Have your say on new bid to invest £2m in revamping Portsmouth city centre

The Northern Quarter plan has been canned
The Northern Quarter plan has been canned
Have your say

UP to £2m could be spent regenerating Portsmouth’s city centre following the failure of the Northern Quarter shopping scheme.

The city council’s Tory administration is eager to begin injecting the area with new life to boost shops and visitor numbers.

Residents will be consulted in the new year over what exactly should be done.

Initial options include reconstructing the precinct between Marks & Spencer, in Commercial Road and Edinburgh Road, though this alone could cost £1.5m.

New seating areas and public artwork could be introduced and space may be freed up in the pedestrian zone to make it more inviting.

The council could seek to pedestrianise Edinburgh Road, but admits it is unlikely due to the amount of buses using it.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, is spearheading the plans.

He said: ‘Nothing has been spent on the city centre for years and it all looks rather tired. A modest one-off investment could brighten it up, but with construction projects so expensive any available money can only do so much.

‘The administration is working on its capital budget for the coming year and I would really appreciate some indication of whether people want to see money used in this way.’

Cash for the project would come from the council’s capital budget, separate from the revenue budget where £13.1m of savings have had to be made next year due to cuts in government funding.

As reported, plans to build a £300m Northern Quarter retail complex on the site of the former Tricorn Centre were scrapped last month.

The council revealed developer Centros could not commit to the project due to financial reasons.

The proposals had been more than 10 years in the making and overseen by the previous Lib Dem council administration.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said he hopes the council would not be spending cash allocated for the creation of a new £20m road network in the city centre.

That plan is on hold because it was hoped Centros would have provided the bulk of the cash.

‘If there’s £2m to spend, we have got to make sure the money is not wasted and it makes a real improvement and pulls people in to Commercial Road,’ said Cllr Vernon-Jackson.

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