Neighbours and council clash over plans to remove boat ramp from historic Portsmouth home

AN APPEAL has been launched over the decision of Portsmouth City Council to oppose the removal of a home's boat ramp to make way for a new living room.

George Pounds, who owns The Boathouse in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, applied in early 2021 for permission for the works in a bid to make the building more secure and energy efficient.

'The current opening to the inner Camber, whilst clearly related to its function as a boat store, is not secure and the green tarpaulin hung within it, whilst functional, is not attractive,' a statement submitted by his planning agent Achieve says.

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Broad Street in Old Portsmouth Picture: Google

'The fitting of an attractive white, powder-coated roller-shutter will be true to the building’s original industrial function, yet also harmonise with the colour finish of the external walls of the building.'

The application proposed levelling off the boat ramp to replace it with a retractable version, creating more living space in the home and giving it a more permanent entrance.

But council planning officers accused the agent of 'downplaying' the significance of the changes to the building, which is locally listed.

'These comments suggest the scheme would be minor, or relatively inconsequential in its impact, they implicitly downplay or "sets aside” both the significance of the assets affected and the impact of the proposal,' the report refusing planning permission said. 'For this reason, they are considered, from a conservation perspective, to be less balanced and convincing than the proposal demands, and the area justifies.'

It said the work would cause a 'high' level of harm to the character of the building and its surrounding area.

Neighbour Robert Edge criticised the decision, saying the redevelopment of the boatramp would help reduce the risk of flooding in the area.

'The effect of [this] would have been to block off the slipway and to take away the risk of flooding completely,' he said. 'I supported the application because I saw nothing in it to be worthy of objection and to attempt to bring my concerns about flooding to an end.'

The Environment Agency and Coastal Partners were consulted about the application and said the risk of flooding would remain at a similar level.