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Disabled residents advise on plans to replace Portsmouth tower blocks

Residents with disabilities took a tour of a new tower block redevelopment in Portsmouth to show the design team how to make the area work better for them. 

The Council is bringing down the 1960s Horatia and Leamington Houses in Somerstown and replacing them with a sustainable mixed-use urban neighbourhood.

The tour was organised by Portsmouth resident Gina Perryman, who is a wheelchair user, because she wanted people with disabilities to have the chance to show the design team from Karakusevic Carson Architects how they could plan the new development to make it easier for disabled people to use.

Gina Perryman said: ‘It’s great the project was able to involve disabled people so early on – their advice is invaluable because they can give practical solutions that designers may not have considered.

‘Disability is so far-reaching and it’s not always possible to do everything but engaging with disabled people early in the scheme hopefully will go some way to ensure equal access for everyone.’

Portsmouth demolition firm Hughes and Salvidge have started to bring the buildings down from the top, with the Council committing to replacing the tower blocks with a minimum of the 272 council-owned homes that will be lost.

The development is also expected to improve green open space, play areas and community facilities.

Kieren Majhail, head of the design team for Karakusevic Carson Architects, said: ‘The feedback and insight from the group was amazing, we got the opportunity to listen to the individual views from a diverse group of local people living with different disabilities.

‘They shared their ideas on what they would like to see in the new development to help make it more accessible for all people. We would love to continue the engagement with the group as the ideas become more developed.’

In related news, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has agreed funding to help deliver 5,000 affordable and sustainable homes on brownfield land.

Photo Credit – Portsmouth City Council

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