TWO new tower blocks will create a ‘vibrant’ destination for Portsmouth city centre.
Proposals for an 18-storey block with 147 flats and a 19-storey Hilton hotel have been given the go-ahead by councillors on an unoccupied site opposite Portsmouth and Southsea train station.
The hotel tower, which will be built next to Catherine House on Stanhope Road, will offer 222 rooms and also be home to offices, a sky bar and a basement car park.
Known as Portsmouth Point, the project was brought to a planning committee by developers THAT Group.
At the committee meeting, Peter Tisdale from THAT Group, said: ‘We purchased this site a couple of years ago from Knightsbridge Student Housing. It was always our intention to build a hotel. However, we thought there was the option for more than just a hotel.
‘We think it will create a very vibrant destination and I think we will do a very good job of bringing it forward.’
Councillor Lynne Stagg was hopeful about what it could mean for Portsmouth. She said: ‘This is about transforming the city centre which really needs to be a place where a large number of people live. Schemes like this are a part of bringing about that transformation.’
However, Labour council member, Cllr Judith Smyth, had some concerns. She added: ‘I am particularly disappointed that the 147 apartments will not be affordable housing. I hope this doesn’t become a precedent.
‘However, I do think this is an excellent building and it would be a welcome investment.’
Speaking outside the meeting, regeneration boss at the council, Cllr Ben Dowling, said: ‘It is really positive to bring into the city centre. This will improve our conference offer as a city as well as increasing the likelihood of visitors from London.
‘It is a shame we have not got affordable housing in this investment but they are still homes that are being built for local people which is a positive thing. I hope we will see more affordable housing being built in the future though.’ Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the towers. It has not been decided when building work will begin.