Published on Friday, 1st June 2018


There’s been an interesting planning decision and an interesting new application. The former is the conversion of the old Crown Bingo Hall in Kingston Road to eleven flats. This building has been empty for a little while (although not the four years reported in the News).


Old buildings of that sort are difficult to convert, but in this case a way has been found. Before being a bingo hall, it was a cinema and is laid out around a very large auditorium. The solution is to demolish part of the middle to create a courtyard, with flats facing into it. Space has been found for eight cars, which isn’t bad considering the restrictions on the site.


The new planning application is for the site of the Invincible pub near the Historic Dockyard entrance in Queen Street. The proposal is for an eleven storey building for shared living. This is a housing format that has emerged from London and is driven by the difficulty many people have paying high rents. Basically you get a large bedsit (these ones are 18m2 and include a kitchen and bathroom area) and there are shared meeting and leisure areas. If this sounds a lot like student accommodation, that’s because really it is, although it is aimed at a wider age range.


Personally I think some units of this kind are inevitably going to have to be part of the response to the housing shortage that is making life difficult for many younger people. The key is getting the quality right and picking the right area. Whether this site does that, I am not sure.


Tags: Planning