It’s 14-and-a-half long years since demolition gangs removed all traces of the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth. After much debate, the complex’s Brutalist Sixties concrete architecture, once voted the most hated building in the UK, was finally bulldozed from the city landscape forever.
But what has come in its place? Precisely nothing, that’s what. All this time later and the site is still a Tarmaced expanse of car park that was only ever meant to be temporary.
A number of city centre regeneration plans have come and gone and still we’re no further forward. For various reasons the grand visions never got off the drawing board.
So it’s pleasing to report today that a joint venture between the city council and property investor Delancey could actually make the long-awaited City Centre North redevelopment a bricks and mortar reality of housing and retail.
A priority would be tackling the prominent former Tricorn site, bringing it back into use and linking it to the nearby main Commercial Road shopping precinct.
Of course, the cynics will say they’ve heard it all before. They’ll recall the succession of fancy Northern Quarter artists’ impressions that came to nought in the end.
But this time round council head of regeneration Ben Dowling says the backing of a private company will ‘de-risk’ the scheme. Both parties have a vested interest in ensuring redevelopment happens – the council owns the land, while the lease for half of it, including the former Tricorn site, is held by Delancey.
We urge residents to get involved in public consultations on the project and ensure their views are heard before planning decisions are taken.
This is our big chance to finally get moving on long-overdue regeneration, but it must be what’s right for Portsmouth and its people.