COMMENT: This is an opportunity to sort out housing crisis

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Walking through the streets of Fratton, Southsea or North End, you would be hard-pushed to imagine how even 10 extra homes could be squeezed in. 

But the government is demanding that by 2036 Portsmouth City Council build 17,000 new homes on this small island. 

We need more homes, that’s not in dispute, and there is no doubt that we are in the middle of a housing crisis with demand well outstripping supply. 

That in turn forces up rents across the city – and the country – to eye-watering levels. 

But is this figure of 17,260 in the next 16 years achievable? Surely this is an impossible target? 

It would be criminal to lose any of the precious few green lungs we have left in the city. 

And just ask anyone driving round and round the streets trying to find a parking space after a long day at work whether they think there is space for almost 20,000 new properties.

The answer would be a resounding ‘no’.

But the council seems to have come up with something that could overcome that.

There are plans to reclaim land from the sea creating what’s being called a ‘super peninsula’ at Tipner. 

Not only would this alleviate pressure on the city itself, but would allow those residents easy access out of and into the city on the M275. 

Of course there will be opposition but we need to tackle the housing crisis and this is a groundbreaking idea that could work. It won’t simply be yet another tower block cramming in as many people as possible.

As the council’s planning policy manager says: ‘There’s an opportunity here’. It is a chance to create a community without impacting on the city. 

But it is important residents have their say. The consultation begins on Monday and runs until March 25.