Bid to breathe new life into heart of Portsmouth city centre submitted to government

A BID to breathe new life into the heart of the city centre has been submitted to government.

By Steve Deeks
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:55 am

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has been working alongside city council staff to prepare a new submission to ministers as part of the Levelling Up agenda, submitted this week.

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If successful, proposals agreed by the MP would revitalise key sites across the city centre, often ignored or forgotten for investment over the last decade.

Stephen Morgan MP. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 160222-11)

Mr Morgan has been reviewing a range of proposals for sites and projects across the Portsmouth South constituency, with the bid-writing team sadly needing to rule out an application for funds towards improving access at Fratton Station due to strict government criteria.

The Portsmouth proposals include the creation of a truly world class city centre, transforming the cultural quarter in the heart of the city, that will connect communities across Portsmouth and the wider sub-region to a vibrant, cultural economy.

A transformed Guildhall and New Theatre Royal, which will offer a greater range of facilities and enable new activities and performances for people to enjoy, is also on the agenda.

As is a new Cultural Spine project that will link the main cultural assets in a safe, car free space for people to gather and celebrate their city, connecting the major transport links such as bus routes, park and ride routes and a mainline railway station to ensure visitors can come without the use of a private car, supporting the city's commitment to Net Zero.

There will also be projects within walking distance of some of the poorest communities that offer opportunities to access events in a safe and car free environment, helping to tackle deprivation, health inequalities and job density issues in the region.

Despite well-prepared submissions in the past, to date the south of the city has not received a penny from the chancellor for the so-called levelling up the government is encouraging.

Mr Morgan said: ‘Our city centre has been forgotten and ignored for too long and time has taken its toll. There is a desperate need of revitalising this important part of our city to help breathe new life into Portsmouth and our local economy.

‘I know from our own postbag how much residents and local businesses want to see greater care and attention given by the council and government to our city centre, which is why I will continue to do all I can to secure the investment our community deserves.

‘By working on this bid and backing the submission for much-needed funds, I hope we can put the heart back into our city centre and create a place Portsmouth people can be proud of once again.’

On the importance of the region receiving Levelling Up Funding, the city MP added: ‘The economies in coastal areas and airport towns have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and the spiralling cost of living in the south east makes it even harder for those on the lowest incomes to get by, compared to those living in more affordable areas.

‘As one of the few net contributors to the treasury and yet some of the most deprived areas in the UK, levelling up the south east is a vital part of levelling up the country as a whole.’