PORTSMOUTH will get a brand new city centre Morrisons superstore, it was announced today.
The supermarket chain has revealed it plans to build a 30,000 sq ft development in the city’s run-down Victory Retail Park.
A deal was completed after Portsmouth City Council negotiated a land-swap with a view to eventually expanding the road network serving the city centre.
The land was originally bought by furnishings giant IKEA as part of the planned regeneration of Tipner, but sat empty following the recession.
Now it has been snapped up by Morrisons who believe their new store will bring between 300 and 400 jobs to the city.
It will join Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarkets which already trade in Portsmouth’s city centre.
Conservative finance chief, Cllr Donna Jones, said it was wonderful to have a new supermarket coming to the city but she was disappointed to have missed out on IKEA.
She said: ‘Of course I am delighted to see Morrisons buying the land, it will mean new business and new jobs coming to Portsmouth and that has to be a good thing.
‘However I am extremely disappointed that we haven’t ended up with an IKEA. People will travel from across the region to visit an IKEA, they will eat there and stay to see the city.
‘That is not something you can really say about Morrisons, and I blame the city’s Lib Dems for letting that opportunity go to waste.’
But the city’s head of regeneration and economic development, Cllr Mike Hancock, rejected suggestions that the council had settled for second best.
He said: ‘IKEA bought a piece of land that was never going to be big enough for the store they wanted to open, and they were not really serious about moving to Portsmouth.
‘It was a speculative purchase to give them a foothold in the city which maybe in time they would have been able to use by buying more land.
‘But what the council has negotiated is the promise of a fantastic new supermarket and the new road network needed for the Northern Quarter development, which we are dedicated to safeguarding.’