We hope that development can become a reality

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At a time when everybody is desperately hoping for an improvement in the economy, investment is key.

If companies show the confidence to spend their money on development, then there is a knock-on effect. It’s just as much about perception as the physical buildings that are created and the economic benefit they bring.

So we’re delighted today to reveal bold plans for what, come 2014, could be Portsmouth’s own version of The Shard in London.

The old, dilapidated Brunel House on The Hard is set to be transformed by construction firm Warings into an imposing structure including a 200-bed hotel, a 600-bed student halls of residence, private homes with parking and shops.

We already have the iconic Spinnaker Tower soaring above Gunwharf and the harbour. Now, a short distance away, we could see another towering edifice that would underline Portsmouth’s growing reputation as a go-ahead city.

We can boast all the rich heritage of the historic dockyard and the navy, but we are also forward-looking, willing to embrace the futuristic.

Judging by the artist’s impressions, the new Brunel House’s stepped glass design will offer something different and dramatic to the city skyline.

The plans, outlined by Bouygues Development which, along with Warings, is part of the French construction giant Bouygues, are on show at the John Pounds Centre in Old Portsmouth today from 5pm until 8pm and tomorrow from 12pm until 6pm.

We urge as many people as possible to get along and have a look. The Bouygues team will be on hand to discuss the plans, listen to feedback and answer questions.

Public response will have a big part to play in whether this development goes ahead. The plans have already been seen by council members, the Portsmouth Society, Friends of Old Portsmouth and the Portsea Action Group.

Now it’s your turn. And if you say you like it and it fits in with planning regulations, the transformation could well become a reality. We certainly hope so.