Row over demands for cheaper homes at new Portsmouth £1bn 'car-free' development

CALLS have been made for at least 1,200 affordable homes at an ‘innovative’ £1bn-plus car-free community.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 1:30 pm
How Tipner West could look if the city council's plans are approved. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

Proposals to build 4,000 new homes on part-reclaimed land on the Tipner West site in Portsmouth were praised last week.

Prospective investors and developers were impressed by ideas to store cars underground and promote sustainable travel, which they dubbed ‘forward-thinking.’

However, Tory councillor Luke Stubbs believed plans were just a ‘dream’ and that developers would be forced to axe affordable homes in order to make a profit on the site.

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How Tipner West could look if the city council's plans are approved. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

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He said: ‘I don’t believe for a second this is going to happen.

‘You’ve got to think about the cost of the reclamation, the homes and the transport provision.

‘The cost of providing infrastructure at Tipner is going to be considerable.

‘The real danger is that affordable housing will have to go. It’s a nice dream. But I just don’t see it actually happening.’

Under Portsmouth City Council rules at least 30 per cent of homes at a new development should be sold or rented at affordable rates – generally 20 per cent below the market rate.

The council confirmed it would aim for 30 per cent affordable homes.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: ‘We are the second most densely populated city in the UK, yet the government has told us to build 18,000 homes.

‘Developing homes on Tipner West helps us towards that target, while delivering homes Portsmouth people can afford and a truly sustainable community to be created.’

However, Labour councillor Cal Corkery felt the site provided an opportunity for more affordable homes than usual. 

‘On public land the absolute minimum should be the local authority’s requirement for affordable homes,’ he said.

He added: ‘But I think we should be looking to extend that. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be looking at say 40 per cent affordable homes.

‘I think the most important thing with this site is to start making progress. The original plans in 2013 said there would be homes there by 2019.’

If approved work on Tipner West will begin in 2023.