HARRY Redknapp plans to sell Southsea’s empty Savoy buildings site – prompting fears that it will be left as an eyesore until a buyer is found.
Neighbours of the seafront site are already disappointed that the land has not been developed in the five years since the former Pompey manager bought the land.
Now Mr Redknapp’s firm Pierfront Developments says it is in discussions with several buyers who have expressed an interest in building on the site, which has been in a run-down state since the derelict Joanna’s nightclub burned down in August last year.
Mr Redknapp’s representatives have always maintained that events outside their control – such as the housing market crash in 2008 and the fire – were responsible for work not beginning.
But long-suffering neighbours fear the latest twist shows Mr Redknapp has no intention of building on the site, and that it will now remain empty for longer.
Jason Parker, managing director of Bernards Estate Agents in Southsea, which is selling the land on behalf of Pierfront, said it had been seeking companies to buy or develop the site for two years.
He said: ‘The fire came as a real shock.
‘It couldn’t have come at a worse time and put redevelopment of the site back by 12 to 18 months.
‘It’s a fantastic site and it needs to be developed, but unfortunately the owner has had so much going against him.’
Ward councillor Luke Stubbs said it could now be years before building on the site is completed.
‘It is a real priority to get something built there now,’ he said. ‘The site is an eyesore and like a lot of people I was hopeful something would have been completed by now.
‘It is very disappointing it has been left in such a state.’
Planning permission was obtained to build 92 apartments on the site, in South Parade, Southsea, but the plans faltered when the recession hit.
Neighbour Ellen Ferguson, 77, of Alhambra Road, said that living next to the derelict site had made her life a living hell.
‘It’s been a nightmare,’ she said. ‘We were turfed out of our houses for days after the fire.
‘I need an oxygen tank and wasn’t even allowed to go back and get it.
‘If they had got on with developing it this would never have happened and now they are just going to walk away.
‘The whole thing is sick. It’s made me ill and we’ve had absolutely no recompense at all.
‘At the least Harry Redknapp owes us an apology.’
Leon Reis, committee member for the East Southsea Residents’ Forum, said the saga had been a disaster from beginning to end.
‘We are all subject to the market and I don’t object to anyone making money,’ he said.
‘But this company has done everything at the last minute.’