REDEVELOPING the gateway to Portsmouth is closer than ever before as work to clean up the site is set to begin.
Portsmouth City Council has announced plans to decontaminate the toxic land at Tipner.
It believes it is on the brink of the first steps in the area’s regeneration project, in which homes, shops and open spaces will be created.
The start of work would mark the end of a 30-year wait to improve the north west of the city.
Kathy Wadsworth, the council director in charge of the project, said: ‘It’s very exciting.
‘For the first time we’re at a point where we can really see things moving.
‘Our road improvement bid’s at a good stage with the government and we’re soon to apply to decontaminate the land where building work’s planned.
‘The plans have been in place for decades. We’ve been talking about improving the image of the entrance point to the city, and now we’re really close.’
The plans for Tipner include up to 1,600 homes, 1,500 jobs, park areas and a park and ride site.
As reported last month, a £30m new junction off the M275 to enable the scheme has made the shortlist for government funding. A final decision will be made in December.
The council is preparing tendering documents so the junction work can start in January next year.
It will apply for permission to decontaminate land next month, and hopes for a decision by early autumn.
Ms Wadsworth said: ‘The site’s been used for industrial purposes for a very long time, and parts were a council dump.
‘We expect there’s oil, rubbish and other toxic waste.
‘We want to be decontaminating land while work starts on the junction.
‘It’s the closest we’ve been and we’re working to have everything in place, so we can make the earliest possible start. It’s a good point to be at. Things are coming closer to taking place.’
The council plans to involve the public in its decontamination and building proposals.
Ms Wadsworth said: ‘We have plans in place for moving waste, including by sea as well as road, as we don’t want the roads to be too full, and we don’t want residents to be badly disturbed by building work.
‘We will keep talking to them and welcome their involvement in what happens next.’
Obections to ‘piecemeal’ plan
FRUSTRATED residents unanimously objected to the latest plans to redevelop Tipner.
At a poorly-attended meeting of the Stamshaw and Tipner Neighbourhood Forum last night it became clear that work to decontaminate the site would happen on different parcels of land at different times.
And lorry movements taking waste away from land currently occupied by PD Fuels would happen via Twyford Avenue.
Diane Lendrum, who lives in that road, which is opposite the main entrance to the Mountbatten Centre, said: ‘We have been promised over many years that waste would be taken off the site by barge. But the PD Fuels piece of land has no waterfront access so it will have to be taken out along Twyford Avenue.’
Ward councillor Leo Madden suggested that residents should not accept piecemeal development of the site.
He said: ‘Access to the site during and after the development needs to be from the new slip-roads off the M275 and not via residential roads.
‘Residents have been telling me for years that they will not support anything which means using residential roads to develop this site.’
All four residents who attended the meeting backed his proposal.