Hopes rise that new deal could kick-start Portsmouth’s City Centre North regeneration this year

A CONTROVERSIAL union between a council and a private firm could see the start of a multi-million pound city centre regeneration in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 4:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 8:50 pm
This picture, released two years ago by the city council, shows what the completed City Centre North project could look like

Portsmouth City Council is considering a joint venture with property investors Delancey to kick-start the long awaited City Centre North redevelopment, first tackling the former site of the Tricorn.

Council bosses have said the partnership will 'de-risk' the scheme by having the backing of a private company and that the mixed-use redevelopment, featuring retail, leisure facilities and homes, will 'breathe life' into the area.

Head of regeneration, Councillor Ben Dowling, said: 'In this way we can do really exciting things and make ambitious plans for the people of Portsmouth.

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Cascades car park in Portsmouth that is the former site of the Tricorn. Picture: Methuselah Tanyanyiwa

'It’s also important that we will see the former Tricorn site brought back into active use before the end of the year ahead of comprehensive redevelopment to link in with Commercial Road and the surrounding areas in the future.'

Tory chief Cllr Donna Jones agreed. 'Portsmouth City Council doesn't have the money to bring this about on its own,' she said.

'It is right and proper that a multi-million pound investment like this is done in partnership with a private sector firm. I'm really pleased that the joint proposal is being brought forward.'

Although the council owns the land that is set for redevelopment, the lease for half of it, including the former Tricorn site, is held by Delancey.

It is proposed that both partners will invest an equal amount of either money or land, depending on its worth, and will both have say in the plans.

But at a cabinet meeting yesterday a decision on the plans was deferred amid complaints that other councillors and ward residents were kept in the dark.

Housing campaigner and Labour activist Cal Corkery said: 'A private sector company is going to put profit first before the public interest, and not want to create social or affordable housing.

'I think it is a bit back to front that the cabinet will be making a major decision like this without consulting the public.'

Independent Cllr Claire Udy added: 'What they are proposing is inherently a really good idea, but I am not a fan of it being a joint venture. The council should own it all so it has control.'

Cllr Dowling confirmed that residents would be involved in the plans once they began to take shape. He said: 'We will be running extensive public consultations on this once we've partnered and started to come up with ideas.'

A spokesperson for Delancey said: 'We are excited at the prospect of working in partnership with Portsmouth City Council on this major city centre regeneration and particularly in such an historic city. 

‘In the interim we will be working on a meanwhile use and enlivenment programme for the site, and look forward to engaging with the local community and key stakeholders in the city to bring this to fruition.'

Further detail will be available at a meeting planned for the end of the month.