A response from the Planning Group to the University of Portsmouth’s plans for the Victoria Baths Development.
We found the proposal difficult to fit into just one of the tick boxes of Support/Comment/Object. The Portsmouth Society therefore have ‘objected’ as it is more likely to draw attention to our comments. We are however very pleased to see a bold design instead of the bland blocks which have spoiled our townscape, with some innovative features and a serious consideration of the buildings carbon footprint and sustainability.
We wholly approve of the sustainable design and the architects appear to have created a light and open building considering the overall size and density of functions housed within.
The use of ground source bore holes is highly commended but given the close proximity of other University buildings such as St Michaels and the Anglesea Building, it would make even more sense if these bores were the basis of a wider / district heating system rather than just servicing this one building.
We also think it is remiss of the University to completely ignore the need for a crossing on Anglesea Rd, leaving the onus solely in the hands of the local council. A 1st or 2nd floor balcony or parapet that in the future could be matched by a similar stub on whatever replaces the Anglesea Building would make the interconnecting public walkway a much simpler investment for the council and would vastly improve safety and traffic flow in the area.
The main reason for our objection is that a significant proportion of our members are very worried about the impact on Victoria Park. Tall buildings to the North and West work quite well in terms of maximising the benefit of the park, improving public access to it and shielding it from the worst of the weather. This new building however, being on the southernmost corner, will have the reverse effect – shading large areas of the park and having a deleterious effect on the flora and fauna therein. We would appreciate serious consideration of how this impact could be reduced and suggest discussions between all parties to agree plans for alterations to both the building and the park to make the whole area work better than it currently looks likely to do.
The Portsmouth Society Planning Group – December 2021.