Deal could involve former naval land being handed over

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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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PORTSMOUTH’S council leader has stepped up the city’s bid to get millions of pounds of funding for further regeneration.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson met government ministers to discuss the terms of the local authority’s joint City Deal application with Southampton City Council.

He said land at Horsea Island and Tipner Firing Range could be taken from the Ministry of Defence and used to create 3,900 jobs in the maritime sector and build 2,000 homes. Up to £120m from Portsmouth City Council and £441m from the private sector could be invested into the project. A further £42m is needed.

As part of the deal, Portsmouth and Southampton city councils are trying to get £7m from the government towards the expansion of West Quay shopping centre. The meeting was at the House of Commons and chaired by the Rt Hon Greg Clark.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This was our first chance to pitch our ideas to government ministers. I was very pleased with how things went. We got a good hearing. One of the things is about getting land that the navy say they no longer need.

‘Tipner is a site that has been crying out for development for decades. It’s an area that has been underdeveloped for a very long time. This is down to funding and all sorts of reasons.’

If Portsmouth’s bid for a City Deal is successful, the council will get greater powers to unlock land that could be used to boost the economy.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Most things are decided locally, rather than by government agencies and ministers.

‘If the government is proposing to give up powers and making decisions then it’s a good thing for us.’

Portsmouth would also benefit from the transformation of the naval base to meet increased demand for servicing ships, massive investment in the overall development of Tipner and the creation of the proposed Northern Quarter development.

Other partners involved include the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The government will work with the next wave of successful bidders, including Portsmouth, to negotiate their deals over the next year.