Hundreds object to developer’s ‘blackmail attempt’ to change use of Portishead retirement complex

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 November 2019

Marina Gardens development in Portishead.

Marina Gardens development in Portishead.

Copyright (2016) F10 Studios Ltd, all rights reserved

Hundreds of objections have been raised against last-minute plans to change the use of a Portishead retirement complex into open-market housing.

Pegasus Life hopes to secure change of use permission from North Somerset Council to sell apartments at its recently-completed Marina Gardens project, in Martingale Way, to all comers.

The developer made the application in September after deeming it 'won't work financially' to sell the 126 'assisted living' apartments exclusively to elderly people.

The decision has been met with widespread frustration and concern from people across Portishead, with 371 people registering objections on the council's planning portal.

One correspondent argued 'the change of use is a move to make a profit from a poorly-managed project', while another said: "This application is nothing more than a cynical, underhanded proposal to evade the original planning consent.

"There has been no attempt to market this facility locally or in the wider area. It beggars belief that a company such as Pegasus, which specialises in these kinds of facilities, could have got their predictions so wrong.

"To change the use of the building will place considerable strain on the already intolerable traffic situation as well as the education and medical facilities in Portishead.

"There is no reason at all why Portishead should succumb to this blackmail attempt."

Just three supporting comments have been registered on the council's website.

Emma Webster, Pegasus Life's head of corporate affairs, told Portishead Town Council's September meeting nothing underhand had taken place.

She said: "We have discovered quite a lot has gone on. We've taken the decision the application we secured consent for won't work financially."

The application has faced scrutiny from North Somerset's planning officers, who have encouraged Pegasus Life to revise the proposals.

A reduction in homes to 118, a provision of some assisted living apartments, provision of affordable housing and a review of parking arrangements have been recommended - with the developer expected to return from the drawing board in the coming weeks.

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