Victoria Park: New Portsmouth community centre approved despite university concerns

PLANS to build a community centre at Victoria Park have been approved, despite Portsmouth University 'concerns' the impact on its proposals for a neighbouring site had not been properly examined.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 4:25 pm
Victoria Park in Portsmouth Picture: Neil @ www.skymarinerdrone.com

In a letter sent to the city council last week, a planning agent representing the university said it was 'disappointed' by assessments submitted with the application for the multi-use hub.

The project forms part of the council's £2m revamp of the park for which it is applying for a grant through the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The university supports as a matter of principle any improvements to the park,' the letter said. 'As an important stakeholder in the city centre, the university recognises the importance and value of Victoria Park as an urban park and open amenity space for those living, working and studying in the area.

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'The proposed improvements can only be beneficial to its attraction and future.'

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But it added that it was a failure of the application to not consider the relationship with either the approved 33-storey Blade building or the £100m complex now proposed for the former swimming pool site.

A planning application has been submitted for the university's new 12-storey academic building and is being considered by council planning officers.

It said its concerns could be dealt with by councillors agreeing an extra condition to approval of the community hub through which a detailed plan of access through the south east of the park would be arranged.

Despite this, the council's planning committee voted to approve the scheme without it when they met on Wednesday.

Councillor Lee Hunt, its chairman, said the building would bring 'new and modern' public facilities to the park and that, with the ongoing funding bid, a decision could not be delayed.

'This site is 18m away from the university building and they can talk to our teams after this meeting [to resolve these issues],' he said. 'It is an urgent matter, upon which a lot of money is decided, to do the things people tell us they want in the park, including public loos.'