Hall and Scout hut in Portsmouth will be demolished to make way for six homes

A CHURCH hall, Scout hut and vicarage in the city will be demolished to make way for six family homes.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 11:52 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 3:20 pm
Youth groups and users of St Nicholas Church in North End protest at plans to knock down the vicarage and church hall for re-developement. (l to r front), Martin Lewis and Liam Buckland of 61st Portsmouth Scouts pictured last year. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180925-1_church)

Despite fierce objections from local residents, proposals for a new housing development on half of the St Nicholas Church site in Battenburg Avenue and Compton Road, North End, were approved today.

Councillors sitting on Portsmouth City Council's planning committee discussed concerns over lack of parking and the loss of Scout facilities, however ruled any refusal they made would only be overturned by a government inspector if appealed.

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Resident Martin Hooper, who lives opposite the site, attended the meeting to protest that just one car parking space will be provided for each home. He said: 'We have lived in Compton Road for 38 years. We live directly opposite the proposed development.

'We have one car and no driveway. Over the last five years I can name six neighbours who have moved in and of these five have two vehicles and only two shared drives between them. From this short survey I would say most people moving into Compton Road have two vehicles.'

Due to the plans the 61st Portsmouth Scouts - who were using Compton Hall for meetings and Scout hut for storage - disbanded this year with some members joining the 104th Scouts in Hilsea.

Martin Lewis, Compton Road resident and former leader of the 61st Scouts, said: 'We had to move the boys up to the Scout hall in Hilsea.

'But some weren't able to come. Some have certain needs and are disabled.

'We are still the legal owner of the Scout hut.'

Councillor Lee Hunt proposed a refusal due to over-development and inadequate parking on the site, however, he was not seconded.

Cllr Luke Stubbs said: 'The reality of it is if the application had been for 20 flats and no parking, given our situation with land supply if we had refused it and it went to appeal I think the chance of that application passing would be quite high.'

However, the plans could still be amended to include a footpath providing access between Battenburg Avenue and Compton Road if an existing path there is ruled to be a right of way by the council at a future point.

The land is owned by St Nicholas Church, which will use funds from the development to create a new community centre.

Four councillors voted in favour of the proposal, two against and one abstained.