CALLS have been made for the north of Portsmouth to be recognised as a place of economic importance to help it grow.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt believes the area has been neglected and needs support and money from the council and business leaders to boost prospects.
She says the resurgence of Hilsea Lido and the creation of a war museum at Hilsea Lines are helping – but need better promotion if they are to become ‘a catalyst for job creation’.
But warnings have been issued that cash cannot be set aside in the short-term and all areas of the city will need an equal share once resources become available.
In a letter to city officials, including leader of the council Donna Jones, Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs and Gary Jeffries, of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I recognise that in the past few months, there has been more support from the council with regard to these community projects, but I would urge you to go further in your support.
‘The lido, the First World War museum and the Lines have the potential to act as a huge catalyst to economic regeneration for Hilsea and the wider area too.
‘To date, these heritage assets have not been looked at in this light, and I would ask that both the council and the LEP view them with their full potential to create jobs and training places for local people.’
She added: ‘I’m calling for both the council and the LEP to recognise the potential economic impact regeneration of this area would bring and to prioritise and invest accordingly.
‘I would also ask that there be dedicated officer support at the city council provided for this part of Portsmouth.’
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘In the short-term, the administration is working on its capital budget and it’s already becoming clear that after creating more school places, there will not be very much left for anything else.
‘It’s unlikely we will have the funds to do anything this year.
‘But we will seek to review the situation, and if and when money becomes available, all part of the city will get a fair share.’
Cllr Jones said she has appointed David Evans, the council’s seafront manager, to oversee the north’s tourist opportunities and work to boost the lido.