Everything you may have missed from Portsmouth City Council meetings this week

Local Democracy Reporter Fiona Callingham gives her round-up of what you may have missed from Portsmouth City Council's meetings this week.

Friday, 6th July 2018, 4:40 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:14 pm
New pictures of what Southsea Coastal Defence scheme could look like have been released this week. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

The phrase on everybody's lips is 'sea defences.'

This week saw proposals for defences at Southsea finally revealed to residents who had been eagerly awaiting them since last year.

On Wednesday locals were invited to the first public consultation on the defences that showed what the seafront could look like in the future via artists' impressions, videos and information boards.

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New pictures of what Southsea Coastal Defence scheme could look like have been released this week. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

The £100m project was broken down into eight sections that spanned Long Curtain Moat to Eastney and residents were given questionnaires to provide feedback.

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Read More: Southsea coastal defences: Who is going to pay?

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said:  'It is going to be here for 100 years. We have got to try to make sure we get this right.

'There are a lot of people whose homes are at risk and we can't sit back at do nothing. It is hugely important that members of the public get involved.'

However, a few residents were sceptical that their ideas would actually be taken on board. Campaigner Celia Clark, 74, from the Southsea Seafront Campaign said: '˜It does seem like a lot of these proposals are already set in concrete with not much input needed from the public.'

But several more public consultations taking place before the end of July so only time will tell.

Another issue of public safety was discussed openly this week.

At Wednesday's housing meeting councillors were provided with an update on the evacuation of two Somerstown tower blocks.

Leamington House and Horatia House were declared unsafe last month after de-cladding works revealed structural instabilities in the concrete.

Around 800 people will have to be rehoused by spring next year, which the council's director of housing, James Hill, confirmed would happen.

Although, he did voice fears the process would lead to less social housing available to other residents. He said: '˜The social housing that Portsmouth City Council holds is about 14,900 properties. On average per year that generates about 900 voids which are available to us.

'˜We are trying hard to limit the impact but I can't deny that for those currently on the housing list there may be a longer wait.'

And don't worry - rubbish was still a key concern this week.

The council voted in favour of raising fines for landlords and tenants of houses of multiple occupancy that don't put out rubbish correctly from £60 to £5,000.

Cll Darren Sanders, head of housing, said: 'It's clear from the residents' complaints that something needs to be done.

'£60 is not a deterrent. We have to send the message that we are serious.'

So finally, something that might be one to watch. The council leader announced the council might pull the plug on their energy company, Victory Energy.

The company is not yet up and running but already £1m has been spent on the venture.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson was worried it would fail to bring in the £2m a year that the previous administration had believed it would. He said: 'The business plan at the moment says that we would be profitable after three years. My concerns are whether it is being over optimistic in terms of the number of households that will sign up.'