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RFAC slams 'low-grade' Plymouth Gunwharf scheme

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The Royal Fine Art Commission has weighed in with criticisms of the 'low-grade' proposals for the Gunwharf site in Portsmouth and called for a public inquiry.

Chairman Lord St John of Fawsley last week said the site was of national importance and deserved better than the 'low-grade housing, leisure and retail scheme currently on offer'. He added that the architect, HGP Greentree Allchurch Evans, has failed to design proposals which pay due regard to the retained historic buildings, exploit the magnificent site and link it to the rest of Portsmouth.

'The current proposals completely lack a sense of place, ' he said. 'They could be in any suburban housing estate or shopping park. As an example of development at the time of the millennium, they are simply lamentable.'

The RFAC questions the use of outline planning permission, given the importance of the site, the relationship of the new suburban housing to the Vulcan building, a lack of any relationship with the architecture of Old Portsmouth, the planning of the northern part of the site, 'poor skyline' and connections from the site to the north and to the south.

In February, commissioner Colin Stansfield Smith pledged to support the Portsmouth Society in its detailed objections to a Millennium Tower scheme on the site.

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