'˜Stronger economy' is reason for population rise, says councillor

MORE people are moving into Portsmouth than are moving out, according to recent statistics.

More people have been moving into Portsmouth than leaving it. Picture by Shaun Roster
More people have been moving into Portsmouth than leaving it. Picture by Shaun Roster

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that internal migration in the area has risen by more than 230 per cent over a four-year period.

For every 1,000 people in the area, approximately 13 migrated to the region between July 2015 and June 2016, compared with four from July 2012 to June 2013.

Back in 2012, Portsmouth was the only place in the region to have a net decrease in internal migration – but 2016 figures show a small net increase of 0.4 per 1,000 people.

Portsmouth had the smallest increase in the region with a further 82 people living in the city – with Havant seeing the highest net increase.

Deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Luke Stubbs, says this is partly due to the strengthening of the city’s economy, keeping people in employment.

He said: ‘The local economy is strengthening and I am sure that is a big reason why this figure has changed over the past few years.

‘With a stronger economy people are more likely to stay in the city for work, hence why the figure has gone down so much – but it also helps to bring new people in.

‘For years the internal migration patterns have been out of the big cities and into the countryside, so it is pleasant news to hear that this is turning around here in Portsmouth.’

But the councillor has warned that this could also be a double-edged sword, with added pressures on housing and infrastructure in the city.

He said: ‘While everywhere is facing housing problems, we have the issue where we can’t build any new schools in our area – so as the city’s population increases, we are having to expand the schools we already have.’

Havant saw the largest increase, with approximately 615 people migrating into the borough from 2015-16.

Deputy leader of Havant Borough Council, Cllr Tony Briggs, says it was good news for the town - but that the demand for housing and jobs must also be met.

He said: ‘Havant is a wonderful place to live.

‘You are right under the South Downs, have the motorway link to the capital and good rail links as well.

‘Wherever you end up moving to there will be a lack of housing at the moment, so we are under pressure from the government to address that.

‘But if the work wasn’t available then people wouldn’t be coming here. I think it all bodes well for the area economically.’