LS Blog Article

Published on Friday, 14th September 2018

 

Tomorrow is the Marine Conservation Society’s annual nationwide survey of the nation’s shoreline. This is a bit more than a beach clean as volunteers also have to log what they find.

 

Anyone who wants to take part should meet by Rocksby’s café, between the Pier and the Pyramids at 10am. 

 

Tags: Beach clean, Environment

Published on Friday, 14th September 2018

 

Two formal consultations on extending residents’ parking to some areas north of Albert Road end on September 20th. If they approved – and quite frankly from the political leaflets that have gone out in that area, they are going to be – it will mean two areas removed in 2014 will be reinstated. This includes the notorious MB zone, which had 1200 spaces, but only 800 permits issued, resulting in vast numbers of empty spaces around-the-clock.

 

It just isn’t possible to extend residents’ parking further in a piecemeal way. You either need to cover a very wide area or to leave things along; nothing in between is workable because of the inevitable displacement of vehicles.

 

You can see details of the areas covered here and here and can comment by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Tags: Parking

Published on Friday, 14th September 2018

(The blue areas are those likely to be subject of another planning application later)

 

A planning application has come forward for the former Southsea Police Station site in Highland Road. If granted, it will be converted into eighteen flats; its appearance will be largely unchanged; sixteen parking spaces are proposed.

 

Protecting the existing building is important and so at first glance this scheme appears positive, although it becomes less clear cut when you consider some of the details. Fully thirteen of the flats would be one-bedroom, with just a single two-bedroom unit and four studios. The latter would be small, with the smallest just 25m2 – or roughly half the size of an average one-bedroom flat. Moreover parts of the car park are being hived off, presumably for a new build scheme down the line.

 

Some of the application documents are not filled in correctly, but I think I am right in saying that all the units would be for market sale or rent.

 

The best outcome for the area would be to see the old building not just left in tact but to see it brought up to a standard where it becomes an asset to Highland Road. The worry is that we’ll just end up with a cheap conversion.

 

The application reference number is 18/01351/FUL should you wish to comment. The easiest way of doing so is to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Tags: Planning

Published on Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

 

Monday is the final day for comments on the Southsea flood defence proposals. There’s a whole website worth of publicity material here. Some of the proposed changes are quite radical, such as by South Parade Pier, where the plans show a new 1.2m wall, with a large number of boulders behind. The consultation presents options in a number of locations. 

 

A planning application is expected in the autumn.

 

Tags: Flood defences, seafront

Published on Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

 

In the Victorian age, there were dozens of tiny pubs across Portsmouth - many just the ground floor of a terrace house. Gradually that disappeared, but a modern version may be about to make a comeback.

 

Micropubs are single room pubs, mostly in former shop units and mostly selling more expensive craft beers, often locally sourced. According to the Micropub and Microbrewery Association, the number of such premises has rocketed from 15 in 2013 to perhaps 400 now and there remains potential for further rapid growth. By way of comparison, there are around 50000 pubs in the UK.

 

A current planning application is seeking permission to turn a former newsagent in the Milton Market area into a micropub. The application covers Moorhouse News at 177 Eastney Road (see here for a picture). Opening hours would be dealt with separately through a licensing application. The planning application reference is 18/01152/FUL should you wish to comment.

 

Demand for retail space is falling and in the long term that is going to mean many of today’s shops ending up as flats. However it’s not all doom and gloom and there are some types of new businesses coming along that require space – and micropubs could be one.

 

Tags: Planning, Pubs

Published on Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

 

There’s been some movement on the proposed Anglo-French power connector that could come ashore in Eastney. The government has ruled from a planning perspective, it will be dealt with as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). This means that instead of the council making the decision on whether to grant consent, the Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who will be the ultimate decision maker. 

 

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects were introduced into law a decade ago. They are used for road, rail and waste projects, as well as for electricity and gas schemes. This is the first time this legislation has been applied in Portsmouth. The council retains a role in consulting on the scheme.

 

The AQUIND project is a billion pound scheme to import electricity from France – and on occasion, to export to it. Renewable energy production varies hugely depending on the weather and connections of this kind allow surplus energy to not go to waste. 

 

If this scheme goes ahead, the connection to the National Grid will be in Lovedean. A cable will run under Bransbury Road, Eastney Road and Eastern Road and from there through Havant. There are concerns about the traffic congestion that may be generated while the cables are being laid.

 

Tags: Planning, AQUIND

Published on Tuesday, 14th August 2018

 

It what looks like a serious mistake, the City Council is to spend up to £3.5m winding down its energy company before it has even started trading.

 

The company, Victory Energy, was to supply electricity and gas to consumers both locally and across the region. Its selling points would have been local promotion, including at events and door-to-door, a community fund to plough back some of the expected profits and a focus on helping people reduce their electricity consumption. The aim was to generate a profit to fund local services.

 

An in-principle decision to form the company was taken last year. After the elections, the LibDems commissioned PriceWaterhouseCooper to review the business model and they came back with a clean bill of health. Even under the most pessimistic scenario, Victory Energy would start making a profit in the fourth year of operation – and actually once the community fund is factored in, it was earlier still. The £2m-a-year profit would cover the entire cost of the library service and the cost of keeping weekly bin collections. With more savings to find, both those are now no longer guaranteed.

 

I have heard the number of £19.3m stated as the worst case loss, but that is not accurate. Even if the company had failed, the customer book would have had value and the actual maximum risk was £6.5m. As it is, it will cost £2.5m-£3.5m to close the business and to write off the investment already made.

 

Victory Energy’s business plan had already been assessed by Baringa last year, but wanting a second opinion was understandable. What is harder to explain is why when that came back as positive, a decision was still taken to pull the plug.

 

You can read the full report here.

 

Tags: Commerialisation