'˜Re-generation of Southsea seafront is key to city success'

RE-ENERGISING the seafront is key to Portsmouth's future success.

Wednesday, 2nd August 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:04 pm
Clarence Pier Picture: Shaun Roster Photography www.shaunroster.com

That’s the view of architect and University of Portsmouth lecturer Professor Steffen Lehmann who says a robust sea defence strategy is needed to preserve land along the seafront.

The professor – who has worked on projects regarding sustainable cities – suggested the re-development of Clarence Pier could help transform the seafront.

The pier was highlighted as a key development site in the city council’s seafront masterplan in 2012.

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Options included a new hotel with conference facilities but the plans never came to fruition and no new proposals are imminent, according to the pier’s manager and the council leader.

Transforming the seafront is one of the core principles to the university’s new urban strategy – previously revealed by The News on Monday.

Among the ideas are changing the city centre road layout in order to pedestrianise part of Hampshire Terrace, and also examining the potential for expansion at Gunwharf Quays.

Explaining the principle, Professor Lehmann said: ‘We know that we are going to have to shore up the seafront’s defences and that plans are in motion to make that happen.

‘These are crucially important as we need to strengthen the city’s readiness to deal with the impact of sea-level rise and the people of the city should be given the right to have their say.’

The city council is developing its proposals for new defences along the seafront with proposals earmarked to raise the promenade by a metre – with public consultation to follow later this year.

Professor Lehmann suggested the redevelopment of Clarence Pier should be looked at in terms of how it fitted in with the sea defences, naming it a ‘significant site’.

He said: ‘Nothing has happened to the pier in years.

‘It needs regeneration and an idea should be developed for the site in the right way.

‘It is one of the best pieces of land on the waterfront along the south coast.

‘You could have a world-class facility on there.’

Despite the suggestions, Jill Norman – the pier’s manager – said that no plans were imminent for the structure. She said: ‘The pier was named in the seafront masterplan years ago but nothing has progressed since.’

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the city council said: ‘It has been in our local plan as a site for development for many years.

‘At the moment, we have no plans for the site and unless we got funding from the government I feel any work there would have to come from the private sector.’