Portsmouth ‘will struggle’ to build thousands of new homes without government investment

Looking north across Portsmouth. 
Picture: www.shaunroster.com
Looking north across Portsmouth. Picture: www.shaunroster.com
Library services are among those facing cuts

REVEALED: Devastating details of £140m cuts to Hampshire County Council

  • Council leader raises concerns over ability to build thousands of homes
  • Local Plan is being updated with thousands of homes set to be added
  • City is being ‘let down’ by government over investment in transport infrastructure
0
Have your say

THOUSANDS more homes could be built in Portsmouth, despite concerns they will not happen unless the government steps in.

With the authority in the process of building and planning for 8,387 homes up until 2027, it is now planning to expand this to 14,560 in its new Local Plan up to 2034.

This is a city that is crying out for sustainable financial investment. If we are to build these homes, then the question to parliament is where is the money coming from?

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

This meets a quota handed to it by development agency Push.

And this could rise to 17,020 homes when the plan would be later amended up until 2036.

But the city council’s leader Councillor Donna Jones says the government needs to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements before they can be built.

She feels the lack of transport improvements is compromising the authority’s ability to build these homes.

She said: ‘It it all good to say that we need these housing numbers but we are woefully underfunded in terms of transport infrastructure despite being the most densely-populated UK city outside of London.

‘This is a city that is crying out for sustainable financial investment. If we are to build these homes, then the question to parliament is where is the money coming from?

‘I have concerns about Portsmouth’s ability to cope with the level of houses that it needs to build. That number will not be built unless we have investment for our infrastructure.’

The council has highlighted spaces in Tipner, Port Solent, Milton’s St James Hospital and the Langstone Campus as strategic sites for the local plan.

Earlier this year, the Tory-led administration also revealed proposals to build 2,600 homes in the city centre through a strategy called City Centre North – replacing the flagging Northern Quarter project.

Cllr Jones pointed to the government’s HS2 project connecting London to the north and the recent granting of £59.8m towards expanding the Midlands Metro tram route in Birmingham as examples that the south is being snubbed for transport infrastructure improvements.

She added: ‘The government has put generous amounts into the north and midlands for infrastructure improvements but they continue to let us down.

‘We need schemes like Boris Bikes or a skyrail monorail to be considered for the city. Our current transport model is too car-focused.’

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP and city councillor also called for further investment.

He said: ‘I am delighted that the Conservative leader agrees with me that the Tory government is failing Portsmouth and its people. Our great city deserves a fairer share of capital investment from government.’

The Labour MP added that he had lobbied for a better deal and called for a £250bn national transformational fund, in which the city would benefit.

Penny Mordaunt, Tory MP for Portsmouth North added: ‘Tackling congestion, parking and greater connectivity across the region is vital and not doing so will be the main constraint on continuing Portsmouth’s economic growth. Infrastructure has to come before development and a plan is required across all modes.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Liberal Democrat party in Portsmouth, said it should be up to council to decide on housing numbers, not the government.

‘We cannot cope with the numbers the government are forcing us to take,’ he said.

‘It just will not work pushing more and more people into the area. Our schools are becoming increasingly full and our roads are full.’