Final approval given for 134 flats at former Debenhams store in Southsea

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FINAL approval has been given for the conversion of the former Debenhams store in Southsea into 134 flats.

Portsmouth City Council's planning committee conditionally approved the scheme at the beginning of the year but delegated the decision to officers to allow the final legal agreements to be put in place.

Last week the last of these were signed off, allowing work to convert the building into housing, a GP practice and a dental surgery.

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Councillors said the scheme by developer National Regional Property Company was 'positive' and that it was 'the only option' for the future of the site.

How Debenhams in Southsea could look. Picture: National Regional Property GroupHow Debenhams in Southsea could look. Picture: National Regional Property Group
How Debenhams in Southsea could look. Picture: National Regional Property Group

'Members felt this was an improved application from when it was previously

submitted,' the minutes of their January meeting say.

'In terms of the parking there is a deficit and this needed to be weighed up in the context of its accessibility to local transport and the considerable regeneration opportunity.

'This application will help to provide accommodation to meet the targets set by government.'

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They add that the design is 'well thought out' and would 'significantly improve the area'.

The store closed in January 2020 as part of a company-wide restructure which saw the department store chain shut 22 of its outlets several months before it went into administration.

The proposals include the redevelopment of the upper four floors of the existing building into 98 flats. A new three-storey block will be built at its rear following the demolition of outbuildings, to contain 36 homes.

Provision is made for 105 parking spaces alongside the ground floor health centre.

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Shaun Adams, the chief executive of the developer, said they were 'delighted' with the scheme approved by councillors, welcoming the provision of new homes, shops and the 'health hub', which will include a GP practice and dentist.

Final planning permission was granted on November 10, allowing work to convert the building to start.

The decision notice says work has to have been started by January 28 next year 'to prevent an accumulation of unimplemented planning permissions'.

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