Plan to convert part of the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea into apartments is set to go ahead

During the pandemic, work was started on the east wing of the Royal Beach Hotel based on a 2010 planning permit authorizing the creation of 40 apartments, but was stopped after it was deemed unfeasible.

This was due to changes in post-Grenfell building regulations regarding the positioning of stairs and the discovery that internal walls were structural.

The reduced scheme of 29 flats was proposed in March last year and has now been recommended for approval by council planning officers.

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The Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea Photo: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

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“It is concluded that the proposed change of use is acceptable and would be consistent with the relevant Portsmouth Plan policies and the objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework,” said a report released ahead of Wednesday’s planning committee meeting.

This is despite the fact that eight of the flats do not meet the floor space standards required by council policy.

A financial contribution towards the construction of 20 affordable housing units under the Casey’s Bar development that has already been made would be transferred to the new scheme if approved, bringing it into line with policy.

A statement submitted with the application said the revised scheme would also provide more spacious living conditions for potential residents.

“The main change to this application is that it is proposed to build fewer apartments,” he said. “The stair situation has been resolved by reducing the length of the corridors resulting from the reduction in the number of apartments.”

A mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments are offered and no parking is included, with the report stating that this ‘car-free’ nature was acceptable due to bike storage and the availability of public transport within the region.

But it sparked opposition, with 10 opposition letters submitted. Two have since been removed.

Mansion Court resident Alexandra Williams said: ‘As parking has always been difficult within the hotel grounds for visitors; with the addition of an additional need, it can only be exacerbated, with the likely result of causing more vehicles to search local roads for availability.

“The pressure on parking is increased during holidays and peak periods.”

A petition signed by 26 people was submitted in support of the revised application, welcoming the reduced number of apartments.