Love or loathe it – the end
was nigh for brutal Tricorn

The old derelict flats above the Tricorn in January 1995
The old derelict flats above the Tricorn in January 1995
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Not some far flung island but Port Creek alongside Eastern Road, Portsmouth, earlier this week. I counted more than 50 plastic bottles along with other man-made filth.

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Ten years ago today came the news that most, but not all, Portsmouth people had been waiting years to hear.

On January 20, 2004, the city council announced that the Tricorn centre – hated by many, idolised by a few – would be demolished. Finally.

Leading figures at the council said bulldozing the Market Way landmark would begin in March 2004. They hoped the building would be no more than a memory by the end of that month and the site would be cleared by the end of the year.

The News reported that day the council was racing to prepare legal documents with developers Centros Miller to ensure the brutalist 1960s centre – once named as the ugliest building in Britain – would come tumbling down.

Hopes were high that the land would form the lynchpin in the massive City Centre North development, a new shopping complex which would transform the run-down area.

The demolition would cost £2m, but the benefit of the development bringing shoppers to the city was estimated at £250m.

The council proudly announced that the site would, meanwhile, become a 300-space car park. A temporary one.

A decade and a grinding recession later, that’s exactly what it still is.