Commitment to invest is a good sign for Portsmouth

Jabba the Hutts palace on the inhospitable Tatooine

RICK JACKSON: Orange skies, pungent pongs and trumpets from heaven – what a world!

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Sometimes you’ve got to stand back a little in order to see the bigger picture.

If you get too close to the trees, you can’t always get the best view of the wood.

But if you take the time to take just a few steps back it’s a good chance to see what’s out there on the horizon.

While some of the plans announced as part of the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth strategy will sound more familiar than others, today gives us the chance to get an overview of the proposals. And when you slot all the jigsaw pieces together it’s heartening to see what that means for our city.

Despite the country’s economic problems there’s a staggering £1bn worth of new investment on offer.

During a recession it is easy to imagine that everything – including investment – might come to a grinding halt.

Although Portsmouth hasn’t escaped its share of spending cuts it’s good to see that there’s a commitment being made to the future growth of our city.

When it comes to schemes such as the Northern Quarter, we know it’s not been smooth sailing in the past. It was the downturn in the economic climate that put those plans on hold. Now it’s reassuring to see that the hunger to create an area we can be proud of is still there.

Of course we should all be eager to see Portsmouth get the transformation it so desperately needs.

And the creation of jobs, homes, better transport networks and facilities are all to be welcomed.

There are those who seem to view our city as some sort of poor relation when compared to our near neighbour Southampton.

People point to that city’s shopping centre and booming cruise ship business as signs of its prosperous development. It’s true, Southampton has many things – but then so do we.

Our unique island city has a maritime history that makes us the envy of the world and a seafront that should never lose its place as the jewel in our crown.

Now we’ve got the opportunity to build on that with some exciting plans that will show we’re not just open for business – we mean business too.