The masterplan to transform Portsmouth

FUTURISTIC Previous plans unveiled for the Northern Quarter

FUTURISTIC Previous plans unveiled for the Northern Quarter

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PORTSMOUTH City Council has drawn up plans to show how the city could look in the future with huge investment.

The city centre and seafront master plans detail the vast potential Portsmouth has to develop and grow.

MODERNISATION The promenade

MODERNISATION The promenade

Planners have used intricate detail to exhibit the investment opportunities the city centre – such as the northern quarter - and seafront has to offer up to 2027.

Here The News takes you through how the city could be shaped over the next 15 years.

THE NORTHERN QUARTER

REJUVENATING the city’s northern quarter is one of the masterplan’s focal points.

The area has been subject to various planning permissions, which were not implemented, but the council is working with development partner Centros to achieve transformation of the site.

The northern quarter encompasses the area north of the Cascades, Charlotte Street, Brewer Street, part of Commercial Road, Hope Street, and the former Tricorn site.

One of the plan’s aims is to turn the city into a lively and vibrant location once the shops close.

It looks to open a connected network of streets to provide ‘an effective retail circuit and enhanced pedestrian connectivity’ and three new blocks of development.

They would include shops, cafes, restaurants, office space, leisure and cultural facilities, a hotel, and residential opportunities.

Chief planner John Slater said: ‘We want to make Portsmouth the preferred location in south east Hampshire for shopping.

‘We want people spending leisure time and working in the city, and a city centre that doesn’t close at 6pm.

‘It’s about activity and trying to get people to have a reason to use the city centre at all times of day and into the evening.’

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson envisages 2,000 new jobs could be created as a result of regeneration.

The council suggests a new multi-storey car park could be opened north of Market Way catering for the increase in shoppers.

HOPE STREET

ANY successful redevelopment opportunities in the city centre are dependent on a new transport system.

The council’s preferred road layout includes widening Hope Street and turning it into a dual carriageway, with the intention of becoming the new main road in and out of the city.

Additionally, there would be the removal of roundabouts at Mile End Road and Commercial Road, the creation of a new public transport route on Market Way, and a new bus priority route that links up with the park and ride scheme in Tipner.

Principal planning officer Kelly Porter believes one of the biggest issues facing the authority is the road network from the M275 into the city centre.

Chief planner John Slater said: ‘We are trying to put all the traffic associated with new development at the edge of the city centre to make it a more coherent shopping area.’

ARCHITECTURE

A MAJOR regeneration of Portsmouth and Southsea seafront will have to take existing architecture into account, planners say.

They aim to promote ‘progressive design and architecture’ and ensure that new development is of the ‘highest quality’.

New buildings on certain sites will have to ‘respect and complement’ the historical environment.

An example of this is the Grade II listed St Agatha’s Church, which adjoins the northern quarter.

The council says all new buildings should provide consistent identity and character around the church.

GUILDHALL

THE Guildhall area has been pinpointed as a ‘vibrant city quarter’ by the council.

The authority sees the area as supporting a mix of business, cultural, leisure and learning activities with new places to live.

There are opportunities to redevelop the vacant Midland House and occupied Enterprise House near Isambard Brunel Road.

The council will be asking people in the city whether the area should be fully pedestrianised, left as it is, or eligible for taxis and buses only if the plans go to public consultation.

Mr Slater said: ‘This part of the city could be a development for student accommodation and residential accommodation.’

Planners say there are opportunities for a cafe in Isambard Brunel Place to ‘enliven the public realm’ and a hotel fronting the road.

STATION SQUARE

DEVELOPERS could turn Station Square into the city’s ‘business hub’.

The existing former Zurich building could be regenerated for office use, while a new development in Stanhope Road has potential for restaurant and cafe uses.

Principal planning officer Kelly Porter said: ‘Station Square is our business hub and we want to see more hotels in the city, which would be located in this area.’

Chief planner John Slater said: ‘The other thing we are tring to do is get a better entrance into Victoria Park.

‘It’s quite a well hidden secret, particularly in Commercial Road.

‘We want to improve access routes to the park from the whole city centre.’

CITY CENTRE

IMPROVED pedestrian access and gateways forms a major part of the council’s blueprint for a better city centre.

There are opportunities for investors to establish wider pavements in Commercial Road, improved cycle parking, enhanced pedestrian and cycle crossings.

There is an opportunity to create a performance space at the junction with Edinburgh Road, including seating and a canopy.

Market traders could be relocated to Edinburgh Road and Commercial Road South after a pedestrianisation of the area.

The council says there are opportunities to hold more markets.

LAW COURTS

THE council’s masterplan includes the potential to redevelop Portsmouth’s police station and law courts.

Planners describe the current buildings as ‘modestly scaled, plainly finished and contribute little to the overall character of the area’.

But there is scope to develop ‘an importance’ in the Guildhall area through a regenerated police station and law courts, should they wish to redevelop the site.

The new buildings could be between three to six storeys and accommodate a flexible mix of potential uses, including town houses, apartments and offices.

A development could establish the Guildhall area as a mixed-use location.

SEAFRONT

AMBITIOUS plans on Southsea seafront could see Clarence Pier regenerated.

The plans for the seafront stretch more than three miles from Old Portsmouth to Eastney.

Pier plan options include building a new hotel, leisure and transport terminal building, an enlarged hoverpad, kiosks, and a waterside deck.

In Old Portsmouth, planners say there is an opportunity for a new arts and crafts quarter.

The Blue Reef Aquarium could be expanded and enhanced, and a new public space to the west of the aquarium could be formed to include an interactive water feature, artwork and banners.

The council hopes arts opportunities could be increased with the construction of an amphitheatre for outdoor performances, with the band stand moving to the Rose Garden.

There is an opportunity for a new flood defence wall to act as protection and seafront artwork.

Other potential plans include improved promenades, footpaths and boardwalks.

There is also scope for new attractively designed beach huts to cope with increasing demands, more street furniture, and temporary art installations – similar to the popular dinosaur design on Southsea Common in 2011 – to help ‘energise’ the wider seafront area.

ENVIRONMENT

THE masterplan focuses strongly on promoting the environment around the city centre.

The council believes street trees can contribute to the appearance and character of an area and help make streets ‘feel quieter and calmer’.

All development will have to consider existing tree stock around the centre, and emphasis has been placed on the importance of designing appropriate bin and recycling storage areas.

Planners urged developers to design buildings that will increase the likelihood of detection and ‘improve public perceptions of safety’ to cut down crime in the city.

COMPARISONS

PLANNERS looked at other major cities when coming up with plans to rejuvenate Portsmouth city centre.

The ever-evolving cities of Manchester, Bristol and Exeter, as well as parts of London, were thriving areas planners at the city council looked at when putting the masterplans together.

Planner John Slater said: ‘If you look at Gunwharf Quays, it’s a shopping area but people will stay there afterwards, have a meal or go to the cinema, which is what we are looking at.

‘It extends the activity.

‘It doesn’t close when the shops shut, which is when it doesn’t feel safe.

TIMESCALE

POTENTIAL investors have a time scale of 15 years to put these plans into fruition.

Chief planner John Slater said his department have a time period of up to 2027.

Should councillors agree to pass the master plans at Monday’s cabinet meeting, they will be used as guidance for potential developers wanting to invest in the city.

There is no total figure on how much it will cost to follow the council’s proposals as it is unknown which interested investors would be attracted to the city, and why.

But planners say it forms part of the council’s vision of Portsmouth becoming a ‘billion pound city’.

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