New plans could see homes built in Somers Town

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NEW plans could rescue an attempt to redevelop one of Portsmouth’s poorest areas.

Proposals to build hundreds of new homes in Somers Town looked to have been scotched last November, when the government scrapped a private finance initiative (PFI) worth £121m.

The cash was to be used to build 730 new houses and its withdrawal could have put an end to hopes to regenerate the area.

But Portsmouth City Council’s councillors and accountants are to be asked to choose between four new options, which have the backing of the Homes and Communities Agency and private development firms.

Somers Town project manager Launce Morgan said: ‘We’re delighted to be back with proposals to be looked at. Losing the PFI cash was a big blow.

‘The whole of the phase depended on that cash, but we’ve worked hard, and there’s still a lot of interest from the private sector, and the HCA. We’re working hard to make sure the regeneration happens, and we have four options to present to councillors.’

The proposals, which include ‘doing nothing’ as well as plans to build 275, 375 or 530 homes, will be presented to the council’s cabinet on Monday.

They will then be sent to council accountants, who will work out the costs.

It’s hoped the plans will be put before councillors again before the end of this year.

Mr Morgan said: ‘Each plan suggests fewer homes than our first scheme, but that’s because of the funding being withdrawn. They’d be a first step. There would be more homes built in future.’

The 275-home proposal would see new houses on three sites. The first is bordered by Winston Churchill Avenue, Somers Road, Blackfriars Road and Forbury Road, a second is next to Rivers Street, and a third is between Waterloo Street and Winston Churchill Avenue.

The 375 houses plan would add homes on two sites, one bordered by Somers Road and Grosvenor Street, and the other by Grosvenor Street and St James’ Road.Although the recession caused the government to stop the PFI deal, it may help the council afford the homes.

Mr Morgan said: ‘We can’t say who, yet, but private firms are interested. Because of the economic situation, costs have definitely dropped in the last few years. We hope to get moving soon.’