Plans which could create 2,000 new jobs in Portsmouth are unveiled

ALL CHANGE Clarence Pier on the seafront could be in line for a massive makeover
ALL CHANGE Clarence Pier on the seafront could be in line for a massive makeover

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

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AMBITIOUS plans which outline how Portsmouth’s city centre and Southsea seafront could look in years to come have been unveiled.

Portsmouth City Council planners have spent months working on blueprints that could transform the areas.

The vision will become a reality if the council can attract a host of developers to invest in the city.

Among the city centre plans are the rejuvenation of the Northern Quarter shopping scheme, plans for more late-night bars and restaurants, a new traffic system, and more pedestrian areas.

Included is an overhaul of the city centre’s traffic system to improve access to the Northern Quarter and flow to Gunwharf Quays.

In Southsea, there are plans to transform Clarence pier by building a hotel and enlarged hover pad, while there are opportunities to introduce an outdoor music area near Southsea castle, a sports facility near Avenue de Caen, and more public art work to improve the look of the area.

John Slater, the council’s head of planning, said he hopes the blueprints would bring ‘vibrancy’ to the city.

He said: ‘Looking at the city centre and the seafront as a whole, I call it the picture on the outside of the jigsaw.

‘All the parts of investments that come in are working to an overall scheme that should achieve the result.

‘It can happen in parts, it doesn’t have to be comprehensive, but it gives us a framework that when investment does come through, we are able to achieve the objectives.

‘This is part of the ongoing commitment to regeneration.

‘We are in difficult times but that’s not a reason to stop planning.

‘It’s the best time to be able to plan the foundations of the future by investing in the city.’

Councillors will vote on whether to pass the documents at a full meeting of the cabinet on Monday.

If given the go-ahead, the plans will be scrutinised by the public through a seven-week consultation period.

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘If we could get the north of the city centre built up it will create around 2,000 more jobs, which is important.

‘We are beginning to get a tradition of the seafront being a place for concerts and we need to grow that. ’

Cllr Simon Bosher, leader of the Conservative group, said: ‘Regeneration is most definitely needed.

‘A vibrant city centre and seafront is imperative to the economy of the city.

‘Everything needs to be in place to make it the destination of choice for shoppers.’

Public consultation if ideas are approved

PEOPLE in Portsmouth will have seven weeks to scrutinise the plans if they are approved by councillors.

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet meets on Monday to vote on the city centre and seafront masterplans.

Once the documents are approved, the authority will hold a seven-week public consultation from July 30 to September 14.

The plans include a leaflet through every door in the city and an online survey.

Copies of the plans will be available online and in libraries, community centres, and council offices.

Members of the public can send their comments to the council by email or post, or attend focus groups to discuss the ideas.

Information will also be made available at various drop-in and community events.

John Slater, head of planning, said he does not envisage any political opposition.

He said: ‘When we have looked at the results, we will be going back to the city council’s cabinet in November or late autumn.’

More information on the process will be available if the plans are voted through.