Portsmouth figureheads hit out at poll which names the city as one of the worst places to live in England - 'We have so much to be proud of'

PROMINENT Portsmouth residents have condemned a poll which named the city as one of the worst places to live.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 10:31 am

An opinion poll commissioned by iLiveHere.co.uk ranked Portsmouth as the 21st worst place to live in England.

The survey was based on 110,172 votes, and failed to appreciate why the city is a wonderful place to live, say leading city residents.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan slammed the survey and said it was completely wide of the mark.

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Portsmouth was named the 21st worst place to live in England, ignoring the heritage, entertainment venues and community spirit in the city. Picture: Tom Roberts.

He said: ‘I know Portsmouth people will see right through this poll and we can all point to the many fantastic things our city has to offer.

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‘We have so much to be proud of, from our priceless gems like the Mary Rose, Historic Dockyard and beautiful views at Southsea seafront, to our fantastic independent local businesses and world famous football club.

‘But what makes our city such a great place to live is not just these things.

Portsmouth has a rich heritage and strong connection to the Royal Navy, arguably unmatched by other cities across England.

‘It is also the incredible community spirit we have to support one another, which has shone through during the pandemic.

‘That’s what makes the difference for many that live here.’

Portsmouth’s landscapes and illustrious history give it a special place in many people’s hearts.

Heritage sites such as Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard and The D-Day Story museum – to name a few – capture world-defining events.

Thanks to the kind-hearted nature of Portsmouth residents, more than £10,000 was raised for Two Saints Portsmouth, Stop Domestic Abuse, the Roberts Centre, Catherine Booth House, the Society of St James, Sunday Suppers, Portsmouth Churches Housing, Life House, Friends Without Borders, and Hope Into Action. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 171221-)

Matthew Sheldon, executive director of museum operations at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said centuries of naval history make Portsmouth stand out.

He said: ‘Portsmouth is uniquely placed at the heart of global history.

‘From the industrial revolution, when Portsmouth Dockyard was at the forefront of technology, to HMS Victory embarking from the city before the great victory at the battle of Trafalgar, Portsmouth has always been at the centre of history changing events.

‘Nearly a million people visit our attractions in the historic dockyard every year – a unique mix of ships, boats and museums that make Portsmouth such a must-see city.’

Much of Portsmouth’s vibrancy is also down to the countless places which people can visit.

Gunwharf Quays, The Spinnaker Tower, and the great array of bars and restaurants on Albert Road and Palmerston Road, make Portsmouth a standout destination.

One person who knows this well is Terence Carvalho, the general manager of Becketts hotel in Southsea.

He says there is something for everyone in Portsmouth.

Mr Carvalho said: ‘Guests at the hotel love Gunwharf Quays and the many bars and restaurants, but there is so much more.

‘It’s a great place to stay and have fun, especially in the summer with Victorious Festival.

‘There is always something going on and it’s such a fun place to be.’

Mr Carvalho claims Portsmouth has the most bars and restaurants per square mile outside of London.

He added: ‘I think we have such a big variety of places here, rather than the same old thing regurgitated over and over again.

‘Brighton has a lot of quirky bars but they are all exactly the same. Here, every place has its own identity.

‘Guildhall, the Kings Theatre and New Theatre Royal could all be running big shows on the same day and they normally still sell out.

‘The people who come here always tell us what a great city Portsmouth is to live or to visit.’

Even though Mr Carvalho focused on venues and events in the city, he said what makes Portsmouth special is the people.

The passion, loyalty and support residents have for each other and their city knows no bounds.

Canon Bob White, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Fratton, knows this from his own experiences.

Father Bob supports several community projects such as Hive Portsmouth, and explains people are always willing to support each other.

He said: ‘There is a strong sense of community spirit and looking out for those around us.

‘There is a sense of belonging here and to the people within it.’

This Christmas, more than £10,000 was raised for 10 local charities in the News-backed Comfrot and Joy campaign.

People sent festive cards to those who were lonely, and collected donations for food banks – among many other acts of kindness.

He added: ‘Portsmouth has problems like all cities, but it is the people here that make the difference.

Aylesbury was named the worst place to live, with Huddersfield and Luton in the top three.

‘They are generous towards their neighbour and are willing to support each other in times of crisis.

‘That’s what makes Pompey people different.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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