Company ‘ditches’ Bournemouth over ‘anti-social behaviour fears’

The housing association, understood to be Hampshire-based Sovereign Housing, ‘pulled out’ of investing in 31 affordable apartments in Upper Terrace Road. 

Documents submitted in the original planning application last August said Sovereign Housing (SGN) would buy the site with “intentions to bring this scheme forwards as a 100 per cent affordable housing scheme”. 

Eddie Fitzsimmons, of Vivir Properties, claimed at a planning committee meeting on Thursday, March 14 that ‘social housing companies pulled out’ because of ASB.

Bournemouth Echo: Upper Terrace RoadUpper Terrace Road (Image: Daily Echo)

Bournemouth Echo:

He told councillors: “We were going along with this scheme to be 100 per cent affordable and then astonishingly the social housing companies pulled out.  

“They didn’t want it for a simple reason, and it’s astonishing, I’ve never known it in 30 years, because they didn’t want it in the town centre because of the anti-social behaviour.  

“That is an incredible statement for a social housing to pull out and say Bournemouth is a no-go area for social housing.” 

Responding to questions from the Echo around anti-social behaviour concerns in Bournemouth town centre, a spokesman for SGN declined to comment on the claims. 

He responded: “SNG remains wholly committed to new, affordable homes in Bournemouth and we have recently exchanged on a new site with Cala Homes and are working with another developer on a further site.  

“We are also putting our own Christchurch site up for development for new, affordable homes.” 

Mr Fitzsimmons added: “My opinion is we need to regenerate this area by putting good housing in, we’ve got to encourage people to live in the town centre. 

“If you invest in an area then people take pride in what they’re doing and it actually regenerates. If you leave it baron, an empty fly-tipping area is what it becomes.” 

Bournemouth Echo: David Simmons (left) and David JamesDavid Simmons (left) and David James (Image: BCP Council)

Architect David James, involved in the application, said Bournemouth is “desperately in need of redevelopment”, explaining he is giving the opportunity for 31 new apartments. 

The pair called on the committee to defer the decision on the application until a site visit had been done by councillors. 

Conservative ward councillor Hazel Allen said the apartments would “add nothing to the area”, and described the design as “blocky, bulky, far-too-tall and uninspiring”. 

Cllr Michael Tarling said he was “shocked” to hear about the social housing provider’s comments, adding: “I think that’s absolutely disgraceful and they should hang their heads in shame.” 

The proposals, opposite the Hilton Hotel, would fill a plot of land that has been empty for some two decades. 

After an hour of discussion, the application was eventually refused with no deferral. 

Bournemouth Echo | News