Plan to build new halls of residence in Portsmouth is lost on appeal

Gerald Vernon-Jackson at the election count this month Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180470-5)

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A BID to create more student accommodation in a built-up residential area has been thrown out on appeal.

Developers submitted an application to Portsmouth City Council to create a multi-storey hall of residence with 41 bedrooms on the corner of Fawcett Road and Heyward Road.

The proposal was thrown out by councillors on the planning committee last year as they felt the design was too overbearing – and a planning inspector has now decided to dismiss it following an appeal.

Reasons for the refusal, which was made on April 30, have not yet been published.

The plans included a doctor’s surgery and a pharmacy on the bottom floor.

Concerned residents previously said it would have caused huge problems with parking and they would have felt closed in.

Steve Shoesmith, of Bramble Road, welcomed the decision.

‘I am really relieved,’ he said.

‘I don’t have a problem with the students living in houses here – the ones that live next to me are fantastic.

‘But if you have got a bulk of them together like in a halls of residence, then it gets a bit difficult.

‘They need security and things like that.’

Mr Shoesmith also said halls of residence were associated with anti-social behaviour.

Similar proposals were also rejected in 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Councillor John Ferrett, Labour group leader, who had supported the application last year, said halls of residences should be turned to more in order to solve existing housing issues.

‘Clearly the planning inspector has looked at it and come to a considered position on it,’ he said.

‘However, we have a problem in terms of the number of houses in multiple occupation we have and we need to look at a solution in halls of residences.

‘If councillors continually oppose halls of residences being built, we will continue to have a problem.’

Mr Shoesmith has also welcomed the introduction of a new parking zone which means he can now find a space for his vehicle.

The scheme takes in 35 extra roads including his in Southsea.

Motorists now need a permit if they want to park between 5pm and 7pm every day – a move designed to deter students and commuters from leaving their vehicles all day.