BUSINESS leaders from around Portsmouth came together yesterday for the second Shaping the Future of Portsmouth event.
It was a chance to hear about the work done over the past seven months to promote the city to visitors, encourage businesses to invest, develop an all-encompassing brand, and work to raise the attainment and aspirations of the city’s schoolchildren.
From the inaugural meeting in November, workstream groups were set up, each with a specific task.
They were the city brand group, the business leaders group, development group, and the education & skills group.
The group leaders gave the meeting reports on what they had been doing since the first event, and delegates had a chance to debate how to move the project on even further.
As reported on the front page of The News this week, the results of the Passion for Portsmouth survey, which formed part of the city brand group’s project, were presented.
Everyone at the event, which took place at Portsmouth Football Club, spoke of how the momentum of Shaping the Future of Portsmouth could not be allowed to stall like other, similar projects in the past.
Walter Cha, chairman of the business leaders group, said: ‘It is fundamental that we maintain this momentum and to move this initiative forward.’
And Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, on wrapping up the event, said: ‘We have a big responsibility now.
‘If we blow this and nothing changes for Portsmouth, this is a huge opportunity that has been lost.
‘This is an enormous opportunity for all of us and a huge responsibility for the people involved to get concrete actions out of this that people in the city can actually see.’
Projects revealed at the meeting included potential development of The Hard and Portsmouth harbour areas to include waterfront restaurants and housing, a ‘web’ of water transport links between Gunwharf Quays and places such as Portchester, as well as signs of the much-anticipated Northern Quarter and Zurich House development getting under way, as reported in yesterday’s News.
A draft new logo for the city was also unveiled to delegates for debate, featuring multi-coloured ‘icons’ which represent different attractions in the city, such as Clarence Pier, the Spinnaker Tower, the Mary Rose and the seafront.
Plans were also mooted to build a technology college and a ‘stem school’ at the harbour, to raise the aspirations of the city’s school pupils, and for an opportunities fair, focusing on 10 to 13-year-olds and their families to showcase what the city has to offer in employment and careers.