TWO highly controversial city developments will be the subject of a special planning meeting that is expected to attract 'unprecedented' numbers of objectors.
Portsmouth council's planning team will debate proposed housing at the St James' Hospital and the Grade II-listed Kingston Prison sites in Milton next week.
However, unlike most planning committees this will take place in the council chamber, which can accommodate many more people than in the usual meeting room.
Both applications attracted multiple objections since they were submitted with many residents, and councillors, fearful of parking, traffic and impact on infrastructure.
The chair of the committee, Councillor Hugh Mason, said: 'We recognise the applications being made for these two sites are of great public interest. That's why we're holding the meeting in the main council chamber, so there's more room for residents who want to attend.
'If anyone wants to speak at the meeting they're welcome to make a request, as long as they do so in advance. And of course, anyone can see the meeting online, as it will be live-streamed as usual.'
More than 300 residents have objected to the housing development on the St James' site. If approved 107 dwellings will be built including family homes and three apartment blocks.
Permission has already been given to knock down villas on the site to make way for the homes and if the application is approved the former Harbour School, Fair Oak House, and the Beeches and Yew House will also be demolished.
In an objection letter founder of Keep Milton Green, Kimberly Barrett, said they were opposed for some of the following reasons: 'The loss of historic buildings in defiance of their "curtilage listing". These could be re-used for social care/dementia care to free up spaces at QA and their replacement with three three-storey blocks of apartments are not in-keeping with the surrounding area and would damage the setting of a Grade II-listed building only 20 metres away (the chapel).
'The absurdity of the transport assessment's conclusions on the number of vehicular movements, on sustainable transport and it's ignorance of existing traffic congestion.'
Proposals for the former Kingston Prison similarly raised fears with local residents.
The Grade II-listed building could be redeveloped into 76 flats and a commercial unit - a shop or restaurant. A further five buildings and two additional storeys to the B-wing would add an extra 191 homes if approved, creating a total of 267 dwellings.
Larry Nicholas, a resident of nearby Baffins Road, said: 'The local infrastructure is totally inadequate to support the scale of development with current and ongoing road congestion, inadequate local school provision, overloaded GP surgery places and ever-rising air pollution generated from heavy vehicular traffic.'
The planning meeting will be held in the council chamber of the Guildhall in Portsmouth at 1pm on Wednesday, February 20.