Council’s £150m plan to ‘make Portsmouth shine’ is revealed

An aerial view of Portsmouth and Southsea Picture: Shaun Roster
An aerial view of Portsmouth and Southsea Picture: Shaun Roster
Commuters ride a crowded South Western Railway train on the Portsmouth to London line. Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

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A FULL breakdown has been given of an ambitious £150m investment plan by the city council to improve the lives of Portsmouth’s residents.

The multimillion-pound proposal could kick-start sweeping improvements across the city, with everything from flood defences, children’s services, roads and heritage assets set to benefit.

Tory top brass will review the council’s latest capital investment programme on Thursday, before it is then sent forward to be debated and rubber-stamped at the full council meeting on February 14.

Portsmouth City Council’s leader councillor Donna Jones says this year’s budget is a vital opportunity to invest in the city.

Among the key aspects set to be debated are £5m for transport projects which will include a new city centre road – one which council bosses hope will improve Portsea Island’s congestion woes.

Computer systems and buildings for the city’s children’s services will also be boosted, with £2.4m allocated to improvements by the plan.

And, as previously reported, a £6.6m masterplan to expand and improve the city’s schools is on the cards as part of the investment proposal.

Cllr Jones said: ‘The capital budget represents an opportunity to invest in and make improvements to areas across the city. We have focused on a number of key priorities, including education and improving roads as a means to increasing investment in the city and improving the economy.’

The proposals will see almost £1m injected into the city’s culture and leisure facilities, with £525,000 being set aside for repairs to Portsmouth’s Kings Bastion fort.

Southsea’s seafront will also have £70,000 allocated to restore the ornate Edwardian shelter along with a further £40,000 to pay for six new pop-up kiosks along the coastline, including new food and retail outlets.

Councillor Linda Symes, the city’s culture, leisure and sports boss, hopes the plan is agreed.

She added the cash would support proposals for two new restaurants near the seafront.

She said: ‘This is going to be important.

‘It is going to help make the city shine.’

Also listed in the funding proposals includes a number of schemes to provide extra parking spaces in Paulsgrove and Old Portsmouth.

In total, the capital budget will include more than £20m of council spending in the city towards schemes with a total value of more than £150m.

CHILDREN

IMPROVED computer systems could help in the council’s efforts in protecting the area’s most vulnerable young people.

Portsmouth City Council has revealed its ambition to spend more than £1.9m on replacing its ageing children’s case management software.

Council sources hope the new system will improve efficiency of the area’s safeguarding services for children.

It forms part of the authority’s 2017/18 capital budget, which is set to be debated by councillors on February 14.

Also in the proposed investments includes a sum of £495,000 which will be used to make sweeping improvements to the Tangier Road children’s home, in Tangier Road, Copnor.

A further £55,000 will be put towards supporting the Beechside Children’s Home, in Havant Road, Drayton.

As previously mentioned, the council is also planning to spend £6.6m on transforming the area’s schools, with project bosses saying The Portsmouth Academy, Springfield School, Admiral Lord Nelson School and Charter Academy will benefit most from the money.

FLOODING

SEA defences will be in line for the biggest boost if this year’s investment plan is agreed by Portsmouth councillors.

The council is setting aside £1.25m for new coastal defences in Southsea.

But this could be bolstered by a whopping chunk of cash from the Environment Agency if a council bid is successful, bringing in a total amount of more than £88.6m to pay for the defence scheme.

And, the council is also intending to fork out £120,000 to fund the maintenance work on Old Portsmouth’s sea walls.

The cash is all part of the money earmarked for the council’s environment and community safety department.

Elsewhere in this, a £112,200 cash injection will be pumped into improving the city’s household waste collection services.

The money is hoped to be used to boost overall efficiency.

CULTURE

CULTURE vultures in Portsmouth will be in for a treat as £945,000 cash boost will help improve the area’s key amenities.

The main investment will go towards maintenance of Southsea’s Kings Bastion fort, with £525,000 set aside for this work.

The D-Day Museum, in Southsea, will also gain £165,000 towards funding its year-long make-over, set to begin next month.

Some £50,000 will be contributed to help pay for resurfacing work at South Parade Pier, while £10,000 will be earmarked for new shower facilities at Canoe Lake.

Charles Dickens’ Gardens in Buckland will get £25,000 of improvements.

On Southsea’s seafront, £70,000 will be set aside to fund the reinstallation of the Edwardian shelter – which is in storage – to the seafront.

A sum of £40,000 has also been included in the capital budget which will go towards paying for improvements to the West Battery Gardens’ bandstand, while £20,000 will be given to the Watersedge Park Building project.

Six new pop-up kiosks – set to be based along Southsea’s seafront – will be paid for with a £40,000 slice of cash from the budget.

ROADS

MILLIONS of pounds is earmarked to improve Portsmouth’s congested roads.

Portsmouth City Council is looking to set aside about £5m for transport projects across the island as part of its 2017/18 capital budget.

Within the plan, £3m will be used to pay for a new city road. It would see roundabouts south of the M275 taken out and a smoother one-way system around Market Way, unlocking land split up by the road for development

Under the new travel and transportation plans, £500,000 will be set aside for improvements to the eastern corridor road link, with a further £200,000 going towards improvements to streets and communities.

The council also hopes to splash out £1.2m on the city’s own transport plan with another £40,000 will be used to fund an Old Portsmouth area study to improve the district.