Portsmouth's Tipner West superpeninsula development Lennox Point - more details revealed

MORE details of Portsmouth’s controversial Tipner West 'super peninsula' plan have been revealed at an industry event.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:55 am
Lennox Point

The £1 billion car-free development, now named Lennox Point, was first announced in 2019 as part of Portsmouth City Council efforts to meet 'tough' government housing targets and create more employment land.

Despite significant environmental opposition to the scheme, which would involve the reclamation of 67 acres from Portsmouth Harbour, plans could be submitted next summer and consultations are expected to start in November.

Together with its project partners, including planning firm Savills and consultancy Faithful+Gould, the council hosted prospective developers and investors on Thursday.

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Phoenix Quay, the Marine Employment Hub Picture: Joe Munro

Natascha McIntyre Hall, its assistant director of strategic developments, said Lennox Point would be a 'blank canvas', allowing people to 'think differently' about how the community of 4,000 homes is designed.

'It offers an opportunity to make a step change for the city of Portsmouth; providing homes and employment for local people and bringing investment into the city, to help build a sustainable new community,' she said.

Divided into four main districts, it is proposed that Lennox Point would have a variety of housing from family homes to high-rise residential development sitting alongside 'the largest green maritime employment park in the country'.

These districts are:

Living Street at Lennox Point Picture: Joe Munro

- Watersail Street, which would be a mix of industry and housing

- Galliot Park with a residential focus and the largest of the four public parks

- South Shore which would be the main centre for family housing

- Lennox Gardens in the centre with its own New York-style 'Central Park'

The first phase of Lennox Point

Four parks are proposed in total across the peninsula.

A new primary school is also proposed to serve the increased population. The council said there was no need for a secondary school as there is already enough capacity elsewhere in the city.

The tallest building would be 15 storeys high. Project consultant Emma Davies said 30 per cent of the housing would be affordable in order to comply with council planning policy.

Energy for the 'net carbon zero neighbourhood' would be provided through electricity with the peninsula being 'gas free'.

Ms Davies said the potential for renewable power was also being considered but she said there was a need to balance the installation of solar panels with a desire for many of the new buildings to have green roofs.

TRANSPORT

A main theme of the entire development is the focus on moving away from cars with much of the area set to be inaccesible to vehicles except for 'managed access' for emergency services, maintenance teams and for those with disabilities.

'Taking away the cars means you can take away the kerbs and that makes a big difference to people's lives,' Ms McIntyre Hall added.

A network of footpaths and cycle routes is proposed across the area while it is aimed for everyone to be within 15 minutes of shops, green spaces and employment areas.

Longer distance transport would be focused around a central public hub which would service routes both to and from and around the peninsula.

Discussions have been held with both Highways England and Hampshire County Council to consider the impact the development would have on the surrounding road network.

Nearby to this, it is proposed to build a 'consolidation centre' which would take deliveries for residents to either collect themselves or to be delivered directly to homes via a network of autonomous delivery robots as is already in place in Milton Keynes.

ENVIRONMENT

However, the environmental impact of the reclamation of land from the protected Portsmouth Harbour has prompted widespread opposition to the project.

The RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have joined forces to campaign against the 'destruction' of the important habitat and their petition has attracted tens of thousands of signatures.

Debbie Tann, the chief executive of the wildlife trust said the project was 'frankly unacceptable'.

'The level of nature destruction this could cause locally is unprecedented and furthermore, it will set a dangerous precedent that could open the floodgates for concreting over legally protected sites across the country,' she said.

But Gavin Hall of Savills, another partner of the project, said there would be a 'net biodiversity gain' from the development.

'We're working with both the Environment Agency and Natural England to look at how we offset the reclamation and that will all go into the application,' he said.

'Portsmouth is limited in locations that can be developed but there will be a significant biodiversity gain.

'We are confident we have a case building up and we will be going above and beyond to improve the biodiversity of the environment.'

He added that discussions had also been held with Southern Water to look at ways to manage nitrate pollution from the development.

PLANNING/FUTURE STEPS

The Tipner West project forms a key part of the council's Local Plan, which sets out how it will meet government housing targets and its development priorities.

A draft version of this went out for consultation last week. This will finish at the end of October before final proposals are put together.

Three consultation events will be held across the city next month:

Saturday, October 16 from 10am to 1pm at Cosham Library

Tuesday, October 19 from 4pm to 8pm at Pompey in the Community in Fratton

Wednesday, October, 20 from 10am to 2pm at Central Library

Councillor Hugh Mason, the council's cabinet member for planning policy, said government demands had forced the inclusion of more development than were capable of being built.

‘The government is forcing the council to plan to build an extra 17,700 new houses in Portsmouth over the next 15 years,' he said. ‘This is far too many in an island city, but the government have rejected our request to have a more realistic housing target.’

He acknowledged the need to 'treat Portsmouth Harbour with respect' but said the Lennox Point would create thousands of jobs and homes while allowing sea defences to be installed.

A public consultation specifically on the Tipner West proposal is due to take place in November.

However, plans are already being drawn up with the aim for an outline planning application be submitted next summer.

'We're about a year away from submitting a planning application,' Mr Hall said. 'We have consultations later this year which will help shape that. There's still lots of time for people to influence things.'

With the proposals being submitted in outline form, detailed designs for much of the project would have to be approved at a later date.

Construction work could begin as soon as 2024 although it is expected the project would take about 30 years to fully complete.