Harry Redknapp loses bid to ditch cheap homes in Southsea seafront development

BIG PLANS The former Savoy site in Southsea where Harry Redknapp wants to build flats
BIG PLANS The former Savoy site in Southsea where Harry Redknapp wants to build flats

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HARRY Redknapp has been sent back to the drawing board after he failed in a bid to avoid having to put affordable homes in his proposed seafront development.

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee has rejected the former Pompey manager’s suggestion that he should be allowed to drop 28 ‘cheap’ flats from a 92-apartment development at the former Savoy Buildings, on Southsea’s South Parade.

DEFEAT Harry Redknapp

DEFEAT Harry Redknapp

His firm, Pierfront Developments Ltd, told the council the economic crash meant it couldn’t afford to include the affordable homes.

But councillors rejected the argument, saying they were not responsible for the failure of Mr Redknapp’s ‘gamble’.

Lib Dem councillor Lee Hunt said: ‘We have a responsibility to provide people with housing as we promised to do.

‘There are a huge number of young people without adequate housing and we can’t let this request go through just so a developer can make a profit.

‘The company owner bought this site when the property market was booming.

‘We understand the situation’s different now, but he bought the land and sometimes gambles don’t work out.

‘We can’t make special allowances just because someone lost their bet.’

Mr Redknapp’s firm bought the site in 2006. It applied for permission to build 92 apartments, with ground floor space for cafes and restaurants.

The council rejected the plan, but Pierfront appealed to the planning inspectorate and in July 2007 won the right to build the development.

As part of the deal, in keeping with council policy, the company agreed 28 flats would be sold to a social housing firm, which could sell them at a reduced rate to first-time buyers, or other people in need of housing.

Peter Tanner, of Pierfront’s planning consultants Tanner and Tilley, told the planning committee: ‘Following the banking crisis, the social housing firm’s government funding was slashed, and it had to offer more than £1m less than had been agreed.

‘Simultaneously, Pierfront’s bank removed funding from the scheme. It’s impossible for the firm to make a profit if any affordable housing is on site.’

Tory councillor Donna Jones said: ‘The housing market will change again in the next few years.

‘They will make a profit from this.

‘All of us take calls from people in this city who are without housing.

‘The owner of the site will have to come back with a new plan. It means a delay, but we owe it to the city to do the right thing.’