Plans for new hovercraft office in Southsea given go-ahead

A NEW two-storey office block will be built along Southsea seafront as part of plans to 'showcase' the hovercraft.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:28 pm

Proposals for a temporary building – that will serve as an extension to the existing ‘low’ two-storey Hovertravel terminal – have been unanimously approved by Portsmouth councillors.

The structure will be joined to the rear of the terminal on part of the shingle beach and will feature the colours red and blue to match the rest of the site.

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The Hovercraft terminal in Southsea pictured from the front on 15.04.21

It is set to provide office space for Griffon Hoverwork for up to five years, allowing them to brief potential hovercraft clients on the site of the operating hovercraft.

Speaking at a virtual planning meeting, Councillor Lee Hunt, said: 'It seems to me we should be pleased to welcome people to Portsmouth from Southampton.

'This is all part of Portsmouth's increasing maritime industry including the Ben Ainslie building and the cruise ships coming to the harbour.'

Cllr Donna Jones agreed. 'I think this will be a real asset to Portsmouth,' she said.

'I think it will draw people to Portsmouth to see some of the exhibitions they want to put on.

'In terms of the design, as it's proposed to be temporary I see no objection at all.'

However, at the meeting an objection from one of the owners of the neighbouring Clarence Pier, Jill Norman, was shared.

She said: 'Whilst in principal we have no objection to this as it can hardly make it look any worse than it has done for the last 20 years, we believe that now is time for Portsmouth City Council to impose certain conditions to this application that will protect neighbouring properties.

'We are concerned that at no time has Portsmouth City Council ever considered or imposed conditions to protect our property which has been grit-blasted continually since the last time this company objected to the landing pad being enlarged to cater for larger craft in 2006.'

But a spokesman for Griffon Hoverwork said: 'The pier company's deputation raises a matter of sand and grit and is not related to the proposed temporary building.'

The new offices were granted temporary permission for five years in anticipation of sea defence works being carried out in the future.

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