PLANS to modernise The Hard Interchange have been lodged with planners at Portsmouth City Council.
The authority is proposing a £7m redevelopment of the transport hub, including a new terminal building.
The area, expected to see up to a million tourists pass through it in 2015, is in ‘desperate need’ of modernising, according to the council’s strategic director for regeneration, Kathy Wadsworth.
She told The News: ‘A few years ago we launched the Shaping the Future strategy which was a £1bn project. We have nearly £2bn regeneration going forward now and The Hard is one of the key sites in this.
‘With the Tipner park and ride and the fast bus lanes, we are going to be doing a new road layout to link this to The Hard.
‘This is the third part of the western corridor upgrade – this is the next piece of the jigsaw.
‘It is part of the growth and expansion of the city.
‘When we do develop the seafront and Tipner, we will have a highway that can cope with the future growth.
‘At the moment, The Hard is not a nice looking site.
‘We are hoping to have one million people pass through in 2015 and we need to make sure that it is attractive for people.
‘The new site will link the trains to buses and coaches and this development will make it more pleasant.’
Ms Wadsworth said the city council would be putting £2m into the development, with a further £5m handed over by Solent Local Transport Board.
If approved, the council expects it will be on site and complete the new transport hub in 2015, she added.
The new terminal is proposed to sit adjacent to Portsmouth Harbour train station.
It is one of the main entry points for visitors coming into the city, particularly those arriving for the Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays.
Jack Busby, centre director at Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘We welcome the plans to improve the Hard Interchange, which we feel will enhance the sense of arrival for both domestic and international visitors coming to Portsmouth Harbour.
‘Along with the plans for Brunel House, it’s clear that there is a desire to improve the surrounding area’s aesthetics.’
Leader of the authority, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said visitors coming into the city will have a more pleasant experience if the area is redeveloped.
‘Everybody recognises that The Hard looks terrible at the moment,’ he said.
‘It’s the link between Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf and the heart of the city. I am very happy that the council has got the funding to be able to completely change The Hard and make it much nicer. At the moment it is a terrible way for people to arrive in the city.’