We’ve had to live with the Tipner stigma for too long

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The gateway to Portsmouth – the M275 with its impressive Sails of the South installation, while rising over the city in the distance is the magnificent Spinnaker Tower.

Two modern symbols of a vibrant, thrusting, go-ahead 21st century city.

But then, oh dear, glance left or right and rust replaces thrust.

Rotting hulks of lightships, submarines, tanks and old armoured cars have, for as long as most can remember, greeted the visitor.

This post-industrial wasteland has sent out all the wrong signals about Portsmouth for far too long and redevelopment of this blot on our landscape is decades overdue.

For this is Tipner – the area that unkind and unknowing non-city-dwelling people say put the tip into Portsmouth.

Now, at long last, the government in the shape of the Department for Transport has come up with the cash which will unlock the potential of Tipner.

It is just the Christmas present the cash-strapped city council wanted: a gift which should benefit us all, eventually.

The grant of nearly £20m does not sound ground-breaking in itself. It will go towards a new junction on the M275 plus a park-and-ride hub and a southbound bus priority lane.

But what this will do is give access to and open up the derelict open acres of Tipner for new businesses, homes and shops.

The spin-off could be immense. This should be the key to finally getting the redevelopment of the city centre – the Northern Quarter project – under way.

And a properly-run, reliable and open-all-hours park-and-ride system will entice more visitors to Portsmouth’s world-famous attractions – especially if they do not have to contend with finding somewhere to park and exorbitant parking fees.

We agree with Mike Hancock, the councillor charged with regenerating Portsmouth’s economy, when he says of the cash: ‘Not only does it enable us to improve that area of the city, but the sustainable transport link it creates is invaluable to the future development of the city centre and seafront.’