Former Portsmouth bingo hall is set to be turned into flats and shops
COUNCILLORS are set to rubber-stamp the part-demolition of a former bingo hall in North End.
The Victorian building on Kingston Road could be replaced by shops and homes if the application is approved by Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee next week.
Developers are proposing to convert the ex-Crown Bingo hall and former cinema on Kingston Road into shops and 10 homes with bicycle storage and car parking.
If the application is successful part of the hall will be demolished, although councillors are keen that the building’s facade left intact.
Chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Hugh Mason, said: ‘Due to the ever changing nature of entertainment and retail it is sensible to redesign this site for all these uses. I am pleased to see that it will be used for dwellings in view of the need for housing in this city.
‘We have to make the best of the building. I am also very pleased that the need to preserve the facade of the bingo hall has been recognised.
‘Bingo halls are now a thing of the past as are large shops.
‘I think we will need a variety of shops in there.’
Council officers have recommended that the application is conditionally approved meaning that certain guidelines will have to be followed, such as providing parking spaces for residents only.
Michael Thornhill was one of four members of the public who objected to the plans.
The St Stephens Road resident said: ‘This area is already over-run with new builds and the current parking situation is not viable leading to dangerous and often illegal parking on a daily basis.
‘I suggest that at the least the house is not built.
‘Is eight flats not enough profit already? Or better still flatten the entire hall and put in a residents-only car parking area.’
Cllr Mason said: ‘Issues such as parking will be examined at the committee meeting but it must be recognised that throughout the city parking is a problem.
‘This needs to be fully recognised as a national problem,’ he said.
The building, originally known as Shaftesbury Hall, first opened in 1890 and became a cinema 20 years later.
‘In 1975 it was fully converted to a bingo hall which was used until 2014. The building hasn’t been used since.
The decision will be made at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.