Traffic issues raised as plans submitted to convert former Portsmouth naval range into new housing
AVERTING traffic problems is a major priority if 134 new homes are to be built on an historic Eastney site, a Portsmouth councillor has said.
Military landmark Fraser Range is one step closer to being redeveloped into a mix of homes after a formal planning application was submitted.
If approved the former Royal Navy gunnery will be part demolished and part converted with additional buildings constructed in the grounds to create 108 apartments and 26 houses.
Developers, the National Regional Property Group, also intend to construct new sea defences and walkway, access road parking and a garden.
Last February the plans were shared with residents at public consultation events, with 88 per cent of 90 survey respondents stating that they were in favour of the proposals.
But Eastney representative Councillor Matthew Winnington was concerned that a lack of infrastructure could cause issues in the future. 'Whatever happens we have to get the infrastructure right,' he said.
'There's only one road in and one road out so we've got to make sure it's not going to cause traffic problems. And then they need to consider cycle paths and space for pedestrians.'
Cllr Winnington called the plans to be heard at a committee 'to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say.'
He said: 'This is a really major development for the whole city. And for Eastney in particular I think it is really important that this is considered in front of a committee. It's key that not only do all the councillors on the committee get to have their say on this but also residents as well.
'There's a lot that has to be right for this development to work for Eastney.
The site had previously been earmarked for development by a company called Qinetiq, which then fell through.
Cllr Winnington added: 'Under the previous owners the site did attract anti-social behaviour as there wasn't the right kind of security there. This has definitely been improved under the new owners and I think they have shown with their plans that they have got the interests of the community in mind, but this will have to be decided by the committee.
'Previous plans by Qinetiq were controversial as they involved large tower blocks. But this does look better than what they were offering.'
Shaun Adams, the chief executive of National Regional Property Group, said they would be working closely with Portsmouth City Council.
'We are happy to play our role to ensure that Eastney gets the investment, infrastructure and opportunity for the quality sustainable development that it needs,' he said.
'Sadly, since its closure over 10 years ago, the site has fallen into significant disrepair and become a target for persistent anti-social behaviour. Our plan is to support the next evolution of the site, which will regenerate the area and bring forward much-needed housing for the city as well as vital sea defences.'
Members of the council's planning committee will vote on the application at a future meeting.