MoD sport pitches '˜will be key to Gunwharf growth'
NAVAL sports fields have been identified as a solution for the possible expansion of Gunwharf Quays.
The shopping centre is keen to expand and HMS Temeraire has now been touted as the location to assist in the potential expansion of Portsmouth’s famous outlet hub.
Professor Steffen Lehmann, a key figure in the University of Portsmouth’s new urban strategy and £400m masterplan, revealed by The News yesterday, says the site is ‘the missing link’ in boosting connectivity between the shopping centre and the city centre.
He said: ‘HMS Temeraire divides the city centre, university and Gunwharf into three separate places.
‘If we can free up that land, then the missing link between all three can be explored.
‘Gunwharf is so isolated at the moment, almost on its own island, but it still continues to be a big draw for the city.’
He revealed that a group of developers was working on a proposal to secure the site, which could lead to an expansion of 30 to 40 new outlets from Gunwharf onto the available space.
Professor Lehmann added: ‘It is a prime site, right in the city centre. Everybody wants to use that site and develop it.
‘The sporting facilities could be provided elsewhere across the city.
‘We could also put good green open space there and some more housing as well.
‘Gunwharf needs to be connected to the city.’
Any development could also see Park Road altered to have shops, cafes and homes stationed either side of the street, according to the professor.
Colin Wilding, general manager at the shopping outlet centre said: ‘We are always looking to improve and evolve the centre to ensure our guests have the best possible experience, but we are not aware of any opportunities to expand at this time.’
The MoD confirmed the site was not available as a spokeswoman stated: ‘There are currently no plans to dispose of HMS Temeraire, however, the MoD is currently conducting a review of its estate.
‘This work is ongoing and no final decision about the future of sites not already announced for release has been made at this point.’
Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council said he understood the MoD wanted to retain the site for the foreseeable future.
He said: ‘As things stand, there is no land available for use for an expansion to occur.
‘If that were to change, there would be some logic in seeing future growth in terms of outlet stores within a certain scales, but I must stress there is no land available yet.’
Opposition leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he did not want any expansion to occur on open space.
He said: ‘I would rather we look at building on unused spaces before we consider building on open spaces.
‘Brunel House in Portsea, for example. We need to explore derelict sites before we explore the option of open spaces.’