New Portsmouth city centre tower block is given go-ahead

A ‘high-quality’ 22-storey building has been given the green light to be built in the city centre.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 5:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 5:10 pm
How the 22 storey block in Arundel Street could look. Picture Portsmouth City Council

During a virtual planning meeting today (September 9), a 76-flat building on the site of the Shopmobility store in Arundel Street was approved by councillors.

The ‘landmark’ building will comprise 17 one-bedroom flats, 46 two-beds and 13 three-beds. The ground floor is planned to have a coffee shop with space for bike storage, however there is no space for car parking.

The flats which have balconies will include planters on each, as well as trees within the green roof garden on the fifth level and a plant room on the roof which the council hopes will soften ‘the building visually and add further interest’.

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Councillor Hugh Mason, city development boss said: ‘This is the first project of its type in the city.

‘Generating this building allows Portsmouth City Council to deliver high-quality housing in the city centre and regeneration of the area.’

Each flat is on a build-to-rent basis, with 25 per cent counted as affordable when rented at 80 per cent of the market value.

As previously reported, the building is estimated to cost £22m with each flat costing approximately £300,000 each.

The expense was a concern for Cllr Luke Stubbs, who said: ‘While this is very good as a regeneration thing, the cost to the council is a serious issue.’

Cllr Claire Udy also expressed worries about the lack of communal space and gardens, leaving residents with no common meeting place, calling the building ‘a soulless high rise going up in the centre of town’.

Cllr Udy also questioned why the council was not taking anyone off of the council housing waiting list, adding: ‘We can’t hark on as a council about the need for people to have housing and not take them off the list.’

During the meeting, a new electrical car club, based at Station Street, was mentioned to relieve the pressure of the lack of parking. However close transport links of Portsmouth and Southsea Station and the bus interchange at Commercial Road was praised by councillors.

Eight councillors voted in favour of the application and one, Cllr Udy, against.

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