Retirement flats will be built at old Hampshire Car Sales site in Drayton after Portsmouth City Council loses planning appeal

THE decision of Portsmouth City Council to refuse permission for a four-storey retirement complex on the site of a car dealership in Drayton has been overturned at appeal.

By Josh Wright
Friday, 29th July 2022, 4:55 am

Government-appointed planning inspector Stephen Wilkinson issued the decision this week, saying that because the council was behind on its house-building - and because it had identified the Hampshire Car Sales land in Havant Road for housing in 2006 - that it was acceptable.

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'I accord significant weight to the provision of additional housing and specialist accommodation, especially given the council’s housing land supply position of 3.8 years [below the target of five years],' his report said.

Churchill Retirement Living has won a planning appeal and has been granted planning permission to build 54 independent living retirement apartments at the old Hampshire Car Sales site in Havant Road, Drayton

'I also accord significant weight to the redevelopment of an existing site which lies in relative close proximity to shops and services.'

He dismissed the argument that the scheme would lead to the loss of employment land as the dealership had already secured land to relocate to.

Submitted by Churchill Retirement Living, the application proposed 54 age-restricted flats across four floors.

The scheme drew significant opposition, including from Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt who said retirement flats were 'harmful' to both their occupants and the wider community.

‘Havant Road already has a number of retirement developments of this type clustered in one area and it is my view that poor strategic planning on the part of the local authority has allowed this to happen,' she said. 'It is resulting in a number of poorly designed retirement properties which do not provide the individual purchasing them with a quality of life they should expect in their older age.’

She said these developments were ‘not fit for purpose’ as they ‘exacerbate’ issues of isolation and loneliness and ‘strain’ key services.

The planning application was rejected by the council in December and was immediately appealed by the developer.

It had welcomed the decision to allow its appeal, saying the scheme ‘would bring a thriving new community’ to the area and estimated it would free up more than 100 homes in the city.

Stuart Goodwill, the managing director of Churchill’s planning consultancy, said construction would being ‘as soon as possible’.

‘Retirement housing is the most effective form of residential development for generating local economic growth, supporting local jobs and increasing high street spend,’ he said. ‘The new apartments will also help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there and meet the housing needs of many older people in Drayton and the surrounding area.'