Rivalry over ARTches plans

Hundreds of people have signed a new online petition supporting the development of Old Portsmouth’s arches.

The second petition backs the council’s plans to transform the arches into 13 art studios, three café’s and public toilets.

In just two days of being created it gained over 1,200 signatures and now totals over 1,700.

The project plans to develop the unused arches into a tourist spot and create a range of jobs and opportunities for the area.

Project manager Clair Looney said: “A new supporting petition has been created online.

“There has been a great deal of interest in the petition.”

Local residents have previously drawn up their own petition opposing the transformation gaining over 1,600 signatures.

Residents have expressed concerns over parking and financial costs.

Anita Stepnitz, who set up the opposing petition said: “The objections are varied from planning issues like lack of parking, through to where the business plans are for the ARTches cafe’s.

“The arches are an ancient scheduled monument and of historic importance to the country, not just Portsmouth.

“Those against it feel it will change a residential area of outstanding heritage into an overdeveloped parade of shops.

Keith Feltham, member of Friends of Old Portsmouth, said: “Local residents are not happy with the ARTches proposals fearing it will create rowdiness and disturbance if the scheme is implemented.”

The council carried out a consultation earlier in the year that received results stating 91% of people who attended were in favour of the proposals.

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