Government ministers looked likely to allow the development of the old Gunwharf naval site to go ahead without a public inquiry.
Senior government sources told The News ministers were ‘looking favourably’ on the £100m plan to turn the Portsmouth site into a 30-acre housing, leisure and shopping development by the summer of 2000.
But they stressed the matter was still under consideration and ministers had not completely ruled out ordering a public inquiry.
The News understood the proposals were being considered by planning minister Nick Raynsford who was said to be impressed the scheme had widespread public support.
His decision was expected in a week’s time – when Portsmouth City Council would consider the detailed plan for the development.
Ahead of the final decision Portsmouth planners were optimistic the government would decide against ordering a public inquiry, despite the plans receiving criticism from The Royal Fine Arts Commission and the Portsmouth Society.
Gunwharf Quays was later opened in 2001.