MORE than 270 new homes could be built on the site of a Victorian prison in the city, and residents fear it will lead to traffic chaos.
City and Country have submitted an application to provide 76 converted dwellings at Grade II-listed Kingston Prison in Milton, and a further 195 new builds around the site in an amended version of proposals that had been approved in 2016.
The new plan would also see part-demolition of the listed prison wall to create vehicle access from both Milton Road and St Marys Road, as well as the potential for a shop and 347 car parking spaces for the new residents.
But nearby homeowners were concerned the extra flats could lead to parking and traffic woes, specifically due to the loss of a car park on the corner of Milton Road and Bowler Avenue.
Pamela Wall, 81, of Bowler Avenue said: ‘It’s going to cause more problems with parking and traffic. At the moment people going to the hospital park in that car park, I don’t know where they will go now.
‘We have been against the homes the whole time, we don’t want them there.’
Milton Road resident, Linda Carter, 64, added: ‘I don’t care what they do behind the prison walls but it’s what they do to the car park at Bowler Avenue.
‘It’s permit parking and it’s bad enough as it is. Losing the car park would cause more issues.’
However, the car park in question is not council property so it cannot be granted protection by the planning committee.
For Richard Winsborough, the associate director of planning at City and Country, the new plans addressed the most important issue Portsmouth City Council had with the scheme, by providing 187 affordable homes on the site.
‘City and Country has been working positively and proactively with Portsmouth City Council to help bring forward this important listed building for development,’ he said.
‘The application includes a further 38 new build apartments and reconfigures the former cell blocks to add an additional three converted homes.
‘We are delighted to also confirm that we are working with Vivid Homes, Hampshire’s largest provider of affordable housing, who will deliver most of the new build element of the site as affordable homes.’
The news was welcomed by the council’s deputy leader Cllr Steve Pitt. He said: ‘To see the plans now reworked into something that seems to have addressed the issue of affordable housing is encouraging. We just need wait to see the details to make sure it is what we hope it is.
He added: ‘The most important thing is that the affordable housing is included. We will continue to work across the city to find car parking solutions for everyone.’
Cllr Ben Dowling agreed. ‘It’s really important that we have affordable housing that people can genuinely afford to live in in the city,’ he said. ‘If this application works for the community then that’s a positive thing.’
The plans for Kingston Prison will go to a future planning committee meeting for approval.
What do you think?
PLANS for 271 flats on the site of Kingston Prison in Milton could mean big changes for nearby homeowners.
Milton Road resident, Katie Harris, 33, said: ‘At first I was a bit annoyed when I first heard about it. But I’d rather it was used for flats than storage which is what it is now. I do think it could be used for something else though.’
Her neighbour Susie Mason, 31, added: ‘People have got to live somewhere. I suppose I would rather the prison was turned into something useful than being derelict.’
However, shopkeeper Senthilkumar Duraisamy, 37, was concerned what a new shop on the site could mean for his business, the Premier store on Langstone Road. ‘If it is just housing that’s coming then that’s good for us,’ he said.
‘But if there is a shop as well we would not be happy because it would affect our shop and our business. It’s not just about losing money but staff could lose jobs because if less people come in we don’t need as many staff. Even if it’s just one shop it’s not good.’
Currently the prison is in use as a storage site but also for airsoft games held once a month by UCAP Airsoft
Head of UCAP Airsoft, Andy Stevens, said: ‘We are going to continue until they start works on the site which was always the plan. While we’ve been there we’ve been making sure it’s secure, rather than it sitting empty we have got a presence on the site.
‘One thing is important to note is the building can’t be restored which is expensive without the new builds going in. It is already falling into disrepair. We have a duty to keep them maintained, and these homes are a way of doing so.’