Investigative seabed work underway off Tipner for super-peninsula site Lennox Point in Portsmouth
INVESTIGATIVE ground work is being carried out along a seabed in the north of Portsmouth, marking the next step in plans for a new £1bn super-peninsula development.
A rig has been set up off the shore at Tipner West to analyse soil and contamination levels ahead of a planning application to reclaim land and create around 4,000 new homes.
Over the next 12 to 14 weeks the rig will be set up in 39 locations around Tipner West - now re-branded Lennox Point by the council - where a 100mm borehole will be drilled into the sea bed to recover soil samples and rock cores.
According to the city council disturbance to the ground will be 'minimal.'
Natascha McIntyre Hall, assistant director for strategic developments at the council, said: ‘We are currently undertaking the necessary surveys and exploratory works to discover whether this site is suitable for development, and are liaising closely with our statutory stakeholders, including Natural England and the Environment Agency, and other interested organisations (including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust) to keep everyone informed and up-to-date.
‘This includes work taking place currently to assess the levels of contamination and pollution that may already exist around the site.'
She added: ‘Our ambition is for Lennox Point to be a unique and sustainable car-free community, built on a 10-minute neighbourhood concept; where all everyday amenities will be within a 10-minute walk, with a focus on sustainable transport, open green spaces, access to two kilometres of walkable waterfront, and a marine employment hub that will be a national beacon within the industry.’
As reported, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) had concerns about the overall scheme.
An online petition against it, set up by the HIWWT and the RSPB, has now reached more than 23,000 signatures.
SEE ALSO: Tipner West scheme re-named Lennox Point
A spokeswoman for HIWWT said: ‘While we are concerned about disturbance to breeding birds and marine fauna due to the marine ground investigation works, we understand that some of the investigatory works are necessary to assess the level of contamination, not just at Tipner West, where they are obliged to assess the mudflats before destroying them, but throughout the whole of Portsmouth Harbour.
‘However, in a climate and ecological emergency, we need our local leaders to be protecting and enhancing our natural assets, not concreting them over. The irreplaceable intertidal mudflats at Tipner West are vital for providing food for wildlife, storing carbon and processing excessive nutrients, such as nitrates.’
Under current government targets Portsmouth council is expected to build 855 homes every year until 2038.
The authority is hoping to start construction on Lennox Point by summer 2024, if planning permission is awarded.