WATCH: Council leader outlines high-rise vision for Portsmouth city centre

Rae Bryden, manager at Joules in Gunwharf Quays, who was the Manager of the Year winner and was runner-up in the Fashion Store of the Year category at The News's Retail and Leisure Awards in 2016.  Picture: Sarah Standing (170883-5016)

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HIGH-RISE tower blocks hold the key to the transformation of Portsmouth’s city centre, says the leader of the council.

Councillor Donna Jones says a ‘tall buildings strategy’ will guide the authority’s new City Centre North masterplan for the former Tricorn Centre site and surrounding land off Market Way.

Portsmouth City Council has revealed a new image of plans for the Northern Quarter area in the city centre

Picture released February 2017 PPP-170217-134939001

Portsmouth City Council has revealed a new image of plans for the Northern Quarter area in the city centre Picture released February 2017 PPP-170217-134939001

In a video about the 10-year vision – which includes the construction of a £46m road network running parallel to the dockyard wall – Cllr Jones revealed pockets of high-rise buildings will shape a ‘new quarter of the city’.

She said: ‘Getting in and out of Portsmouth as quickly as possible is absolutely essential.

‘In addition to this, we need to build thousands of new homes to accommodate the growth in population of the city.

‘So we want to have a really amazing tall building strategy; and ensure that as you come down the M275, you don’t go across all the roundabouts and past the former Tricorn car park site.

This is important because it will not only speed up traffic going in and out of Portsmouth, it will reduce pollution levels, but will also give us the opportunity to create an amazing skyline of tall buildings with apartments, retail and leisure...

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

‘Instead you will swing a right, and you will go along the dockyard wall into the city, just the same way as you exit the city.’

It comes after The News revealed the council has scrapped pursuing a single large shopping centre called the Northern Quarter and instead trigger the creation of 2,600 homes.

It’s hoped land between Princess Royal Road and Cascades Shopping Centre will help create 9,700 jobs in retail and leisure.

The council has already set aside £15m for the new road network, but is pleading to the government and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership for another £21m to ensure it becomes a reality.

Cllr Jones added: ‘This is important because it will not only speed up traffic going in and out of Portsmouth, it will reduce pollution levels, but will also give us the opportunity to create an amazing skyline of tall buildings with apartments, retail and leisure, right there at the top of Commercial Road, where the Sainsbury’s site is, the shops alongside Sainsbury’s and those roundabouts.

‘They will come out and form a new quarter of the city.’

Readers have voiced mixed views.

Emma Harrington said: ‘Proper, purpose built flats have got to be better than the constant conversion of regular houses into squalor type HMO.’

Nicky Brown said: How about a decent shopping centre, we’ve been promised that for years.’