Tipner West: Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson says £1bn Lennox Point plan is 'dead in the water'
THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has said the highly controversial £1bn Tipner West 'super peninsula' project is 'dead'.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said opposition at Wednesday's full council meeting showed the council did not support the scheme.
His comments came after a combined Labour and Conservative motion calling for all work to be 'paused and rethought' was passed.
'The message is clear: the council does not have confidence in this project and as far as I'm concerned it now won't happen,' he said.
But he warned it would leave the council facing 'difficult decisions' when it comes to finding alternative locations in the city to build housing.
'We can still build 1,250 [at Tipner] but that leaves 2,250 that will have to go elsewhere,' he added. 'To do that we will probably have to double the 900 homes homes in Cosham and then in the city centre we will probably have to fit in an extra 1,000 on top of the 4,000 already planned.
He said this may see the new park planned for the development scrapped in favour of more housing and that buildings would 'have to be taller', with the possibility of 30-storey residential blocks.
'It might be that if councillors see the alternative plans they may change their minds,' he added.
And he warned there could be 'significant' financial impacts to abandoning the scheme, including the potential for having to return millions of pounds of government funding.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been approached to comment.
Labour councillor Cal Corkery, who proposed the full council motion, said support for it showed the city was opposed to the project and wanted to see different ideas brought forward.
'People want to see an alternative that delivers genuinely affordable homes that local people need without the mass environmental destruction of Lennox Point and the council must now get on with delivering that outcome,' he said.
Opposition to the Tipner West land reclamation has centred on the ecological impact it would have through the loss of mudflats.
Speaking at Wednesday's meeting, Selma Heimedinger of Extinction Rebellion Southsea said the scheme was 'a disgrace'.
'Councillors have a duty to do the best thing for the local community and put people over profit,' she said. 'Once these habitats are lost, they cannot be replaced.'
Efforts to counter the development have been led by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, whose petition has been signed more than 24,000 times.
They have 'warmly welcomed' the council's decision to stop progressing the project but have urged the council to formally commit to abandoning it.
'This scheme now needs to be removed from the Local Plan and scrapped, and instead the focus should on enhancing the site’s true value for nature and people' Nick Bruce-White, RSPB operations director for southern England, Southern England said. 'There’s now a real opportunity to do something special here, for which Portsmouth can be proud.'
His comments were echoed by the wildlife trust's chief executive, Debbie Tann.
'We are hugely encouraged that councillors have overwhelmingly voted to 'pause and rethink' plans for Tipner West,' she said. 'The council must now remove the land reclamation plans from the Local Plan and finally scrap this ecologically-damaging vanity project.'