Portsmouth City Council’s week in review

Portsmouth Guildhall
Portsmouth Guildhall
A man has died after a motorbike crash in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth. Picture: David George

Shock as man dies in Portsmouth motorbike crash

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It’s been another unpredictable week for Portsmouth City Council less than a month after the shock result that saw Lib Dem leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson back in power.

But that almost seems like a distant memory with some of the events that followed.

At the beginning of this week hundreds of families and tenants were left reeling by news they would have to leave their homes in Leamington and Horatia House due to structural issues.

Both the towers were discovered to have weaknesses in their concrete make-up after cladding was removed for fire safety reasons.

READ MORE: Hundreds of people told they will have to leave two tower blocks

Around 800 people will have to be re-homed within the year. It is still unclear exactly where everyone will go, although Cllr Vernon-Jackson told The News: ‘We are assured that it will be enough and that we will know how much housing will become free at the end of each month. The view is that is will be okay.’

He was not so positive, however, about rumours surrounding a certain American president.

Despite reports from the national media the council leader was not convinced Portsmouth would receive a visit from Mr Trump in July. And if it did, he said, there was no reason to celebrate.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘If he did come to Portsmouth, which I think is highly unlikely, I am not sure he would receive a warm welcome.’

Meanwhile, also in a new role, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason, was thrilled to hear people were getting involved in his Small Changes Big Difference campaign.

He hopes together the city can lose one million pounds in weight, travel one million miles and donate one million hours to volunteer work.

Also close to home for the Lord Mayor was Tuesday’s decision to extend the hours of alcohol sales at a petrol station in his ward. The Portsbridge service station in Cosham will now sell alcohol 24 hours a day despite several objections from local residents.

And finally, something else worth noting. Friday’s governance and audit and standards committee revealed an error that could have big consequences for the council. Auditors found that for two years old council computers may not have been wiped before being disposed of. If any data was to be leaked, that could lead to a hefty fine from the government.

Fiona Callingham, Local Democracy Reporting Service