Masterplans for Portsmouth and Southsea given go-ahead despite fear over new road

A NEW DAWN Clarence Pier, captured here by reader Stephen Ashton, could be redeveloped under new city plans
A NEW DAWN Clarence Pier, captured here by reader Stephen Ashton, could be redeveloped under new city plans

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INVESTMENT plans for Portsmouth’s city centre and seafront have been approved – despite fears over a proposed road layout.

Two masterplans show how the city could grow if money for development pours into Portsmouth over the next 15 years.

New projects such as the Northern Quarter and a revamped Clarence Pier are shown alongside improvements to the city’s roads, parks and infrastructure.

One of the major changes is to the road network into the city from the M275, replacing the existing one-way system with a completely new layout.

This is designed to give easier access to the £500m Northern Quarter project, which is being planned by developer Centros.

The seafront plan and the city centre plan were approved yesterday by the council’s cabinet but still need to go to September’s full council meeting. Conservative spokesman for finance and transport, Cllr Luke Stubbs, said he was concerned by the proposal to close the access between Wingfield Street and Church Street, while reducing southbound traffic on St Michael’s Road down to one lane.

He said: ‘If there was a merge into one lane we would get very serious traffic problems there in both directions without a doubt. The two things together would be horrendous and seem completely unnecessary.

‘And I’m not happy about the cost of this being dumped on the taxpayer instead of being covered by the developer. If we are going to take up a lot of the cost for the road improvements we have to try and get some of that back. Getting 100 extra flats out of our deal with Centros would be worth £1m to the city and would reduce the cost.’

Leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he agreed that there was a chance of increasing congestion if the plan went ahead.

‘I don’t see there is any logic in it,’ he said. ‘I think those two proposals are not going to work, but I may well be persuaded.’

He added that the council had to invest in the road network because otherwise the city’s regeneration wouldn’t go ahead.

He said: ‘We need to make sure we are investing in the city centre, investing in new jobs and new shops and making Portsmouth an attractive place to live. It is one of the key things that councils should be doing. If councils are not working to invest in economic development then the point of councils really needs to be questioned.’