Portsmouth office block the Connect Centre could become more than 140 flats

A PROMINENT office building in Portsmouth could be transformed into more than 140 new homes.

By Fiona Callingham
Monday, 12th April 2021, 10:00 pm

Plans have been submitted to convert the Connect Centre in Kingston Crescent, North End, into 149 self-contained flats.

If approved, floors one to nine would be used for the accommodation with the upper and lower ground floors used for refuge and parking.

It is proposed 149 car parking spaces, plus 16 visitor spaces, and storage for 172 bikes would be included.

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The Connect Centre Picture: Keith Woodland (120420-17)

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In a planning statement made by Pegasus Group, on behalf of applicants Connect Centre Ltd, it said: 'The proposed flats are to be located through the conversion of the existing office floorspace (first to ninth floors) and therefore each flat will benefit from the existing windows of the building.

'Overall, it has been demonstrated the proposals accommodate a suitable level of parking and the application site is within a sustainable location and in close proximity to services and facilities.

'The Connect Centre benefits from existing safe vehicular access and the transport statement identifies the proposals will not lead to an unacceptable impact on highway safety, nor would the impact on the highway network be severe.'

The planning notice Picture: Keith Woodland (120420-12)

Of the proposed 149 flats, 67 will be one-bedroom flats and 82 will be studio flats.

However, some of the studio flats could be below the national space standard of 37 square metres - using a loophole that exempts office conversions.

Recently the developers of former office block Brunel House, in Portsea, faced criticism for creating 'rabbit-hutch' flats significantly smaller than 37 sq m.

Just one objection to the application has been raised by a member of the public.

In a letter to the council, North End resident Adam Phillimore said: 'My girlfriend lives on Bevis Road and this building overlooks her garden. Currently this isn't much of an issue as the office block is only used Monday to Friday.

'If this building is converted into flats then her garden would be overlooked 24/7, she has three young children as do many of the homes on this side of Bevis Road.'

The site received approval in 2013 to provide up to 90 flats.

Pegasus Group was approached for comment.

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