Portsmouth could be expanded with a land reclamation plan at Tipner to hold hundreds of homes
RECLAIMING land to create a new 'super peninsula' at Tipner could be the only way to meet 'unrealistic' housing targets, councillors have agreed.
At a cabinet meeting yesterday plans to move forward with a consultation on expanding the city by means of filling in part of Portsmouth Harbour between Tipner West and Horsea Island were approved.
The red line is the area which the consultation covers – it does not mean that the channel connecting the harbour with Tipner Lake would be reclaimed.
If eventually given the green light the project would provide 22 additional hectares of land, with potential for a total of 2,200 new homes on the whole 43.5ha site.
This would help tackle some of the housing targets set by government which ask for 17,260 new dwellings between 2016 and 2036. Currently Portsmouth only has capacity of 14,500 extra homes.
Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'We will try to expand the land at Tipner to the low tide mark to extend the size of the area. This will mean less homes have to be crammed in together.
'It is the right thing to be doing. And I would suggest we set up a cross-party group to monitor this.'
He added: 'The government has a completely unrealistic housing target for us. They want us to build more than 850 homes a year. We have sea on three sides of us and Portsdown Hill on the other. It's just not possible at the moment.'
Speaking at the meeting Toby Ayling, the council's planning policy manager, said: 'There's an opportunity here.
'First of all it enables additional needs to be met with an additional neighbourhood, there will be more land to play with.
'However, the significance of this move should not be underestimated. This is a huge step for us.
'That is why we will be launching public consultations. They will allow us to talk to local people as well as environment and wildlife experts to see if this is the right step.'
The council's head of planning, Cllr Ben Dowling, agreed. 'It is important that people know that this is a series of consultations, it is in no way the set local plan,' he said.
'It has to be made clear to the public. This is us saying we have produced some evidence and that we have done everything we can to demonstrate we can provide housing needs for the future.'
Current government targets for Portsmouth are set at 863 new homes a year, which is almost double what is being built.
Other areas of reclaimed land in Portsmouth include Horsea Island, the Farlington Marshes and Great Salterns.
The consultation on the 'super peninsula' will run from February 11 to March 25. Members of the public can access documents either through the council website or paper copies will be available to view at the local libraries, community centres, housing offices and at the civic offices.