WORK to change the face of Portsmouth forever has officially got underway today.
Government local transport minister Norman Baker officially launched the regeneration of Tipner this morning, which will begin with the construction of a new junction off the M275 as well as a park and ride.
He was responsible for agreeing to give Portsmouth City Council £19.5m to help pay for the scheme.
The work is being carried out by Colas, and is expected to be completed by 2014.
Portsmouth City Council has been fighting for the regeneration of Tipner for at least the last two generations, and these new works are widely regarding as heralding the beginning of a £1bn improvement in Portsmouth as a whole.
Mike Hancock, the city council’s regeneration cabinet member, said: ‘Four years from now people will be living here, there will hopefully be a hotel, and we’ll have a new park and ride which will relieve some of the traffic problems in the city.
‘This is all part of a £1bn project that we launched last year and I’m extremely grateful to Norman Baker for meeting with us on three occasions, and coming down to visit the site last year.’
The new junction will provide access to the park and ride on the east of the M275 as well as unlocking the land to its west for future development.
There will be no access for motorway traffic to reach existing residential areas in order to prevent rat-running in the area.
The park and ride site has plans for 663 spaces, to cater for increasing numbers of visitors to the city centre and seafront, as well as for commuters and major events in the city.
Mr Baker said: ‘The new motorway junction and park and ride scheme will be a boost to the regeneration of the Tipner area as well as benefitting Portsmouth as a whole by helping to reduce congestion on the roads and encouraging businesses and visitors to the city.
‘It’s great that work has begun on this and, along with the other projects being worked on in the city, it can only benefit everyone connected with Portsmouth.’