Portsmouth City Council plan reveals where 17,700 homes could be built in future in 'disaster' move

RELUCTANT city leaders are bracing themselves to push ahead with housing plans ‘forced upon Portsmouth’ by the government which have been branded ‘a disaster waiting to happen’.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:55 am
Caption: How Tipner West could look if the city council's plans are approved. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth City Council’s powerful cabinet committee are next week due to green-light a £30,000 six-week consultation programme into the island’s controversial local plan.

The 267-page document sets out the city’s development ambitions for the next 15 years.

It covers everything from future strategic housing projects and infrastructure improvements, to plans to tackle pollution and economic booster packages.

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Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson leader of Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

But the head of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson has admitted he is dismayed by the proposals, which he says the authority was forced to put together to fulfill a crippling Whitehall target of 17,700 new homes.

‘It’s a disaster waiting to happen’

In a scathing broadside against Boris Johnson’s government, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I don’t think the government knows and understands quite what damage they’re trying to inflict on the city. It's a disaster waiting to happen and completely unattainable. It will cause enormous harm to the city and to the people of Portsmouth.

‘We had to produce a long list of developable sites in the city and to hit the government target - which we all oppose - of building more than 17,000 houses in the next 15 years in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth's draft local plan is set to go out to consultation next month. The huge document could see thousands of homes being built in the city over the next 15 years.

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‘We’re an island city, we just don’t have that space. But the government is forcing us to produce a plan to do that.’

Five key strategic development have been earmarked for radical overhauls to help the city hit its new homes target, which will see thousands of new homes built.

The areas include Tipner, the city centre, Fratton Park and the Pompey Centre, Cosham, St James’s and Langstone Campus and Lakeside North Harbour.

Thousands of homes planned across the city

A huge 3,500 new homes could be built as part of the council’s controversial £1bn Tipner West masterplan - which has faced fierce opposition from environmental groups and politicians.

The local plan also supports Portsmouth FC’s ambition to upgrade Fratton Park from 25,000 capacity to 30,000.

As part of this, 500 new dwellings could be built on land currently owned by Pompey to the south of Rodney Road.

A further 250 homes could potentially be unlocked through developments around the Pompey Centre, in Fratton Way and Goldsmith Avenue.

A redevelopment of Cosham’s district centre could bring a further 750 homes, as well as new retail space.

Hospital site to be converted

While in Milton, a total of 436 new dwellings are proposed as part of the overhaul of the St James’ Hospital and Langstone Campus area. This would include a conversion of the former hospital and development of the site around it to create 209 new homes.

The southern part of the site previously occupied by the Harbour School is envisaged to be able to accommodate 107 residential properties.

Lakeside in North Harbour is set to remain Portsmouth’s ‘premier office location’.

However, with changes in how workplaces operate following the pandemic, with more people working from home, the draft plan said there needs to be a degree of ‘flexibility’ - with potential for up to 500 new homes at the 135-acre site.

Grand vision of city centre’s future homes plan

Among the other strategic areas earmarked for development include Portsmouth’s 60-hectare city centre, which could see between 5,183 and 6,128 new homes created

Those behind Portsmouth’s future vision say the city centre must change how it operates, highlighting how traditional retail hubs have transformed over the past decade, with shoppers increasingly moving online to purchase.

‘Every great city has a heart. Portsmouth city centre will continue to be that heart of the city, and will be a beautiful, durable and adaptable place - more compact, more diverse, easier to get around, greener and healthier, and looked after by its happy residents,’ the document said.

‘It is considered that, through long-term redevelopment, the city centre has the potential to become a diverse, vibrant and attractive area that has the capacity to deliver a number of new homes, new business, commercial and leisure space, new cultural, social and leisure, uses and new community facilities.

‘Together this will make a major contribution to meeting the city's development needs and strengthen the identity and vitality of the city centre and its economy (including evening and night-time activity).’

A six-week consultation period is expected to begin next month into the draft local plan.

It’s anticipated that the draft local plan could be finalised by spring of next year.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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