Plans for 260 new homes on Kingston Prison site in Portsmouth are approved

AFTER years of disuse the site of a Victorian prison in Portsmouth will be redeveloped into more than 260 new homes, despite the pleas of residents.

By Fiona Callingham
Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 6:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 7:49 pm
Kingston Prison in Milton Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180837-1409)
Kingston Prison in Milton Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180837-1409)

At a lengthy planning committee meeting today councillors approved a £49m scheme that will see Kingston Prison in Milton Road regenerated into 76 dwellings, with a further 191 built in the grounds.

The site will also have a shop and cafe or restaurant and 347 parking spaces.

Developers City and Country, who have owned the prison land since 2013, plan to work alongside Vivid Homes which will provide 183 of the 267 homes as affordable with potential for some to be social depending on what grants are available.

Permission had already been given for 230 homes on the site in 2016, however a viability assessment ruled City and Country would not be financially able to build affordable homes.

For councillors it was key approval was only granted this time around if affordable homes were provided.

Speaking at the meeting Tory councillor Donna Jones said: 'This is a large scale planning application, one of the largest we have got at the moment, with no requirement for social housing at all.

'There's an application to Homes England from Vivid and City and Country but if that application for social housing falls through we are effectively granting permission for 267 private dwellings.'

Vivid confirmed that so far a grant had been secured for affordable housing on the site.

But for residents it was more an issue of infrastructure and air quality.

Rod Bailey, of Godwit Road, said: 'We have already got a very busy highway network. On a weekday evening traffic is queuing north of Milton bridge not just to the prison site but beyond the roundabout.

'There are already high levels of air pollution in that area, 50 metres away is the council's air quality management area nine. This development as it stands creates a site where we can get to unlawful levels of pollution.'

Fears about increased traffic were met by the council's head of transport, Cllr Lynne Stagg, who added: 'I am seriously worried about the fact that area is an accident waiting to happen. I was the accident that actually happened.

'I came over the bridge one day which is completely blind and there was a massive queue of traffic ahead. I just managed to stop by slamming my foot on the brakes. But the delivery van behind me couldn't stop and pushed me into the car in front which wrote my car off.'

Councillors voted in favour of the plans with concerns they could lose out on affordable homes otherwise.

Speaking outside the meeting Richard Winsborough, director of planning at City and Country, said: 'We are delighted that Portsmouth City Council has taken the decision to grant the planning permission this afternoon.  This allows us to take the next important step in breathing life back into this historic building. 

'We’re looking forward to working with Vivid Homes who will be delivering a large proportion of this site as affordable housing.'

It is planned work will begin this summer.