Residents' fury after fight to save wall in Southsea fails

FURIOUS residents have told of their disappointment after councillors approved disputed plans for a wall to be built around a new set of retirement flats.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:56 pm
A CGI of the new McCarthy & Stone retirement housing on South Parade, Southsea

McCarthy & Stone, which is redeveloping the site of the former Savoy buildings in Southsea, which were once owned by Harry Redknapp, has been at loggerheads with locals over the plans since May.

The row began after the firm ripped down the previous wall without the permission of neighbouring homeowners living in Alhambra Road.

Resident John O’Driscoll opposed the action, claiming the wall was on land that he and his wife owned and that the national firm had no right to tear it down.

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The wall at the back of Alhambra Road, Southsea, which was taken down by McCarthy and Stone

Speaking at the city council’s planning committee meeting yesterday, Mr O’Driscoll urged councillors to force McCarthy & Stone to rebuild the boundary wall ‘like for like’.

But despite warnings of ‘impending legal action’ over the ownership of the wall, the committee rejected Mr O’Driscoll’s claims and approved plans for a new, smaller boundary to be built.

After the meeting, Mr O’Driscoll said: ‘It’s just not right. We were on holiday when McCarthy & Stone kicked the wall down without saying anything. We were furious.’

His wife Patricia added: ‘A company like that think they can get away with murder. It’s so frustrating how they act with people.’

The wall at the back of Alhambra Road, Southsea, which was taken down by McCarthy and Stone

But during the meeting, agent Andy Burns stressed the wall had been replaced ‘like for like’, with similar brick colours and height.

Councillor Lynne Stagg did, however, say the wall was slightly shorter than the previous one and appealed to the firm’s ‘better nature’ to rectify this.

Councillor Ken Ellcome said: ‘What was there before was a shabby mish-mash of materials and replacing it with fresh new materials is a good thing.’

But Lib Dem councillor Lee Hunt had his reservations and said as the wall was in a conservation area it should never have come down.

‘Whether it was shabby or not I can’t say,’ he said. ‘But what I do know is that residents are cross about it and I don’t blame them for that.’