Portsmouth’s Northern Quarter aspirations back on the cards

An artist's impression of the abandoned Northern Quarter plans
An artist's impression of the abandoned Northern Quarter plans
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CITY leaders are seeking to bring back to life plans for a multi-million pound shopping complex in Portsmouth, The News can reveal.

Council leader Donna Jones and business leaders from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership are drawing up a bid to the government for cash to overhaul the city centre’s road layout.

We need to sit down and re-design this scheme from scratch.

Councllor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council

Cllr Jones says improving the network off the M275 will help to finally get the scheme to turn the former Tricorn site off Market Way into a leisure and retail hub off the ground.

She believes it will give shops the confidence to relocate knowing visitors can get in and out of the city far easier.

The Tory councillor is planning to meet bosses from Delancey, which owns the site – currently an NCP-run car park – to ensure it is back on board with getting it redeveloped.

The News revealed last year how the £300m Northern Quarter project led by Delancey and developer Centros – which had been more than 10 years in the making – was ditched due to financial risks involved.

Cllr Jones said: ‘I need to understand exactly what Delancey’s intention is; whether it wants to bring an external partner in on the project, or continues on its own and where it is in terms of wooing other investors to contribute to the scheme.

‘We need to sit down and redesign this scheme from scratch.’

Cllr Jones wants the city centre road layout overhauled by ripping out the roundabouts to give cars better access to the city centre and Queen Street.

She also believes Commercial Road’s Debenhams store was key to pulling in bigger shops.

Cllr Jones said: ‘We need to address the Commercial Road issues.

‘The redesign of the Northern Quarter was put on hold.

‘I was honest with people and told them the scheme had died.

‘I didn’t want to rush into redesigning it and finding a new investment partner.

‘I feel if we rush into it we could get a second-rate scheme.

‘There were a number of regeneration things I wanted to get under way before we looked at the Northern Quarter.

‘I now believe we have reached the point where we are attracting significant interest from serious investors from here and abroad.

‘There is a clear vision. We know where we are going.

‘We can’t leave the redesign too much longer because Commercial Road and the shops that are there will struggle.

‘Debenhams is key in this scheme. I don’t want to leave Commercial Road to deteriorate any further.’