There is always something going on in the Portsmouth area, and just taking a quick look through this year’s diary proves 2014 will be no exception.
There will be the excitement of the 25th Great South Run, when some of the world’s elite athletes will come to Portsmouth to take part.
There will also be a raft of regeneration work planned, such as the revamp of The Hard and Tipner, as well as new flood defences for the A27.
On a more sombre note, Portsmouth will be the focal point for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, as well as the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when it is hoped heads of state will pay a visit to the city.
THE eyes of the world will be on Portsmouth once again this year as the city marks 70 years since D-Day.
US President Barack Obama and the Queen have been invited to the city on June 5 as commemorations take place here.
Portsmouth City Council has already secured some funding for events.
And plans are being made to involve as many people as possible in the retelling of the daring military strike in the Second World War.
Thousands of people are also expected to pass through Portsmouth on their way to Normandy, where events are taking place all year round.
The influx of visitors is hoped to give the city’s economy a boost, as people travel through.
Portsmouth is set to become the focal point of D-Day commemorations after securing hundreds of thousands of pounds in European funding.
The 70th anniversary of D-Day falls on June 6.
And plans for Portsmouth to lead the way in marking the milestone became a reality last year after Portsmouth City Council secured a share of £1m from the European Union.
FIRST WORLD WAR ANNIVERSARY
MILITARY commemorations will form a large part of events this year, including the centenary of the start of the First World War.
The major milestone will see the opening of a new exhibition in the newly-constructed Babcock Galleries at Portsmouth’s National Museum of the Royal Navy.
HMS – Hear My Story opens at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in spring this year.
It will tell the undiscovered stories from the ordinary men, women and ships which have made the Royal Navy’s amazing history over the past 100 years.
Through cutting edge interpretation techniques, people can see and hear the stories of the Royal Navy through war and peace, from the storms of the Arctic to the heat of Afghanistan.
GREAT SOUTH RUN ANNIVERSARY
THE Great South Run reaches its 25th anniversary in October.
The event started life in Southampton in 1990 before moving to Portsmouth 12 months later. There are now around 25,000 people taking part each year, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity as they run the 10-mile course. Since it began, more than £30m has been raised for good causes.
In 1993, Gary Staines became the first British winner of the men’s race, setting a course record of 46min 11sec.
All eyes will be on Glasgow this summer as the city hosts the 20th Commonwealth Games (July 23 to August 3).
It promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with action coming thick and fast from famous Scottish stadia such as Hampden Park and state-of-the-art new venues including the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
And there will be a raft of local athletes going for gold north of the border.
Former Stubbington Green athlete Andy Vernon – the first Brit home in the 2014 Great South Run – holds major claims in the 5,000m and 10,000m on the track.
And among the others will be hockey player Richard Smith, above.
He helped Team GB to fourth at London 2012 and will be targeting the podium on his return to England colours.
POMPEY ON THE UP
After the city united to save Portsmouth Football Club in 2013, fans will be hoping for a brighter year on the pitch.
Richie Barker, left, was last month appointed as manager to improve the Blues’ fortunes, with the initial aim of avoiding a relegation battle in League Two.
Beyond that short-term target, the Fratton faithful will be hoping 2014 will see the side return to winning ways after five years of seemingly endless defeats.
Time for the players to shine.
QUEEN ELIZABETH AIRCRAFT CARRIER LAUNCHES
HER giant hull has been taking shape for years in a dry dock, but this year will see HMS Queen Elizabeth finally launched.
The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, which will be based in Portsmouth, is the biggest warship ever built for the navy.
She will be launched this year, ahead of sea trials and an eventual maiden entry into Portsmouth. The main launch activities will take place in Rosyth, Scotland, where the ship is being built.
But it is expected there will be some kind of celebration in Portsmouth at the same time. It will be a tremendous celebration for those workers involved in one of the most complex naval projects in UK history.
It will also be a reason for Portsmouth to celebrate, as the time draws closer to the ship arriving in the city.
THE HARD REGENERATION
PORTSMOUTH’S skyline will be changing forever this year.
Work is set to begin to transform Brunel House, in The Hard, into a soaring glass tower that will become Portsmouth’s own version of The Shard.
The land that the 1960s Brunel House sits on is owned by Southampton-based City Estates, a large commercial property firm.
Its plan is to demolish Brunel House and build the tower, which will provide 600 student beds and 250 privately-owned apartments, car park and shops.
It will also begin the long-awaited regeneration of the dilapidated area between Gunwharf Quays and the Historic Dockyard.
TOWN CENTRES RECOVER
A MARKS & Spencer outlet is set to open in Waterlooville town centre, bringing much-needed jobs and footfall.
Work is also under way to build a Sainsbury’s supermarket in the town.
These are just two examples that show the green shoots of economic recovery are taking root in this area.
There are several new shops opening in Leigh Park and in Havant town centre, plans are afoot to regenerate the area next to the railway station, Market Parade.
Plans are set to be submitted to the borough council to create a new restaurant quarter.
WORK at the enterprise zone will be well on its way.
Around 4,000 jobs are due to be created.
Councillor Mark Hook, Gosport’s leader, said: ‘We’ll see the road going in and the utilities during the course of 2014 and commercial sites.’
As previously reported, the advanced engineering zone is getting a £3m loan from Solent LEP and £5.3m investment from the Homes and Community Agency.
Fareham College is due to have its new £12m college on the site.
Fareham leader Cllr Sean Woodward said the site’s runway makes it unique.
NEW THEATRE ROYAL REVAMP
HAVING closed its doors last May, 2014 will be a year to remember for the New Theatre Royal.
The theatre in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, will throwing open its doors in autumn. Millions of pounds has been spent to build two new buildings and revamp the current stage area.
Working with the University of Portsmouth, the theatre will house a centre and stage for the visual arts students and a space where they can learn to make props and do theatre make-up.
Executive director Caroline Sharman said: ‘We are creating a great community place where we can put on productions that are from the people of Portsmouth for the people of Portsmouth.’
MORE shoppers and tourists will hopefully be attracted to Portsmouth following the completion of a new multi-million pound park-and-ride site at Tipner.
The £28m scheme off the M275 southbound off-slip is expected to be completed by this spring.
It will contain more than 600 parking spaces and an eco-friendly passenger-waiting facility.
Regular buses operated by First Bus will run to The Hard.
The park-and-ride is one of the key elements of a £130m project to regenerate Tipner.
EASING A32 CONGESTION
This year will see the start of a massive road improvement and upgrade plan, costing £10m, to ease congestion in Fareham and Gosport.
Executive member for transport Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘The over-arching theme is economy. These improvements will bring a boost to the local economy and getting traffic moving is part of that.’
It is expected that Newgate Lane will be the first part of the project, starting in the spring. Western Way will see work to move the bus lane to one side, gaining an extra lane of traffic.
A bus gate will be installed on Quay Street Roundabout and work will be undertaken at Peel Common roundabout, HMS Collingwood entrance and Station Roundabout.
THE Environment Agency is poised to secure funding for a flood alleviation scheme for Selangor Avenue and the Nore Farm Steam in Emsworth.
Developers have drawn up plans to create a wetland area to tame the West Brook stream.
Chris Clode, chairman of Emsworth Flood Action Group, said: ‘There should be something positive.’
On Hayling, residents will reap the benefits of a recently-completed £6m coastal protection scheme.
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