PLEASED Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
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PLANS for a four-storey development behind Southsea’s former Portland Hotel have once again been turned down by councillors.

As previously reported, PLC Architects wanted to build flats with a coffee shop in Tonbridge Street, but it was rejected because the appearance of the building did not fit in with the surroundings.

Yesterday, Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee considered a revised bid which included a health clinic instead of a coffee shop.

But it was thrown out yet again because the look of the building wasn’t any different to last time.

Leader of the council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson blasted the application and said it was a good example of why there needed to be more restrictions imposed on developers who just thought they could push things through.

‘This committee made a decision last time to reject the plans, and this is almost exactly the same application,’ he said. Therefore, we have to stick to what we decided. This will hopefully push the need for additional restrictions on developers. It is such a bad application.’

It was revealed that the owners had the opportunity to enter a joint application as part of its plans to bring the hotel back into use, but didn’t take up that offer. Council officers recommended the proposal be refused.

Yet Cllr Ken Ellcome, seconded by Cllr Jacqui Hancock, supported it because they felt it would help to rejuvenate a road which is in decline.

‘I respect the views of my colleagues, but this area is a mess,’ said Cllr Ellcome.

‘There was something on this site in the 1940s, but at the moment it’s full of mess and debris.

‘Yes, you could clear it up but you would be doing that forever.’

Councillors also felt the development, being only 17m away from Portland Terrace, was too imposing.

A resident who lives in the road told the committee: ‘Parking is already an issue in the area. I am not sure that if a medical centre was put there, how that would be covered.

‘There are already surgeries in the surrounding area.

‘What would stop it becoming a coffee shop later on?’