The people living closest to Portsmouth records office are being asked what housing they would like to see Portsmouth City Council build on the Museum Road site.
The derelict council-owned building has reached the end of its usable life. The building needs to be taken down and the site will be used to build much needed housing.
We want to hear your thoughts
"We're making a huge effort to find out what the people living and working closest to the site think," Leader of the council Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said.
"We want to know what type of housing local people want us to build, what kind of housing they would NOT want to see on the site and if there is anything else that they want us to take into account when we are putting together plans in the future."
1,000 people living and working near the site have been hand delivered flyers this week asking them to call, email, write to, or visit, the civic offices to tell the council what issues they are most keen for the development team to take into account when plans are being drawn up.
The 500 people living and working closest to the site will also have their doors knocked over the next two weeks by the council to give them the chance to share their thoughts.
Come along and share your ideas
Everybody else who would like to tell the council what housing they would like to see built on the site is invited to join members of the council's development team at a public open drop-in session:
- in the Activity Room, at Portsmouth City Museum, in Museum Road, PO1 2LJ
- on Tuesday 25 February
- from 9am to 7pm
We have to do something
The records office building is suffering from major structural issues, including subsidence, and the site has been identified as suitable for housing by Portsmouth planners.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: "It’s not an option for us to leave the site, and do nothing with it, because it’s costing the council money to keep it safe and because this is seen as a good opportunity to provide much needed housing.
"There’s a huge shortage of housing in Portsmouth. We have a duty to do what we can to tackle that shortage and to create mixed, balanced and sustainable communities. This is why we have made a commitment to make the best possible use of council owned sites to provide the housing that Portsmouth people need at prices they can afford and to build homes that meet people’s varied needs. We see this as one of our most important responsibilities.
"One of the many ways we're helping to tackle the housing shortage in this city is to use our land and assets to build different types of housing.
"We also have more than 2,000 people on our housing waiting list, first time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford growing property prices, rents and mortgages in the city are higher than many people can cope with and we don’t have enough specialised housing to help people with their mixed needs.
"If the records office site stays in council ownership then we will NOT build student accommodation here."
A range of possibilities for the site
There are no final plans for the records office site at this stage. It is on a list of locations that have been identified as suitable for housing on a list called the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment which is put together by Portsmouth planners.
The site is seen as being an appropriate site for housing because it is sustainable with good access to shops, schools and other facilities, including bus routes and railways stations. It’s also close to existing residential areas and its relatively small size means that it’s not suitable for proposals that need a large footprint like many employment uses. The location would also be ideal for some of the types of housing that Portsmouth needs the most; including accommodation for elderly people.
The council's development manager Kevin Hudson said: "We're really keen to do the right thing for the people of Portsmouth on this site.
"Following a very well received public engagement last year on the future development of the Horatia and Leamington Houses site, in Somerstown, we're now asking people what is most important to them when it comes to building housing on the records office site.
"Please come and see us at the public open drop-in session or, if you'd prefer to, then please call us, email us, post us your thoughts, come and see us at the civic offices or book an appointment for us to come and see you at your home or business. If you live close to the site and you'd rather that we didn't knock on your door then please let us know."