Portsmouth councillor told off for bad language at debate over Southsea restaurant

Southsea Motor Factors
Southsea Motor Factors
Arundel Street and Holbrook Road. Picture: Google Maps

Cyclist involved in collision with car in Portsmouth

  • Application submitted to turn Southsea Motor Factors into a restaurant
  • Residents fear noise and litter from the eatery
  • Row breaks out between councillors on planning committee
  • Member warned about language
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A FURIOUS row broke out at a planning meeting to decide whether a cafe should be given the green light.

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee had been asked to decide on a controversial application to allow the owners of the Southsea Motor Factors’ building, in Grove Road South, Southsea, to turn it into an eatery.

Jesus Christ, you ran the city for God knows how many years. We’re here to make a decision

Councillor Rob New

Planning officers had recommended the application by LC Isted Trust be agreed but last night residents in the conservation area pleaded with members not to give permission for the change of use.

Allan Smith, who lives a few doors down, said the noise and litter it would generate would ‘degrade’ the area.

While Tracey Upton, who lives opposite the building, said she had counted 52 cafes and restaurants within a five minute walk and found it ‘incredible’ that the application was even being considered.

But a row broke out when Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackon called for a deferment on the grounds there was not enough detail in the planning application.

In response Councillor Robert New exclaimed, ‘Jesus Christ, you ran the city for God knows how many years.

‘We’re here to make a decision.’

He went on to argue there would be little further the applicant could add and it would be wasting everyone’s time to delay a decision.

Chairman, Cllr Aiden Gray, warned Cllr New about his language before Cllr Vernon-Jackson came back and said: ‘We are not able to turn this down. We would fail on appeal’.

In the end the deferment was upheld, six votes to three, and the application will come back to the committee at a later date.

Councillor Linda Symes, who is not on the committee, has been fighting the plans on behalf of residents on the grounds there are already too many restaurants in the area.

She said: ‘These residents deserve some quality of life and I would suggest to you this would have a very adverse affect on their quality of life.

‘What really concerns me is that there is no idea what this restaurant is going to be.’

Architect Martin Critchley, acting on the applicant’s behalf, said he welcomed the deferment.

But he added: ‘This is a speculative application but it doesn’t make it any less valid.

‘It’s a perfect site for a restaurant. The building is in poor condition and it needs refurbishing and new life.

‘A restaurant will be an improvement of the usage.

‘Southsea is a major tourist destination.’