AS PORTSMOUTH City Council releases a Covid-safe virtual tour of its brand new housing block; the Lord Mayor has praised the Portsmouth key workers and builders who delivered the building during the first pandemic lockdown.
Click here to watch a 60 second video tour of the brand new Albion House; including aerial drone footage and a sneak peek at the flats.
Click here to take a separate virtual tour of the building through 360 degree spin videos of all of the different rooms and communal areas.
Led by Portsmouth firm PMC Construction, and the council’s Strategic Development and Housing teams; the crew – which included Portsmouth brick layers, scaffolders, steel workers, electricians, plumbers and plasterers – were able to build a brand new block of 23 energy efficient, council-owned homes at Albion House, despite having to wear Covid masks and comply with the government’s social distancing guidelines when they were at their most restrictive.
Lord Mayor Cllr Rob Wood said much of the challenging, physical work necessary to complete the vital council housing on the corner of King Street and Astley Street, in Somerstown, was completed earlier this year when lockdown was at its most severe.
“We’ve all been inspired by stories of heroic key workers who have worked through difficult conditions to make sure that we get the health care, deliveries and services that we rely on,” Cllr Wood said.
“Here is another story of Portsmouth people who have gone over and above the call of duty to supply something that Portsmouth so desperately needs – high quality housing that will be a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in the city.”
Cabinet member for housing and preventing homelessness Cllr Darren Sanders said the one-and-two-bedroom flats – which the council has built on the site of the old Southsea Community Centre facilities after they were moved into Somerstown Central (the hub) – would be a vital part of the council’s major effort to solve homelessness in the city:
“We’re doing everything we can to make the situation better for people in this city who can’t access the housing they need,” Cllr Sanders said.
“An important part of that drive to deal with homelessness is that we are building council-owned homes for the people who need them most.
“This is also another example of a construction project that shows our commitment to making the best use of long-vacant sites and disused council assets to make life better for Portsmouth people.”
Steve Cripps, managing director of PMC, also paid tribute to the Portsmouth construction workers who had worked through Covid lockdown to deliver the building on time and on budget.
Steve said: “We are proud to have completed another important project for the council and to have helped them to provide affordable homes for the people of Portsmouth.
“The project was built through the pandemic and, during the earlier stages, the site had to adapt daily to the government’s updates on how construction sites should operate.
“Although this was challenging – we maintained a continuous presence at all times and had very limited delays. This is a credit to Tim Kemp the site manager who is also a Portsmouth man.
“A special mention should also go to one of the labourers on site who travelled to and from the Isle of Wight each morning on a pre-booked slot at 7am every day.”
Albion House is one of five new housing developments the council announced last year including projects in Doyle Avenue in Hilsea, Brewery House in Southsea, Arundel Street in the city centre and the records office in Museum Road, Old Portsmouth.
The council is also developing plans for housing to replace the Horatia and Leamington Houses tower blocks in Somerstown which will be taken down next year because problems were found with the 1960s concrete structure of the buildings.
Plans for thousands of new homes are also part of the council’s proposals for Tipner West and the redevelopment of the city centre.
Click here to find out more about all of these projects.
The council’s Strategic Developments team also started work this week on the largest dedicated manufacturing facility on the south coast this year.
The 120,000 sq ft unit for world leading engineering firm Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group will create 120 new jobs when it is completed in 2022 at the council’s award-winning business park Dunsbury Park, next to junction 3 of the A3(M). It will be the biggest new warehouse facility to be built on the south coast since the council’s Strategic Developments team built a global headquarters for international clothing brand FatFace, in 2017 – also at Dunsbury Park.
Click here to find out more about Dunsbury Park.