Developers walk away from £5m hotel rejuvenation

DESIGNS The Portland Hotel
DESIGNS The Portland Hotel
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Beachbuggin on Southsea Common. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Organisers of Southsea BeachBuggin’ hope to resurrect event

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THE owners of a historic Southsea hotel say they will walk away from a £5m redevelopment after being partly refused planning permission.

The Portland Hotel is owned by British Virgin Island-based Portland Hotel Ltd. It is a Grade II listed building on Kent Road in Southsea, which has been derelict for around three decades.

The firm applied for planning permission to return the building to its former glory as a boutique hotel, and to turn its former back car park, on Tonbridge Road, into a coffee shop with three storeys of flats above.

Councillors approved the boutique hotel plan, and the associated change of use and listed building permissions, but decided to refuse permission for the flats.

Despite the applications being presented to the council separately, Daniel Friel, speaking on behalf of the hotel’s owners, said the refusal means the development as a whole will not now go ahead.

He added the regeneration was likely to have created 100 jobs locally, which will now not be available.

He said: ‘It was presented to the council that these applications were inter-related, and we said that to the councillors.’

The council refused the application for the flats on the grounds that they would be ‘incongruous and cramped’ compared to other buildings nearby, which are in the Owen’s Conservation Area.

It was also refused on the grounds that residents in nearby Portland Terrace and Portland Court would have lost light and be overlooked by the flats development, which would also include a coffee shop on its ground floor, exiting onto Tonbridge Street.

Mr Friel added: ‘In taking this decision, the local councillors were fully aware that this investment and these jobs would be lost if they rejected the proposal. Unfortunately, for Southsea, this is the decision they decided to take.’

Ward councillor Peter Eddis said there was no need for the developers to walk away.

He said: ‘They very easily could amend the application and it could pass.

‘We had no objection to the development of the hotel itself, but the flats development would be too overbearing for the residents living nearby.’