A MAJOR public engagement project has seen hundreds of people answer Portsmouth City Council’s call to share their views on plans to build brand new housing on the disused old records office site.
Now the council has uploaded everything that residents, businesses and other stakeholders said about new homes on the derelict council owned site, in Museum Road, Southsea, to a brand new public engagement web page.
You can find out what people said at www.recordsoffice.portsmouth.gov.uk
After knocking the door of every home and business within 250m of the records office building, and hand delivering questions to everybody living and working within 500m of the site; the council has committed to seven key principles to form the basis of their design for high quality, eco-friendly homes to replace the long empty building when it is demolished.
Based on what people said was most important to them as part of the public engagement the council has committed to:
- Build homes that are appropriate for the site. This could include housing for older people, private sale etc.
- Maintain the security of Pembroke Park and add no direct access to Pembroke Park.
- Design a high quality, environmentally-friendly scheme that is sensitive to its location and to Portsmouth City Museum.
- Maintain the security of the museum and the integrity of its grounds.
- Retain as many of the existing trees as possible and replace any that we may have to lose as well as respecting the site’s location in a conservation area.
- Ensure that the scheme has as low an impact as possible on parking and traffic congestion in the local area.
Also based on what people have told them the council has said it will NOT:
- Build high rise.
- Include student accommodation in the scheme.
“Thank you to everybody who shared their views,” said Leader of the council Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
“We know that taking down the derelict records office, and replacing it with new homes, will affect local people so we wanted to ask as many residents and businesses as possible for their thoughts before we started to put together plans,” he added.
As part of the intensive public engagement exercise; the council:
- contacted more than 1,500 local people as part of the consultation.
- collected full feedback from 70% of the people living in the closest block of flats to the site, Hartford House.
- collected full feedback from 55% of the people living in neighbouring Pembroke Park and the surrounding area.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: “It’s not an option for us to do nothing with this site because this council-owned building has reached the end of its usable life and is suffering from major structural issues, including subsidence. It’s costing the council money to keep it safe and the site has been identified as suitable for housing by planners so it’s an unmissable opportunity to provide the high quality homes that Portsmouth people need.
“We’ve made a huge amount of effort to make sure that we are having a meaningful two-way conversation with local people.
“We will now start to work on designs for the housing, taking into account as much as possible of what we’ve been told as part of this major public engagement.
“When the plans are ready we will take them to the people living, and working, closest to the site for discussion.”
Who did the council ask?
- The council hand delivered a leaflet, at least once, and knocked the door, at least once, of all 254 homes and five businesses in: Pembroke Park, Kings Terrace (between Kings Road and Hambrook Street) and Landport Terrace (between Kings Road and Landport Street).
- When people were not at home they were delivered a ‘sorry we missed you’ note, at least once, which included the development team’s full contact details.
- A leaflet was also hand delivered to everybody else who lives and works within 500m of the site.
- 70% of the people living in the closest block to the site, Hartford House, gave their full feedback.
- Full feedback was also collected from 55% of the people living in Pembroke Park, and the surrounding area, as well as taking the views of people living within 500m of the site and other Portsmouth residents living further away than that.
- The council also hosted a public open drop-in session at the next door city museum.
- The engagement was also promoted in the local media, online and on social media.
What did the council ask?
The council asked everybody the same four questions:
- Do you agree that the records office site is a suitable site for brand new housing and why?
- What type of housing do you think would be best for the records office site?
- What kind of housing would you NOT want to see on this site?
- Please tell us if there is anything else that you would like us to take into account when we are putting together plans for this site.
How could people tell the council what they thought?