Row over timing of new Portsmouth regeneration scheme

VISION A CGI image showing part of the Northern Quarter scheme
VISION A CGI image showing part of the Northern Quarter scheme
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A KEY part of the regeneration of Portsmouth is the long-delayed Northern Quarter project.

In its masterplan the city council describes the site to the north of Cascades Shopping Centre as ‘one of the principal development opportunity sites within the city centre’.

But since the recession hit in 2008 the £500m shopping, housing and business scheme has been stalled.

The council says it is still in regular contact with developer Centros and construction is set to begin before the end of 2015.

But at the start of this year the authority agreed to allow an extra 12 to 21 months if necessary, potentially delaying the start of work until 2017.

The masterplan shows how the new development will deliver around 50,000sq m of new shopping floorspace and link up to Cascades, Commercial Road and Market Way.

Deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, Cllr Hugh Mason, said he expects work to begin on time.

He said: ‘Really we are still very upbeat about this and so are Centros.

‘We have regular meetings with them and we certainly appear to be on track.

‘When you look around the country you find that compared to various cities Portsmouth has delivered on a number of projects over the last decade.

‘We are going to stick to our vision and get that vision on the road.’

But leader of the council’s Conservative opposition, Simon Bosher, said the process had dragged on for far too long.

‘This really is the lynchpin of the entire regeneration,’ he said. ‘And we are stuck with a developer that keeps chopping and changing its mind.

‘At this stage, I can’t see work beginning early.’

The masterplan will be voted on by a special meeting of the council’s cabinet today in the Guildhall’s executive meeting room at midday.