Metis Homes, the project’s developer, secured approval to transform a section of the campus into a mixed housing development.
The development will encompass a range of housing options, from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses, as well as retirement homes for seniors. The development does not include designated affordable housing or housing offered at 80 per cent of the market value.
Alistair Harris, Planning Director at Metis Homes, told committee members that the project presented significant financial challenges for the developers. These challenges included the conversion of listed buildings, the use of pile foundations, extensive demolition work, and the removal of asbestos and other contaminants discovered during the development process.
Mr Harris added: “All of these costs have resulted in a proposal being on the margins of viability.”
Committee Chairman Councillor Nick Walker echoed this sentiment, stating, “When you look at the viability study, it’s quite a margin, we’re lucky that this development is coming forward. There’s no giant profit being made out of this.”
An Economic Viability Assessment revealed that with affordable housing, the project would incur a loss exceeding £4 million. Without affordable housing, this loss reduces to £840,807, which is considered ‘deliverable’ but with a reduction in overall operating profit.
Addressing the committee, Councillor Michael Ford said: “If we look at the other significant developments in Warsash that attracted a huge amount of objections, the bulk of which are down to the same things. Lack of roads, lack of school places, lack of medical provisions – it hasn’t been the case largely with this.
“Other than 18 dwellings 99 of them are one and two-bedroom apartments over a third of these are Mcarthy & Stone.
“This is a brownfield site – it’s no good us saying sorry we don’t want anything on that site. We are told by so many local people that we should firstly look at brownfield sites.”
In a unanimous decision, committee members voted in favour of the development.