Controversial bid for tower blocks in Southsea given the go ahead

CONTENTIOUS plans to build two blocks of flats in an already-congested area of Southsea have been given the green light.

Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 6:00 am
A street view of Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, where the flats are planned  Picture: Google
A street view of Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, where the flats are planned Picture: Google

The decision to allow First Wessex to create 70 flats on an industrial site in Goldsmith Avenue comes despite fears existing residents already feel ‘under siege’ by a rise in development.

Concerns over parking and the fact the new buildings – six-storeys at their highest point – will be seen from people’s back gardens in Orchard Road were raised.

The blocks will come with 49 car parking spaces which planning officers believe is sufficient. Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee said there is a need for more social housing.

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But Lib Dem councillor Lee Hunt said: ‘People who live nearby bought their houses as they were and not knowing that those tower blocks would come along straight into their back gardens.

‘The area needs development but residents want similar properties for people to live in, we do not want huge blocks of flats.

‘These flats are not typical of the area and the style goes against the properties that are already there.

‘This ward already has 12,000 people living in it. How many more people can we cram into Portsmouth?

‘It will inevitably put increases of pressure on people living in Orchard Road.’

The western block will contain 34 flats made up of seven one-bed, 26 two-bed and one two-bed ‘mobility’ apartments. The second block will have 36 flats – six one-bed, 28 two-bed, one three-bed and one one-bed ‘mobility flat’.

John Waterfield, of First Wessex, said it had received more than £1m to fund the scheme.

He said: ‘We have extensive experience of housing people on low income.

‘We have managed housing development in Portsmouth and Southsea for many years. We are providing houses close to affordable services, transport links and shops.

‘There is a growing need for social housing in Portsmouth.’

Tory councillor Scott Harris led backing for the proposal and was supported by Cllr Linda Symes.