IT’S BEEN described as the first step in the regeneration of the town centre and brings to the forefront a brand new housing scheme – but is it right for Waterlooville?
That was the burning question residents, councillors, amenity groups and businesses got together to discuss at Havant Borough Council’s Development Consultation Forum for Wellington Way last night.
Site owner and developer Giles Morse from Westbrook Properties said that after the demolition of existing retail space, the new-build, now to be made up of 190 rental apartments instead of 130, would be aimed at 25 to 35-year-olds looking for the step between moving out of family homes and buying their own.
Mr Morse was joined by representatives from ACG Architects and planning company Daniel Watney.
According to them, the development will be purpose-built to provide a sense of place for its residents.
‘They added that new retail space would still be provided, but discussions as to how much still needed to take place.
Olly Wood from ACG said: ‘It’s key there’s a social aspect to this development, it’s about creating a community feel.
‘We want them to live there and stay for a few years, get to know others living in the building and make use of the facilities we’ll be providing.’
Those facilities include a reception, gym, lounge, dining room/kitchen and terrace. There are a proposed 21 car parking spaces too, news of which drew complaints from councillors.
The development team argued more people were using public transport and cycling to and from work, which is why there would be one cycle space per studio.
But the audience said the demographic of people in the town was different to London, where the team said such developments had been successful.
When questioned by council leader Michael Cheshire about the cost of the homes, Mr Morse said each unit would cost about £500-£600 per month, with services such as use of wifi, gym and all bills included.
Andrew Biltcliffe, head of planning at the council, said: ‘This is a completely new type of product for us, but will it work here? That’s the question.’
‘This won’t solve all issues in the town centre but it’s the first step in changing something that we all know at the moment is declining.’