ONE of Welborne’s biggest supporters says Portsmouth has got time to get things right and boost what it has to offer.
It comes as community leaders have called for shopping in Portsmouth to be given a drastic overhaul to avoid losing thousands of extra visitors and millions of pounds to other cities and towns like Southampton, Winchester and Guildford.
If you look at Commercial Road, it was the prime shopping centre when I was a student. Now what’s left?MILES O’LEARY
Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward said 6,000 homes have been earmarked for new town Welborne – but they will be built in stages.
‘What is not going to happen is people waking up to see 6,000 homes having been built overnight,’ he said.
‘In the first year, there will be 120 homes, and then at its peak there will be 300 a year, taking the development up until 2036-2041.’
He said the scheme would help create 6,000 jobs, and while a shopping centre will be created, residents will look to other areas for more variety.
But Cllr Woodward also believes Portsmouth’s other attractions will help the city continue to pull in big visitor numbers.
He said: ‘It has many other attractions as well, like the dockyard, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory. I don’t know how successful it will be to bring back high street shopping. If you look at Commercial Road, it was the prime shopping centre when I was a student. Now what’s left?’
The Welborne plan has sparked criticism from community groups who have been concerned about the loss of countryside and the new town’s proximity to existing communities. Yet Cllr Woodward assures 40 per cent of the town will be made up of green space.
Fears have also been raised about extra traffic, increased air pollution and already strained health services.