For too long the cheeky chappie grin of old fun-loving Southsea has looked like the face of a battered prize fighter – minus a couple of teeth.
It’s been on the ropes for a while, but is still hanging in there. Just.
As we reveal on page 7 today, at long last there are concrete plans to build something on the derelict land owned by ex-Pompey boss Harry Redknapp.
For tens of thousands of Portsmouth people, this land has far more nostalgic memories, for it was the site of the old Savoy buildings with its ballroom, which burned down so spectacularly in August 2011.
It had also been home to nightclubs Joanna’s and Fifth Avenue.
Developer McCarthy & Stone has now released a computer-generated image of the high end block of retirement homes it hopes to build there, should Portsmouth City Council planners like the idea.
It would almost have been too easy for developers to come along and suggest building virtually anything on that prime site – and hope councillors would agree simply to get rid of the eyesore, for so long surrounded by ugly hoardings.
It might not be to everybody’s taste, but we believe the design is in keeping with the seafront.
We agree with Bristol-based architect Tom Russell when he says: ‘The design responds to the character of the surrounding seafront buildings making reference to their lightness of colour and elegant proportions with large windows and generous balconies which enjoy the site’s greatest asset – its fantastic sea views.’
The public get a chance to examine the proposal in detail at the nearby Royal Beach Hotel from 3.30-m until 7pm today.
They might well agree with us that this block, should it be built, might launch something of a renaissance for Southsea.
It’s been promised by the council for many years and this might just kick-start that long hoped for rejuvenation.
It’s long overdue and you never know, it might force someone to do some cosmetic surgery on that other big missing molar across the road – South Parade Pier.