Northern Quarter plans ‘moving along’

An artist's impression of the Northern Quarter development
An artist's impression of the Northern Quarter development
Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward, mayor and mayoress Cllr Geoff  and Tina Fazackarley, with other councillors at the topping out Picture: Malcolm Wells (171120-8909)

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ASSURANCES have been made that the long-awaited Northern Quarter retail development will still go ahead.

Plans to build a shopping and leisure complex on the former Tricorn site have been more than 10 years in the making, but nothing has yet materialised.

A public consultation was carried out last October but developer Centros has given no further details of the £300m scheme since.

Now the company has revealed it is ‘enthusiastically’ pushing forward with the Northern Quarter and is in talks with the council about what exactly should be created.

In a statement, Centros said achieving the ‘right balance’ of uses is key to its success.

It added that ‘residential, office and employment space, educational and cultural facilities, with quality public space and landscaping could be incorporated’.

The scheme has faced years of uncertainty and at one point in 2009 was shelved due to the recession.

It is regarded as the key to the regeneration of Portsmouth’s city centre.

The latest plans have been scaled down from previous versions with costs originally in the region of £500m.

A planning application is expected to be submitted once discussions with the council have finished and a resolution is found.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: ‘Discussions are continuing over this very important project.’

A spokesman for Centros said: ‘We remain very confident that we can deliver a development of the Northern Quarter that will not only regenerate the city centre, create hundreds of jobs and generate a major economic boost, but will also give Portsmouth something to be very proud of.’

Shopping development has had rocky past

AFTER years of planning, the Northern Quarter was set to go ahead in 2009.

But a lengthy judicial review, problems with compulsory purchase orders and the recession, the project was postponed.

A new timeline was agreed in 2010 with work set to begin before the end of 2015.

Portsmouth City Council then agreed to a request from Centros to allow an extra 12 to 21 months if necessary, potentially delaying the start of building work until 2017. Cultural leaders suggested earlier this year that a visitor attraction dedicated to Sherlock Holmes could be included. Centros said it would look into the idea.