THE long-term plan for a large city centre development in Portsmouth ‘will be scrapped’ at a meeting this week, the former leader of the council claims.
Lib Dem Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson believes Tory leader Donna Jones’ plan to sever Centros’ deal to bring the Northern Quarter retail complex to life completely spells the end of the big vision to regenerate the site.
Cllr Jones believes a bigger aspiration for the Market Way estate needs to come forward, and potentially removing Centros will enable that to happen.
But Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Following a discussion with council officers, it is clear that the council will expect the main landowner to do a small development on the land they own without the co-operation of the council.
‘This means the plans for a large scale redevelopment of the city centre is now dead.
‘Another effect is that the other landowners, like the shopkeepers on Charlotte Street, will be shut out of the scheme even though their land values have been blighted.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson also believes the council is also owed £1.8m owned by Centros, as opposed to £450,000 quoted in council papers.
He added: ‘No wonder investors are not wanting to build or invest in Portsmouth when the city council has spent almost £40m of taxpayers’ money on buying shops and other commercial property outside of Portsmouth and not invested even £1 in Portsmouth.’
Cllr Jones has said that the deal she’s looking to axe should have been carried out in 2013, when it was becoming clear Centros could not deliver on its plans.