Southsea seafront to be transformed

ALL CHANGE Clarence Pier could be revamped as part of the council's seafront strategy
ALL CHANGE Clarence Pier could be revamped as part of the council's seafront strategy
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AMBITIOUS plans to redevelop Clarence Pier have been confirmed after a public consultation.

Last summer, Portsmouth City Council revealed its seafront strategy – a plan to transform the city centre and the seafront over the next 15 years.

Councillors have now given the green light to adopt the masterplan.

Clarence Pier was highlighted as the key development site in the seafront masterplan.

And now, the council has narrowed the plans down to two options.

The first would be the most comprehensive development and would involve a new building incorporating a hotel, leisure uses and a transport terminal.

The second would involve the re-use or redevelopment of existing buildings, a new hotel, a separate transport interchange building and a new pedestrianised plaza.

It would also see the existing funfair retained.

Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We will work with the owners to try to see if we can do a redevelopment there that adds to the offer for when people come to the seafront and try to make sure that we have something that’s really attractive to bring people down to Southsea.

‘Different groups of people come to do different things. What we have got to do is have a series of things down on the seafront that attract people.’

David Evans, manager of Southsea seafront, said: ‘I’m delighted overall that the plan has been adopted.

‘As part of the overall development of the seafront it’s a major improvement.

‘It’s about trying to bridge the gap between the shopping area in Southsea and the heritage site and the seafront.’

The council received 488 responses through public consultation ranging from wholehearted support for redevelopment of an outdated ‘eyesore’ to pleas to keep the funfair and existing buildings.

‘Most people who visit Portsmouth visit the seafront,’ added Mr Evans.

‘I’m very proud that 70 per cent of people who visit Portsmouth come to the seafront.

‘But we are short of facilities for them.

‘This is where option B comes into it.’

Other changes include moving the location of the proposed Watersports Hub to Eastney beach, and improving the open space near the Blue Reef Aquarium.

Plans to place the bandstand in the Rose Garden have also been scrapped.

But cyclist David Banks, 37, from Marion Road in Southsea, has expressed concern about the lack of provision for cyclists.

‘From what I can see there’s nothing additional in the seafront masterplan for cycling,’ he said.

‘It’s just a massive wasted opportunity.

‘I did think that the rest of the plan was good and really exciting.

‘But cycling can do so much to help. One of the major problems with the seafront is access. Parking is a nightmare.’

But Cllr Vernon-Jackson said there is a new cycle path.

‘There’s been a new cycle path put in across the common,’ he said. That connects through from Hayling Ferry up to the Gosport Ferry.

‘That’s what we were asked to do by Sustrans who look after cycle paths across the whole country.’

The council will be working with landowners and developers to come up with plans about how best to develop the area.