Former Premier League boss Harry Redknapp is planning a huge upmarket development project in Bournemouth, containing 21 flats and three mews houses.
The football manager intends to demolish a former hotel and replace it with apartments priced between £160,000 and £300,000.
The homes will be open to buyers using the government’s help-to-buy scheme.
Redknapp and his wife Sandra are the sole directors of Pierfront Developments, the property company behind a number of planned residential schemes in the Bournemouth, Poole and Torquay areas.
In March 2016, Pierfront paid £1.25 million for the freehold of the former Belgravia Hotel in the town’s East Cliff conservation area.
The property company originally planned for 32 flats, but this was turned down by Bournemouth council in February for being “overly large and unsympathetic”, unsuitable for a conservation area and not providing a “high standard of living conditions for future occupants”.
The council also said the proposals “fail to make an appropriate contribution towards affordable housing”.
The Redknapps are pressing on with the scheme and have put in a fresh application for a smaller block of apartments, plus the mews houses.
The plans have received a lot of criticism from local residents, who have argued they would result in 30 people being made homeless, including several with disabilities, cancer sufferers, ex-offenders and other vulnerable individuals.
The Victorian building currently provides bedsit accommodation which is run by leaseholders Gerry and Wendy Hunt. They received notice that their tenancy would end in June 2017 because Pierfront wanted to pull down the building and build flats.
Clifford Henley, one of the residents, claimed Redknapp stood to make a fortune from the 21 flats and three mews houses.
He argued the proposals would mean “the destruction of this perfectly habitable building for massive profit … It’s just walking over poor people”.
Henley said he found the plans particularly galling because Bournemouth was the town that made Harry Redknapp – the 70-year-old played for Bournemouth during the early 1970s and began his long career as a manager at the club in 1983.
The Hunts bought the property in 1988 and run it commercially as a large house in multiple occupation (HMO). There are nine studio flats, one flat and 19 bedrooms, and it is home to 28 people, all men, some of whom have lived there for up to 10 years. Several residents are on benefits.
Gareth Davies, a spokesman for Pierfront, said: “None of the residents are aware of the details of the financial investment, risk and fair commercial expectation of return that is associated with this scheme. Pierfront acquired the property without planning permission, fully aware of the tenant being in place and with a short period of time until the tenancy was to end. The development is not ‘posh’, the units ranging from £160,000 to £300,000, and with the help-to-buy scheme currently available in support.”
He said the new plans would reduce the mass and bulk of the building by about 25% and increase the amenity space by 20%.
Redknapp has had a 34-year managerial career spanning 1,399 matches with Bournemouth, West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth (twice), Southampton, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City.
DealMakerz is interested to see yet another football player turn to property development to boost their fortunes.
Redknapp follows in the footsteps of stars like Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville and Dion Dublin. Fowler has been so successful he even started a training centre for new property entrepreneurs.
Hopefully the Redknapps will be able to come up with a solution that keeps the locals happy.