Fate of historic villas on Portsmouth hospital site to be decided

THE FATE of two historic buildings in Portsmouth is set to be decided as part of controversial plans for a 107-home development.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 12:46 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 12:50 pm

City councillors are due consider next week whether the Victorian villas - known as Fairoak and The Beeches - on the grounds of St James' Hospital in Milton should be protected from demolition.

It comes as part of Homes England proposals for 107 new dwellings that will also require the former Harbour School and Yew House on the site to be knocked down.

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Fairoak Villa in the grounds of St James' Hospital is set to be demolished

Since the scheme was first made public in 2018 it has sparked more than 300 objections from residents, campaign groups and politicians with concerns over an increase in traffic, pressure on local infrastructure and the loss of the villas.

Now objectors are arguing for the villas to be grated curtilage listing due to their proximity to the Grade-II listed hospital and chapel.

In an objection council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'The demolition and loss the villas will remove a vital part of the history of site and compromise its listing.'

Janice Burkinshaw, on behalf of the Milton Neighbourhood Forum, added: 'Each removal of historic buildings such as these, reduce the architectural heritage in Portsmouth of which so much has been lost already and diminish any prospect of capitalising on our Victorian past.'

The Beeches Villa in the grounds of St James' Hospital

However, a spokesman for Homes England said a heritage impact statement has been provided as part of plans.

They said: 'We have worked closely with the local community and local stakeholders to propose a sensitive scheme recognising concerns while at the same time bringing forward a vacant site to deliver much needed new homes, including family homes and affordable housing, in Portsmouth.'

The scheme comes as part of a wider project for the hospital land, which includes 230 homes for the main hospital site provided by PJ Livesey and a 66-bed care home in the south of the site provided by LNT Care Development.

How the homes set to be built on the former site of villas in the grounds of St James' Hospital could look. Picture: Homes Agency

Recently it was revealed the 230 homes plan would provide no affordable houses.

Homes England confirmed 30 per cent of the 170 dwellings would be affordable.

A decision on the villas will be made at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, March 30. Permission for the whole 170 homes scheme has yet to be considered.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The whole of the St James' Hospital site, which is set to be used for two housing developments and one new care home, from above. Picture: Paul Jacobs

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