OPINION: Portsmouth must plan to be a world-class city

Portsmouth must plan strategically for 21st century standards in order to attract major international investors, rather than just trying to revive a low-grade shopping centre that has had its day.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 29th January 2017, 5:53 am
Picture: Kevin Kearney
Picture: Kevin Kearney

At best, Commercial Road might be capable of attracting a few more downmarket stores but it will never become a ‘destination’ shopping centre for the thousands of new homeowners in the sub-region.

It has to compete with Whiteley, West Quay and other new ones that will arrive to cater for the increased population.

Even if a new £24m bypass is built it does not have the ‘quality of place experience’ to compete in this day and age.

Portsmouth must plan strategically to be competitive with 21st century standards.

Shopping centres must have character, style, comfort and a sophisticated atmosphere, and be accessible for all modes of transport.

Gunwharf has all these qualities which is why it is so successful.

Portsmouth must exploit its latent potential of underused landmark sites such as Tipner and the Pyramids.

These must be designated priority sites to attract international investors capable of delivering world-class development for the future of an aspiring world-class city.

The council recently announced a bold new strategy to put Portsmouth ‘on a truly international platform’ and make ‘a major step change in their thinking’ in order to attract premier league investors.

Those bold ambitions are the overriding strategic needs of the city; not just trying to rescue some pieces from a failed scheme that will never achieve the standards required for a ‘destination’ shopping centre.

*This letter was submitted to The News by Jerry Bamforth of Sennen Place, Port Solent