WILDLIFE experts have raised concerns about a £1bn plan to build 4,000 new homes on reclaimed land.
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said Portsmouth City Council’s Tipner West car-free community designs were a ‘no-go for nature’.
Concerns were previously raised about migrating birds at the site. Now the trust has said the plans would ‘destroy precious, vibrant natural habitats’ flying in the face of the council declaring a climate emergency.
The trust said the super-peninsula, partly built on reclaimed land, would harm mudflats home to fish including bass and feeding grounds for thousands of black-tailed godwit, Brent geese and other waterbirds.
Chief executive Debbie Tann said: ‘The climate emergency and threat of ecological collapse must surely demand a different approach to development.
‘It’s just not good enough to keep squeezing nature until there’s nowhere for it to go.
‘Our cities will quickly become inhabitable for both wildlife and people. We need to re-think what sustainable development means at both a local and national level.
‘Instead of trashing our precious natural assets, we should be protecting and strengthening a nature recovery network across our counties and our country.’
The trust added the plan was ‘highly unsustainable, given the inevitable rises in sea-level’.
Early plans put out to industry and developers revealed that the site would be ‘car free’ - with underground parking for vehicles. Industry press has put the cost at £1.3bn while the council said it would be ‘£1bn plus’.
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the trust had ‘a good point’ but added: ‘The government forced the council to build 18,000 new homes.
‘Now, if the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Trust can persuade the government to reduce that then that gets us all out of the problem but the government insists that we will have to build 800 new houses in every year.
‘We have no fields. We’re just trying to find a way of hitting the target the government has imposed on us.’
As reported, opposition councillor Luke Stubbs branded the plan unlikely to happen, calling it a ‘dream’.
On Twitter independent councillor Claire Udy said: ‘An underground car park on reclaimed land when the ice caps are melting at a record breaking rate? Yikes.’
She added: ‘I think maybe sometimes we truly have hit our limit on house building in Portsmouth.’
And she said: ‘I want to see waiting lists reduced and people housed but we really need to take a step back and ask much can Portsmouth take. Especially if its only (going to) be underwater in 30 years at this rate.
‘I would love a return to cities in the sky in the brutalist social housing sense but we should be building purely sustainable blocks with living walls and offsetting all carbon.’