DEMOLITION work has begun to knock down one of Portsmouth’s ‘concrete carbuncles’.
The multimillion-pound project to improve The Hard terminal was kick-started by a bulldozer tearing down walls of the aging bus interchange.
The start of the £7m scheme was watched by Portsmouth council leader Donna Jones along with Sarah Ishak, nine, and Jack Betts, 10, who are pupils at St George’s Beneficial Church of England Primary School.
Cllr Jones said the move was a perfect chance to rejuvenate the city’s transport hub.
‘This bus interchange was built in the fifties and it’s really not fit for purpose,’ she said.
‘This is the gateway into the city. We’re a city that relies so heavily on tourism with over 13,000 people employed in our tourist-related businesses
‘So having a gateway to the city in The Hard that’s really fit for purpose – a 21st century modern bus interchange with real-time bus information systems and a beautiful glass roof so you can see the amazing Warrior behind it – is essential.’
The work is being carried out by contractor Osborne.
The demolition has been welcomed by businessman Tony Jefferson, manager of City Wide Taxis in The Hard.
He said: ‘The old building before was hideous.
‘It was a typical 1960s/1970s concrete carbuncle.
‘I’m happy to see it go. The new interchange might just be the kick-start that The Hard needs.’
The scheme has been in development for several years, with the planning application being submitted in April last year.
The new interchange will provide better link buses, trains and ferries, making it easier to navigate and enable pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to share space more safely, the council said.
The new facility is expected to be completed in autumn of 2016.