Council plans to scale back new King George V playing fields football hub in Cosham are approved

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COUNCIL plans to scale back ambitions for the proposed new football hub at the King George V in the face of budget pressures have been approved by planners.

Last month Portsmouth City Council submitted a revised planning application for the pavilion, removing several changing rooms and a store room in a bid to make the project more affordable.

The move was part of efforts to plug a multi-million pound blackhole in council finances before the end of the financial year.

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An artist's impression of the planned new pavilion on the King George V playing fields in Cosham
From council papersAn artist's impression of the planned new pavilion on the King George V playing fields in Cosham
From council papers
An artist's impression of the planned new pavilion on the King George V playing fields in Cosham From council papers

Speaking after the revised application was submitted, Steve Pitt, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and economic development, said the scheme would help resolve a shortage of artificial pitches in the city.

‘To ensure the success and affordability of this project, we’re working in partnership to ensure that any design changes don’t adversely affect the outcome of the football hub for its users and could mean that work starts early in 2023,’ he said.

However, this date was dependent on a number of conditions of the original permission being discharged to allow construction to start.

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And while planners did approve the smaller-scale building, they said more information was needed before many of these could be signed off.

‘The alterations to the scheme do not affect the quality of the design or throw the proportions out of kilter and therefore the amended scheme is considered to be in accordance with [planning policy],’ their assessment, used to approve the revised plans on Thursday (January 19) said. ‘The other matters of policy and consideration remain the same as the previous application and are therefore considered to be acceptable.’

Three of the six conditions were discharged as part of this week’s decision, but the report said more information was needed before the remainder could be signed off.

Speaking last year at a planning meeting at which the plans were discussed, Councillor Lee Hunt, said the proposals were ‘good for sports and recreation in the north of the city.’

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‘This is a massive investment into Cosham and south Paulsgrove,’ he said. ‘These are the sorts of facilities young people need: there's employment opportunity, leisure opportunity and income opportunity.’