For a go-ahead, modern city, Portsmouth has a pretty poor gateway.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. But for years, the first thing people have seen as they drive along the M275 into the city has been scruffy Tipner. Let’s face it, that’s hardly an inspiring introduction.
So we’re excited about the unveiling of a ‘game-changing’ vision to transform this area into an advanced maritime quarter specialising in the construction of super yachts.
Property development company Savills is working on behalf of the city council on a strategy to regenerate land around Tipner and Horsea Island that has been crying out for redevelopment for decades.
Imagine that, sleek super yachts where there was once the Pounds scrapyard and an unedifying wasteland.
Of course the cynics will say they’ve seen plenty of redevelopment plans for Tipner come to nought. Talk is cheap.
But Savills seems bullish about the future, saying it is in talks with ‘a number of high-profile companies’ interested in building super yachts and setting up a dockyard-style hub where major vessels would be repaired and maintained.
That’s great news. Because if this comes off, it will not only mean a more attractive entrance to the city, but jobs too.
Savills’ director of planning, Gavin Hall, said: ‘This could be a game-changer for the city...it could bring hundreds of millions of pounds to the economy.’
We have said for ages that the area is ripe for redevelopment.
But let’s be realistic here. Before we get too carried away, we have to remember that land owned by the MoD around the Tipner harbour still needs to be freed up for development.
There’s also a problem in that chunks of Tipner are owned by various different people and bodies. They would all need to be onside to make the transformation work.
But why not be optimistic this time that Tipner could finally become the impressive gateway we’d all love to see?