LS Blog Article

Published on Wednesday, 26th June 2019

The council’s Cabinet is expected to push through a huge expansion of residents’ zones in Southsea, bringing the controlled zones as far as Waverley Road. 

 

The public consultation response has been quite negative, with concerns from people inside the planned zone about having only a two hour restriction and from those outside about the inevitable tidal wave of displacement. Meanwhile businesses are worried about how they will survive when the public no longer has access to any parking between 1630 and 1830 daily.

 

The Cabinet has repeatedly ignored calls for a joined up approach and has rolled out one scheme after another, many in response to displacement problems created by their previous schemes. The chances are Monday will see more of the same.

 

Both the Conservatives and Labour have been calling for an overall plan to be drawn up. I will be making that point again at the meeting.

 

The parking report is at here . For details of how to make a deputation, see here

 

Tags: Parking

 

Published on Thursday, 28th March 2019

A planning application has been submitted for 134 flats and houses at the old MOD site at Fraser Range. The application has yet to be processed by the council and the documents are not yet online, however, I am told that the proposals are very much in line with the draft scheme presented to the public a year ago. That involved the conversion of the two largest buildings into flats, along with some new houses on the western part of the site. You can see the 2018 consultation scheme at www.fraserrange.co.uk

 

There are concerns about the ecological impact a development here could have, along with the usual worries about infrastructure. The council’s failure to maintain a five-year land supply may have some effect here and it could make it easier to argue for a higher density scheme; the environmental constraints will be largely unaffected.

 

Tags: Parking

Published on Wednesday, 26th June 2019

Coming into the city along the motorway, one of the things that now stands out is the new student tower currently under construction on the site of the old Coop bank near the railway station. There’s still a way to go until it is finished, but already its front and sides are a mass of windows; the north side however appears to be a huge, blank wall.

 

The supporting documents for the planning application referred to the possible future redevelopment of much of that line of buildings. Were there plans for another large building next door then it would make perfect sense not to include lots of windows.

 

I wasn’t involved in deciding the application, but I did speak to one of the promoters of the scheme at the time and asked what plans there were for further developments; I was told that there were none and it was just conceptual. I am not so sure and suspect further proposals will come forward in the long run.

 

Anyway, back to the blank wall. The planning paperwork shows a few windows on that side. From their positioning, I think they may be only for the staircase. There will be cladding and some decorative lines to break the whole thing up.

 

Tags: Planning

Published on Thursday, 28th March 2019

The number of responses to the traffic regulation order consultation for the area around the Kings Theatre has been very high and is in stark contrast to the feeble response to the informal survey. 

 

The procedure when introducing residents' parking is to first ask people whether they want a scheme - and just 14% of households responded to that, which is about half the historic rate. This is then followed by the statutory legal consultation and it is that which has elicited a big response. 

 

At this point, we don’t know what people have said, but it may well include people asking for a 24-hour scheme, objections from shops and people wanting a nighttime scheme to limit theatre parking. Officers are sorting through everything with a view to a decision being made in June or July.

 

Tags: Parking

Published on Monday, 25th March 2019

 

In a surprise development, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet has reluctantly agreed that it does not have a five-year land supply. In other words, it cannot demonstrate a sufficient list of housing sites, whether with or without planning consent that will likely come forward for development by 2024, to meet its housing need. This has serious consequences.

 

For the last few years, national policy has been in such places, the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ applies. That means in effect that local policies that restrict the supply of housing no longer apply and that in turn means the local plan has in effect gone.

 

This doesn't mean every undeveloped site is in the gun sights. Areas such as Farlington Marshes and Southsea Common are protected by national policies. It does, however, mean that rules stopping business land in Copnor, Farlington and elsewhere from being replaced with housing have probably gone out of the window. It also makes it harder to resist high-density schemes.

 

This is all bad news. In Fareham, which is in the same boat, the presumption has lead to unallocated, Greenfield land going for housing. Portsmouth effectively contains no countryside, but the effect will still be real.

 

The reason why this has happened now is the movement to using a nationally set housing needs formula. This has increased the target to 863, which is about double the level that has actually been achieved over recent decades. The revised local plan is now running late and won’t be adopted for another 18 months. It will, hopefully, be possible to reduce the target at that point, but it won’t be before then.

 

It is also interesting to note that about half of the housing completions over the last two years come from student rooms. Read more here.

 

Tags: Planning

Published on Wednesday, 13th March 2019

 

Should residents' parking be dealt with once and for all? If you think it should, please consider signing my petition, available here. A thousand signatures means a council debate.

Tags: Parking

Published on Monday, 10th December 2018

 

Details are surprisingly sketchy, but it has to be good news that QA hospital has secured £58m of government money for a new emergency department. This is the third largest of the 75 schemes across England to receive funding this year.

 

The emergency department (ED) is generally reckoned to be the worst performing part of the hospital and hopefully this scheme will fix that. I was briefly a governor of the hospital and it was openly admitted that the current one is as it is because the cost of rebuilding the hospital was proving too high and something had to be removed to get it back into budget. That something was the ED and everyone recognises that scaling it back was a mistake. 

 

Tags: Hospital