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An architectural concept showing what the McCarthy & Stone retirement home is planned to look like

Retirement home developer McCarthy & Stone have been given the go-ahead to build retirement flats on Southsea seafront opposite South Parade Pier on the former Savoy Buildings site.

The UK planning inspectorate has given permission for the development to take place in spite of strong opposition against the plans by campaigning Portsmouth residents.

McCarthy & Stone appealed their case after Portsmouth City Council rejected the plans, and now that appeal has been won.

Opposing campaigners have fought the planned development for months, relentlessly airing concerns about the characterless design of the flats and pointing out that the space would be better-suited for a seafront attraction of sorts in light of the forthcoming relaunch of South Parade Pier, just across the road from the Savoy site.

The development will also include a Co-Op store on the ground floor.

Residents and councillors alike have announced their disappointment that the overturning of Portsmouth City Council’s rejection is a decision made by an outside party — the planning inspectorate — rather than the democratically-elected local committee.

Matthew Winnington, Liberal Democrat councillor for the Eastney & Craneswater ward, tweeted: “[sic] Savoy Buildings planning appeal is allowed by the Planning Inspector. Disappointing that democratically taken local decisions are overturned.”

Event organisers who have previously shown nothing but excitement at the prospect of hosting music nights on South Parade Pier upon its reopening are now concerned that the flats will lead to complications with sound levels.

Nick Courtney, owner of the highly-active Facebook community group The People’s Plan for Southsea, created a petition with 1,800+ signatures against the retirement home.

Nick also wrote a statement for the planning inspectorate which reads: “This is prime tourist land in a conservation area and is strategically important for tourism and the proposed Savoy building is totally inappropriate.

“The design in no way represents the quality of the buildings that were previously there and it does not fit in with the Victorian buildings that are on either side. Public opinion is totally against this development and the design is more fitting to Benidorm than Southsea.

“The proposed usage is also totally unsuitable if we are to attract tourists and regenerate the Seafront area. To even consider retirement flats and a Co-op supermarket opposite a newly refurbished Victorian Pier and on such prime tourist land is beyond comprehension and if McCarthy & Stone care about the local economy and the people of Portsmouth, they would withdraw the application themselves.”

Savoy Buildings Southsea Seafront

Pictured: the Savoy Buildings site before its demolition

The transfer of land ownership from former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp to McCarthy & Stone is now finalised.

For years, the site was home to classic Portsmouth nightclubs Fifth Avenue and Joanna’s, names which now strike nostalgia into the hearts of thousands of our city’s residents.

When Harry Redknapp purchased the Savoy Buildings site in 2007 through development company Pierfront Developments Ltd., planning permission was in place to build 92 private apartments with some associated commercial units, before McCarthy & Stone unveiled their plans to take on the land.

Savoy Building Southsea Seafront

The Savoy Buildings site following its demolition

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