Northern Quarter gets a new name New Landport as Portsmouth City Council bids to buy land to progress city centre upgrade plans
PLANS to redevelop the city centre are finally back on the table after years of faltering, delays and deals falling through.
Portsmouth City Council is considering purchasing several city centre buildings as it progresses its bid to rejuvenate and redevelop the area.
The area north of Commercial Road, where the Tricorn shopping centre once stood, has long been a subject of debate as plans for the Northern Quarter that would have brought shops and housing have never materialised.
Plans for that area stretch back to 2004 when the 1960s-built brutalist Tricorn was demolished and became Market Way car park.
Now, the plan looks set to be reinvigorated with a new name of New Landport and Landport Gate as the authority will discuss issuing compulsory purchase orders on buildings such as those occupied by Tropics, The Real Escape and The Star of Asia, at its next cabinet meeting on October 5.
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the orders were necessary in order to prevent the scheme failing again.
He said: ‘The Tricorn site is owned by Centros but there are various people who own bits of land around it and we would need control of that if we are going to do a comprehensive development of it.
'The use of a compulsory purchase order would make sure we are not held to ransom by any of these which could derail the whole project.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson moved to reassure people that St Agatha’s Church and St John’s Church, which are also included in the purchase order, would be protected from development and the plans would enhance the area around them.
He also said the new plans would include a greater mix of housing as the landscape of the city centre has changed due to the pandemic and the decline of high street shopping.
The move follows the council buying the closed nearby Sainsbury’s in March.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The CPO would cover the whole of that area north of Commercial Road and we hope that by owning this, Sainsbury’s and with the other pieces of land that the council already owns along Market Way and the Tricorn site means that we can get on and get stuff done.
‘We have been blighted for years as the developers who owned the land would negotiate and drag their heels, if the council owns if all then we can make something really special there.’
A council spokesman said: ‘The cabinet is asked to note that the red line area shown on the plan is currently widely drawn around the entire City Centre Regeneration scheme application site area.
‘It is not anticipated that all land/interests including the two churches – St Agatha’s and All Saints – as shown will need to be acquired to deliver the scheme however, a degree of flexibility prior to detailed technical approval of the scheme and its mitigation, is required at this stage. Officers will take all reasonable measures to minimise the need to acquire third-party interests in accordance with CPO guidance and the existing design approach to the scheme.’