Latest plans for the long-awaited redevelopment of the former Knight and Lee building in Southsea have been approved.
Planning permission has been granted for the revised THAT Group scheme for a hotel, cinema, shops and offices. A report submitted to the planning committee said the plans are seen as “a positive and ambitious form of development that would rejuvenate a socially and historically important listed building and local landmark with opportunities to establish and support local businesses that would contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre”
The application was submitted in March in response to the decision by English Heritage to give the building Grade II-listed status last year and changing “economic requirements”. The developer said this had not led to any changes to the scale of the redevelopment but had required changes to the internal layout of the proposed replacement.
These include an increased number of hotel rooms from 43 to 67, a reduction in the number of cinema screens from three to two, the provision of a ground floor food court, the removal of a rooftop maintenance facility, and the relocation of the bar and gym from the third floor to ground level.
‘The original planning application was considered to provide a positive mix of uses that would contribute significantly to the vitality and vibrancy [of the area], mitigating the loss of the former department store,’ a statement submitted on behalf of the developer said.
‘The revised application maintains this mix of uses but has adapted to create a development that is more flexible and responds to the changings needs of businesses in the post-pandemic environment.’