Fraser Range: 134 home plan for former naval gunnery site is approved despite concerns

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Plans to transform Fraser Range in Eastney into a development of 134 homes have been given the go-ahead.

Orangestar Capital Limited has been granted planning permission to redevelop the former naval gunnery site, which will include 116 flats, 18 houses, 196 parking spaces, improved access roads, a coastal walkway, sea defences, public open space, and significant infrastructure investment for the council.

However, the development will not include any affordable housing – homes sold or let below market rate. Planning agent Alan Pierce justified this decision on viability grounds, stressing the “substantial benefits” the project brings to Portsmouth.

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He highlighted the costs associated with the sea defence works, coastal walkway, and other contributions, will exceed £18.5 million. This includes £13million for sea walls and defences, £2.6million for the coastal walkway, and a £2.65million Community Infrastructure Levy contribution to the council.

Fraser Range panoramaFraser Range panorama
Fraser Range panorama

The plans, submitted earlier this year, have faced backlash from local residents, including users of a nearby naturist beach but despite this were granted unanimously by Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee.

Councillor Matthew Winnington, noted that 50 of his Eastney and Craneswater ward residents opposed the project while only five supported it. Concerns raised include traffic congestion, impact on birds and wildlife, the absence of affordable housing, and the effect on the naturist beach.

Fellow ward Councillor Peter Candlish acknowledged both the potential harms and benefits of the project. He pointed out the intangible loss of “solitude and quietness,” which he said is rare in the city and which the far end of Eastney currently offers – a sentiment echoed by the naturist community.

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However, he also noted the necessity of the sea defences and the improved beach access the development would bring, though recognising there would be a loss of utility for some groups. Fraser Range was used to train The Royal Navy throughout the Cold War as a gunnery until it closed in the 1980s and became an Admiralty Research Establishment.

The location is bounded to the northwest by a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), to the north by Fort Cumberland (a Scheduled Ancient Monument), to the east by The Solent, to the south by Eastney Beach, and to the west by the Southsea Leisure Park.