Published on Thursday, 3rd March


A proposal from housing association, First Wessex, for 70 flats on the site of some rundown commercial units by Fratton station has been approved by the council. The application was for a four and six storey building and covers land the collection of buildings near the Fawcett Road junction.


As the committee report made clear, the changed economics of social housing means that this may be amongst the last of its kind. To quote directly:


The applicant is a registered housing provider who have advised that the site would be built out to provide 100% affordable housing and that due to changes in central government funding this is likely to be one of the last sites that could be developed solely to provide affordable housing


One of the consequences of reducing social housing rents, as the government is doing, is that it is going to be very difficult for anyone to afford to develop more sub-market properties. No-one knows for sure just how much of an effect this will have on the supply of new social housing properties, but it will be significant.


In my view, the committee was right to approve the application. If a site on a main road near the city centre isn't suitable for flats then where is? Parking has also been a bone of contention, although the 49 spaces provided isn't bad considering the location. Council policy requires one-for-one provision, but it also allows developers to provide less in central locations and in practice any attempt to get the developer to provide more would have been undercut on appeal.


For many years this land was safeguarded for a never-built dual carriageway that would have connected Eastern Road with the city centre. It is because of that protection that this site wasn't built on forty years ago.


Tags: Planning