Campaigners fight plans for 107 homes in Portsmouth hospital grounds

CGI of homes set to be built on the former site of villas in the grounds of St James' Hospital. Picture: Homes Agency
CGI of homes set to be built on the former site of villas in the grounds of St James' Hospital. Picture: Homes Agency
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CAMPAIGNERS and dozens of people have objected to plans for 107 homes in the sold-off grounds of a hospital.

Homes England hopes to build the family homes and three apartment blocks near St James’ Hospital in Locksway Road, Milton, and already have permission to knock down four buildings to make space.

Artists' impression of homes set to be built on the former site of villas in the grounds of St James' Hospital. Picture: Homes Agency

Artists' impression of homes set to be built on the former site of villas in the grounds of St James' Hospital. Picture: Homes Agency

But together with residents, Milton Planning Forum, Milton Neighbourhood Forum and Keep Milton Green have all objected to the plans.

Georgia Witton-Maclean, of nearby Dunbar Road, said: ‘While I appreciate that the UK needs new housing, I believe this type of housing plan is going to cause too many problems for the local area to be of net benefit.’

She added: ‘Replacing our sparse green space with more housing will undoubtedly have a very negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of residents who currently use this space for recreation.’

Portsmouth City Council planning officers have already approved demolition of two villas in plot owned by Homes England. The former Harbour School, Fair Oak House, and villas the Beeches and Yew House will be knocked down if the 107-home outline application is approved by the council.

Milton ward councillor Ben Dowling said he wanted the government agency to ‘pause and think again’ and refurbish the villas instead of demolishing them.

But Bruce Voss, a senior boss at Homes England, in an e-mail, said knocking down the villas is ‘more economic and will provide additional much needed homes including affordable homes if we demolish these properties rather than seek to convert them’.

Mr Voss said preparatory work will be undertaken this summer, when he hopes the 107-home planning application will be determined.

Keep Milton Green’s objection, among the 57 other objections, said the Fair Oak and Beeches buildings could be used a social care or dementia care to free up beds at QA. It also raised concern about excessive homes density and an ‘absence of any credible evidence’ of enough GP’s surgeries and school numbers.

The objection added: ‘A higher priority must be given to public interest before private gain to landowners and developers.’

Homes England, which owns the plot of land, has vowed to build ‘high quality’ homes, ‘respect’ the setting of St James Hospital, and ‘enhance’ the grade-two listed chapel nearby.

Under the plans three apartment blocks, with 27 one-bed and 18 two-bed flats, will be built, along with 43 three-bed and 19 four-bed homes. There would be 157 parking spaces and 16 visitor spaces.

Access would be via Fair Oak Road and Locksway Road.

Leader’s ‘serious concerns’ over plans

THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has said building 107 homes will ‘create a lasting impact’ on nearby roads.

Councillor Donna Jones – also in charge of planning, regeneration and economic development – said: ‘I have serious concerns with the application submitted by Homes England about the impact to local roads, schools and Queen Alexandra Hospital which is under huge ongoing and growing pressure.’

She added: ‘Having 107 homes on this site will not enhance or protect the area and will create a lasting impact on roads that are already over-stretched and under immense pressure.’