It’s not hard to see why business leaders and city councillors are pleased with the announcement that Morrisons will build a new superstore in Portsmouth.
The Victory Retail Park was certainly no beauty spot.
After plans to build an IKEA in the city ground to a halt, the land earmarked for development became a run-down and largely forgotten zone.
Let’s not forget that it could have stayed that way for many more years.
The recession has put many companies off from expanding. But Morrisons has decided to build a 30,000 sq ft store here and that is welcome news.
Now that the site has been bought, it’s unlikely that the company will hang around.
The 300 jobs the development is expected to create will give the local economy a boost – so we must all hope that work does get under way quickly.
While Portsmouth City Council has been criticised by some for the fact that IKEA chose Southampton over Portsmouth in the first place, it does appear to have achieved something good by negotiating this particular land-swap deal.
While the Northern Quarter plan has suffered setbacks, this scheme looks like it will hit the ground running.
Of course, some people will have concerns about the fact that there is already a Sainsbury’s store nearby. They may question whether the city really needs another supermarket.
But these retail giants aren’t frightened of a little competition – you only need to look at their many price comparison adverts to understand that.
And Morrisons must believe that it can compete, or it wouldn’t be considering such an investment in the first place.
There is one other consideration that should be explored fully however, before a single new brick gets laid, and that is a matter of infrastructure.
This store will sit alongside the main route in and out of Portsmouth. There are plans to expand the road network here and it is vital that goes hand-in-hand with any building work, or congestion will only get worse.