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Crest tower hit by heritage delay

CONTRACTS HAMPSHIRE

PLANS to build a £60 million residential tower in Portsmouth could be sunk because of objections by heritage bodies to demolishing a Georgian house to make way for the scheme.

Developer Crest Homes has submitted plans for 542 flats, four commercial units and an 18-storey tower overlooking the harbour.

Laing O'Rourke, Ardmore and Taylor Woodrow have all been shortlisted for the £60 million scheme.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is now deciding whether to call the case in. It is not due to make a decision until the end of this month at the earliest.

Heritage body the Georgian Group, which has a statutory right to be notified of applications to demolish listed buildings, has objected and says the property should be incorporated into the development.

But a project insider said: 'If the listed building doesn't go the whole scheme will have to go back to the drawing board.The house isn't in use and is in pretty poor condition.'

As well as the new tower there will be a two-deck car park with 750 spaces divided between residents and visitors to the nearby Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The existing site, owned by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, is being used as a car park for visitors to the dockyard, which is home to the Mary Rose and Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory as well as the Royal Naval Museum.

The car park site is home to a toilet block and several unused buildings, including the Georgian building.

Crest Homes is hoping to start work this August, with completion by February 2009.

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