Northern Quarter axed: So what next?

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So what happens now that Portsmouth’s £300m Northern Quarter plan has been axed?

Portsmouth City Council and developer Centros are working on a ‘fall-back plan’ to see if an alternative regeneration scheme for the site of the former Tricorn Centre can be brought to life.

Centros is also keen to get another commercial partner on board which will provide investment.

What further work will need to be done by Centros to ensure the land is eventually redeveloped?

Because of the economic recession in 2008, not all of the land around the site was acquired through a compulsory purchase order.

So Centros and Portsmouth City Council will need to go through that legal process with landowners to ensure the developer can take over extra space.

It’s a procedure that can take a year or more depending on if there are any challenges.

What is the new timescale? Can we expect work to happen anytime soon?

The future of the site and a proposal for any alternative scheme will not be known for some months. Any new proposal will require lengthy design work, go out for public consultation and a planning application would need to be submitted to the council for consideration. So we are potentially still years away from seeing any work happening on the land.

Can Portsmouth City Council just get rid of Centros and hire another developer to transform the land?

No, that is not legally possible.

While Portsmouth City Council owns the land formerly occupied by The Tricorn Centre, Centros holds the lease and its contract does not expire for another 50 years.

While the council only takes a peppercorn rent, it cannot terminate the contract early.

Aside from the economic recession in 2008, what were the holdups in work ever happening on the Northern Quarter shopping development?

Acquisition of land surrounding the site for development was challenged in the High Court and meant work was delayed.

Will an alternative plan for the future use of the former Tricorn Centre site be of far less financial value?

Portsmouth City Council has admitted any future development will be smaller, and have more houses and leisure facilities, such as a cinema.

Ultimately, this will mean it will not have the same £300m value as the major shopping complex proposed.

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