They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So it has always been extremely frustrating that many people’s initial view of Portsmouth as they travelled along the M275 was the unsightly military scrapyard at Tipner.
Home to old submarines, amphibious vehicles and tanks, it was hardly an inviting vista.
Worse still, it said absolutely nothing about how the city beyond was being transformed into an exciting 21st century destination.
The combination of a rich maritime past and a go-ahead future epitomised by the Gunwharf harbourside retail and homes development and the iconic Spinnaker Tower was being badly let down by a gateway that was, frankly, an eyesore.
Well, no more. We’ve already reported on the creation of a much-needed new park and ride facility at Tipner that should play a part in relieving Portsmouth’s traffic problems.
Today we also reveal an artist’s impression of how the first houses to be built on the site will look.
During all those years when people bemoaned the state of Tipner, they hoped the day would finally come when the area was cleaned up and presented a smarter face to visitors. Now it is closer than ever.
The Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the 17,000 square metre plot to the east of Tipner, has selected a developer to build the first homes there.
Radian’s proposals for 80 new and affordable properties are due to be submitted to the city council for consideration this summer.
Eventually Tipner could see 600 homes built as a vital part of the city’s regeneration that will consign the old eyesore to history and create in its place a vibrant waterside community.
After all the hopes and false dawns, Radian’s plans on page 10 are tantalisingly close to reality.
As Kathy Wadsworth, the council’s strategic director of regeneration, says: ‘Regeneration of Tipner has been talked about for decades and now things are actually happening, it will be fantastic to see the first homes built.’
We couldn’t put it better ourselves.