Objections to Portchester tower plan

An artist's impression of the Portchester plan
An artist's impression of the Portchester plan

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FAREHAM Borough Council is to lodge a formal objection to plans for a massive new development on its border with Portsmouth at Portchester.

The Trafalgar Wharf development on the former Vosper Thornycroft shipyard off Southampton Road will include a 12-storey block, up to 164 new homes, cafes and restaurants and 200,000sq ft of marine buildings for local businesses.

The council has raised a number of concerns, including worries about road safety, the risk of flooding and the possible negative impact on businesses in the nearby district centre.

It is also concerned about the impact of the 147ft tower block – particularly fears it will overshadow nearby Portchester Castle and the Castle Street conservation area – a worry that Portchester Civic Society had previously flagged up.

Ward councillor Roger Price said: ‘I entirely support what the council is saying – there are a number of issues we’re concerned about.

‘It’s interesting to read in the report that Portsmouth has areas in which it will encourage high rises, and this isn’t one of them. For that reason alone it should be refused.

‘It’s totally out of keeping with that area to have such a high rise block.

‘The density of the development is pretty high too. It’s all very crammed in. I imagine that’s being done by the developers to get the value out of the land.

‘The amount of traffic coming out onto the main road could also cause problems.’

As part of the scheme, developers Quadrant Estates will give £3.1m to the Environment Agency to construct new flood defences from the castle around to Port Solent.

But Fareham’s report said that the current proposal is lacking in details that would guarantee the success of the defences. It wants to see a separate flood risk assessment compiled to look at the matter.

In its application, Quadrant has warned that if the height of the tower block was to be reduced, sales would be lower, and it would therfore have less money to contribute to flood defences.

No date has so far been set for it to go before Portsmouth’s planning committee. If the plan is given permssion, Quadrant hopes to start work on the site by early 2014.