Published on Friday, 30th March 2018

 

With mail delivery now based in Copnor and the sorting operations in Eastleigh, the sorting office in the city centre is now largely redundant - the post office counters store aside. It is inevitable that the site will be redeveloped and in all likelihood, it will go for some form of housing. The open question is how.

 

The first hint of what may happen has come in the form of a Prior Notification registered with the City Council. This seeks agreement to allow part of the existing building to be converted into 74 flats.

 

Turning office space into housing is something that does not require planning consent. All the council is being asked to do is to verify that no flooding issues would arise and that the land is not contaminated. If that is the case – and there is no reason to think it is not – the proposed development is automatically legal and planning permission is not required. The site’s owners can just do it.

 

This proposal only covers the part of the building nearest to the Post Office Counters and it may well be that a more ambitious proposal will come forward for the rest of the site. Time will tell.

 

As more and more people do office work from home, building new office space becomes ever less attractive and realistically any proposal will primarily be for housing site, although an element of commercial or office space is a possibility. The council did look at buying the building itself greater control over the form of development and to link it in with the wider city centre, but the constraints imposed by the lease for the counters unit and the likely high sale price meant it just did not add up on this occasion. 

 

The details of the scheme can be seen on the council’s planning website. Look for reference 18/00004/PACOU.

 

Tags: Planning