Planning success for former HM Prison Kingston site

A scheme to regenerate Portsmouth’s former HM Prison Kingston into 267 homes has been given planning approval and listed building consent by Portsmouth City Council.

Grant Associates is designing the landscape strategy for the Victorian gaol, which is being masterplanned by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on behalf of City & Country Group. The scheme is expected to be brought forward as a joint venture with Vivid Homes delivering the new build elements of the scheme.

In an amendment to the 2016 planning and listed building consent, the total number of one, two and three-bedroom homes has been increased from 230 to 267 units, of which 183 are expected to be affordable housing delivered by Vivid Homes.

Completed in 1877, the iconic structure is a prime example of a radial prison design that found favour in the late 19th century. The idea was that prisoners, housed in radiating cells, could be observed from a central rotunda. 

Closed as a prison in 2013, the building’s cell wings, chapel and infirmary will be re-modelled for residential use, with new-build, low-rise apartment blocks located to the edges of the site. The former prison’s listed walls will be retained and its gatehouse redeveloped, incorporating a small café.  

Grant Associates’ design concept for the scheme considers the landscape as primarily shared space, to bring residents together. Guided by the concept of ‘Living in a Garden’, the landscape strategy also aims to unite the site’s historic and new build elements.

Details of the landscape strategy are below:

·         Enclosed courtyard gardens. These exploit the strong radial geometry of the site, incorporating the commanding presence of the stone-built boundary walls

·         Rain gardens. Located around the perimeter of a central garden square, rain gardens provide a catchment for rainwater runoff from paved surfaces and roofs. Plants tolerant of wet conditions will be used in these areas to create a new wildlife habitat, exploiting the site’s conditions

·         Trees. Extensive tree planting of various species will help create and frame views and vistas throughout the site, further adding to the landscape character, as well as the ecological and amenity value of the site.

Planning approval and listed building consent for the scheme is subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement.

"It’s wonderful to see this unusual scheme further evolve with the expectation it will deliver a significant proportion of affordable homes. Our role is to transform people’s perceptions of the former prison site, creating leafy and green communal spaces for residents and visitors to use and enjoy, as well as provide important habitat for wildlife."

Keith French, director at Grant Associates
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About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice. Our work reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

Our design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology. We bring original thinking, creative collaboration and are exploring what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture.

Our varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures.