Developer picked to take on St James' Hospital reveals plans

St James' Hospital in Milton, Portsmouth. Picture: Paul Porter
St James' Hospital in Milton, Portsmouth. Picture: Paul Porter
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DEVELOPERS set to take over at St James’ Hospital have insisted they will put listed buildings ‘at the heart’ of proposals for homes.

Specialist developer The PJ Livesey Group has today been announced as winning the bid for the 25-acre site put on the market by NHS Property Services last year.

Director James Woodmansee said the firm will work with Portsmouth City Council. Listed buildings will be preserved but some parts of the site may be demolished.

The site was marketed as suitable for 300 homes but council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he would not support this.

Details from PJ Livesey included:

:: The Grade-II listed 1878 hospital buildings, including administration building and wings, would be ‘at the heart’ of any plan.

:: The Grade-II listed chapel could be opened for community use.

:: Parkland will be ‘enhanced’, with the cricket pitch retained.

:: A new-build care home by another developer.

Speaking to The News, Mr Woodmansee said: ‘We’re only in the early discussions of the planning stage.

‘But we think this could be a real opportunity for Portsmouth and especially first-time buyers.

‘We see the listed buildings as remarkable assets, and want to keep the trees and natural environment.’

In a statement he added: ‘This is an opportunity to redefine residential development within Portsmouth, providing unrivalled new homes on a scale that can make a real difference to the mix available, making the best use of a brownfield site and securing a long-term future for a significant range of listed buildings.’

A consultation will be held at a venue yet to be confirmed on July 17 2.30pm-7.30pm.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘What the NHS sold this on was the basis that it's a huge space for development.

‘Our council planners have been very clear that they won’t support that.

‘We won’t give planning permission for most of what the NHS proposed could be done with the site.’

Mr Woodmansee added: ‘We will be interspersing new builds with the old complex.

‘Some workshops and other small parts of the site could be demolished, but we want to preserve as many of the old buildings as possible, while striking a balance with green spaces.’

NHS Property Services said the firm had ‘specialist expertise and experience’.