A significant area of land within the city centre, formerly owned by Sainsbury’s, has been purchased by Portsmouth City Council. The area will now be a significant site for the council’s city centre regeneration plans, providing both short-term and long-term development options.
Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Economic Development said, “We are only looking at development options that will enhance the city centre for the future, complimenting other current city centre projects, including improvements to the high street, bus journeys and air quality. The purchase of the former Sainsbury’s site has opened up new and better opportunities that just didn’t exist before and that is enabling a new and exciting approach to regenerating the whole area.
Whilst we are looking at some exciting long-term options, it is sensible for us to look at an excellent short-term use for the site and that is why we are currently in talks with a potentially suitable tenant. We are looking forward to confirming the details on that very soon.”
Last year, the council successfully relocated the city centre market to the southern end of Commercial Road; a move that has been welcomed by market traders in the interest of protecting the market’s future. Portsmouth also became one of only four local authorities to be awarded Future High Streets funding for two high streets and that includes Commercial Road. These recent successes, followed by the purchase of the former Sainsbury’s site, have meant a change in priorities for the council’s approach to the city centre and to the former Tricorn site; currently occupied by the NCP car park behind Cascades.
Cllr Steve Pitt continued, “As with many people’s plans from last year, our approach to the city centre has been affected by things outside of our control, such as coronavirus. However, we are very much focused on what we can deliver quickly and without complication. That is why, although we still want to see the former Tricorn site come back to life, we have made an informed joint decision at this time to stop work on the proposed partnership and look at other options instead. An existing planning application to develop Hope Street is another example of something that does not align with what we are trying to achieve and prioritise at the moment and so this will be withdrawn for positive reasons.
What is important to us now, is to hear from the public and really find out how their needs and wants from the city centre may have changed recently. We are looking to have those conversations with people as part of the local plan consultation later this year.”