COMMENT: It’s time that we made the Tipner development dream a reality

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It's fair to say that the Tipner area of Portsmouth is no stranger to false dawns. Over the years there have been many plans put forward for this important site at the gateway to the city, but they've never made it off the drawing board. 

So there will be those who take today's news of proposals to create a community of more than 4,000 homes, a school and a 1 million sq ft marine employment campus at Tipner with a large pinch of salt. 
What happened to all those other exciting plans to transform this unattractive patch of waterside land, they will say. In the end, they were all pipe dreams.
But we really hope that this time it will be different.  For a start, it was encouraging to see hundreds of outside developers, investors and contractors attend a presentation about the development. A predicted cost of more than £1bn has not put them off. 
Then there is the fact that Portsmouth City Council is behind the latest proposals, which it sees as a vital part of its requirement to meet government housing targets. Facing a demand to build 18,000 new homes in the city, 4,000 at Tipner West would be a significant contribution.
We like the idea of the scheme creating a 'car-free' environment for those living and working there by excavating and building an underground 'podium' for parking. The reality is that we aren't going to get rid of the car any time soon, so we have to find imaginative solutions to deal with its presence. 
A bridge between Tipner West and nearby Horsea Island would also encourage the use of buses and bicycles.
Tipner presents a great opportunity to do things differently. It's a blank canvas in a key location that could make a powerful statement to visitors coming into the city via the M275.
Now the challenge is to make this latest dream a bricks and mortar reality.