This section provides details about the email responses to the consultation received. In total, 45 emails were received from a mixture of residents, individuals on behalf of landowner organisations, and individuals on behalf of statutory consultees. The breakdown is as follows;
- 33 residents
- 10 landowners and organisations
- Two statutory consultees
A thematic analysis was undertaken on the email responses from residents which can be found in section 7.1. Emails from landowner organisations and statutory consultees were in some areas very lengthy and specific, so sections 7.2 and 7.3 contain summaries of the emails received from these individuals.
Emails were received from 33 residents. The main themes that emerged surround opposing development on the Fraser Range site/ Eastney beach area, keeping vehicular access to the seafront, improving lighting, enhancing Canoe Lake, and opposing the loss of swimming pools such as at the Pyramids and Eastney. A number of specific suggestions were also left by residents which can be found at the bottom of section 7.1.
The key theme emerging from these emails is opposition to over-development of the seafront. In particular, 42% of residents who emailed objected to the proposed development on the Fraser Range site/ Eastney beach area. Reasons for opposing this development include:
- A preference to maintain green open spaces as Portsmouth is a densely-built and populated city, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic where outdoor areas have taken on more importance.
- Concern over development-creep into others areas of the seafront.
- The area is vital for flora, wildlife, bird and other animal habitation.
- The area is unique and provides a tranquil space.
- Development being contradictory to the city’s Climate Emergency and resulting in increased emissions and environmental damage.
Suggestions to enhance the area, rather than develop it, are common with re-wilding; emphasising the area’s heritage such as by improving the setting and access to Fort Cumberland; and creating a new walking route around the Fort. A handful of local residents note that they have not been consulted about the proposed development in this area and emphasise the need to be consulted early in planning stages, as well as being kept regularly updated (27%).
In terms of other themes that emerged from the emails, three residents comment on the need to keep vehicular access to the seafront area, emphasising that the importance for disabled people, elderly people and families with small children. Two residents further highlight the need to improve lighting in the seafront area, including repairing and maintaining the festoon lighting, “spinnaker” design lamps, vintage style lamps, and LED lighting at Hotwalls. Another two residents also explain that they support enhancing Canoe Lake, and a couple more are against losing facilities such as the fun pool at the Pyramids and Eastney swimming pool, with a preference for investing in these centres instead.
Nine residents gave further specific suggestions which have been listed below:
- Level out the paths along the seafront stretch near the bandstand field and introduce a cycle lane here.
- Improve the promenade, build an open air lido, increase water sports and introduce a seasonal bus or road train to transport people from Clarence Pier to Eastney.
- Make the seafront road one-way which would allow for parking, one lane of traffic and a cycle lane.
- Make clearer the history of the area, especially for tourists, through a facility on Point to inform the public with visual displays and information.
- Better landscaping needed, such as by putting in a rock garden in the section adjacent to the Pyramids going west along the Prom.
- Need better access to Old Portsmouth from The Harbour station/ The Hard/ Gunwharf.
- Need to involve English Heritage Garrison Church and Portsmouth Cathedral (St Thomas) when thinking about Old Portsmouth.
- Clear signage of the swim zone so all users of the sea are aware.
- Maintain the historic streetscape of Broad Street and do not implement a pedestrian crossing here.
Finally, it is worth noting that eight residents who emailed state that they are broadly in support of the Seafront Masterplan, with several noting that they are pleased with the emphasis on cycling and pedestrianisation.
Landowners and organisations
The following section provides a summary of the email feedback received from 10 landowners and organisations.
Gosport Borough Council
Gosport Borough Council support the general principles of the Seafront Masterplan, but in particular agree with enhancing the local tourism offer and creating a safe, convenient cycle route from Gosport ferry to Hayling ferry. They also welcome all measures to improve the signage, lighting and walking and cycling routes at Portsea Hard leading to Southsea Seafront. They suggest that enhancing the Millennium Promenade would be positive and are very keen for additional water taxi links between Portsmouth and Gosport.
Highways England do not want an increase in traffic on the strategic road network (SRN – the A3(M), M27 and A27) as a result of planned growth within Portsmouth City without careful consideration of mitigation measures. They therefore want to ensure that seafront development progresses only with the appropriate infrastructure in place, but agree with proposals which will reduce demand on the SRN infrastructure.
SGN suggest that reinforcement of the Portsmouth Low Pressure (LP) network may be necessary to support the various potential developments highlighted in the Seafront Masterplan, and these will be dependent on the final point of connection to SGN’s network. Where required, SGN will look to manage the provision of any off site infrastructure improvements, in line with the overall development growth and / or timescales provided. SGN would therefore request that, where the Council are in discussions with developers via the Local Plan, early notification requirements are highlighted.
Isle of Wight Council
The Isle of Wight Council are supportive of the masterplan, but suggest considering connectivity wider than just within the masterplan area, such as how the plan can influence and facilitate the movement of people between the masterplan area and the Isle of Wight (particularly Ryde). The Isle of Wight should also be referenced in terms of being an important point of access between the two authority areas.
The Southsea Clarence Esplanade Pier Company Ltd.
The Southsea Clarence Esplanade Pier Company Ltd. support the Seafront Masterplan goals to improve and enhance current facilities at Clarence Pier, but this area needs to be incorporated and defended within sea defences. They also write that the Clarence pier pavilion building should not be retained as it will not improve or enhance the area. They note that there are no provisions for access to freehold property for their large amusement ride loads, and the area adjacent to their property has been proposed as a pedestrianised area with only open space which could attract anti-social behaviour.
The Southsea Clarence Esplanade Pier Company Ltd. also indicate that it seems as though the masterplan is based around Victorious festival (e.g. pedestrianising a lot of the area), but argue that businesses still require visitors by car and therefore parking provisions are needed. They point out that the closure of the seafront proved pedestrianising doesn’t work for this area – there was a decline in visitor numbers. Furthermore, they object to plans to enlarge Hover travel as this will not generate investment and is subject of many complaints (such as damaging nearby buildings). Ultimately, they suggest that Victorious festival and the hovercraft terminal are moved to a different location.
The RSPB emphasise that it is critical for developers and local authorities to work collaboratively to ensure that mitigating climate change, enhancing green infrastructure, and seeking opportunity to increase biodiversity are core elements of design within Portsmouth’s Local Plan. Specifically, they highlight that careful consideration will need to be given in the design and construction phase of developing The Pyramids Centre, given its position adjacent to Castle Field which is a candidate site for dark-bellied Brent Geese to inhabit through winter months. They also note concern about development at Fraser Range and the impact this could have upon wildlife/ecology.
CBRE Limited (planning advisors to Premier Marinas Limited)
CBRE Limited welcome the Council’s identification of Southsea Marina as a development area. They support the stated ambitions to increase the provision of leisure uses and facilities at the Marina, including food and beverage uses. They also welcome the Council’s identification of the site as suitable for providing watersports equipment and cycle hire facilities, and would work to support their aspirations for increased leisure uses across waterfront.
CBRE Limited also encourage the Council to acknowledge the significance of the site as a local skilled employment centre and hope the Masterplan is updated to acknowledge that expanded employment uses at the Marina are encouraged. They agree with the reference to the ability of the site to accommodate holiday-lets as part of a sustainable leisure destination. However, they do not want the period of occupation of accommodation to be restricted as this is rarely successful. Premier’s approach to delivering residential accommodation in waterside locations encourages stewardship of the local environments through management approaches that are sensitive to the environments and so they report that they would be happy to support the Council with this.
Southampton City Council (SCC)
Southampton City Council confirmed its continued support for the development of the new Portsmouth Seafront Masterplan and acknowledge the importance of working together to maintain and enhance the interconnectivity of the entire Solent region. They welcome the 10 key objectives and in particular support the intention to replace sea defences. They agree with encouraging walking and cycling access routes to the seafront, noting that they are planning to do something similar in Southampton and so will look to PCC as a good example.
SCC broadly support the principles and objectives for transport and access in, and around, Portsmouth Seafront, and reaffirm the need for good transport connections between Portsmouth and Southampton to offer a viable alternative to car travel, and to tackle congestion on the M27. A key factor in the potential creation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes and other future proposals will be their ability to integrate with, and contribute to, the future expansion of the BRT network in South Hampshire. Such a system could better connect Portsmouth Seafront to the surrounding region and to Southampton in particular, thus providing a wide range of economic and environmental benefits for both cities and South Hampshire as a whole.
Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PCF)
The Portsmouth Cycle Forum fully endorse the vision behind the Seafront Masterplan. They have some specific suggestions made in light of recent legal/ Government Guidance changes:
- A recent national consultation on the review of the Highway Code sought to confirm pedestrians as the most vulnerable highways users. If approved, this change will come in during the duration of this Masterplan and may therefore change the plan’s prioritisation of users through law.
- The summer of 2020 saw new Government Guidance issued for Cycle Infrastructure design in Local Transport Note 1/20 alongside its vision for transformational change in transportation through its Gear Change Strategy. They trust that the reference to Manual for Streets 2 will be updated to reflect the new guidance and anything that may be issued during the life of the plan.
PCF emphasise the need for a joined-up, safe, segregated, two-way route along the entire seafront, and a ferry to ferry segregated link which would encourage an uplift in cycle tourism through the city. Consideration to cycle parking, especially near main attractions, is also important. They also highlight the need for a dedicated cycle route to access the ferry to Hayling Island. Finally, and detail how Pier Road needs to be made more appealing to cyclists and pedestrians, such as by removing street car parking; the existing cycleway needs to be extended where seafront road meets Henderson Road as it is currently hazardous; and they note that future development at the Fraser Range should not make cycling more hazardous.
PCC Public Health
PCC Public Health are encouraged to see active travel, physical activity, quality of public realm and equality of access as core principles of the Seafront Masterplan. They are fully in support, but recommend that a Health Impact Assessment should be undertaken for all major development proposals that come forward, in accordance with the Portsmouth Local Plan. They suggest that inequality should be a fundamental consideration for all proposals brought forward, and that reducing car reliance and vehicle movements to access the seafront for all is vital. They urge further consideration of improved beach access for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility, and finally seek reassurance that future development proposals for Pyramids and Eastney swimming pool do not impact on swimming provision for the city; any redevelopment of swimming facilities need to ensure that public use is the priority.
Two statutory consultees sent emails which have been summarised below. No response was received from Natural England.
The Environment Agency are pleased to see that the proposed Southsea defences are an integral part of the proposed vision for the seafront. However, they point out that new defences will not completely remove the risk of flooding and so residual impact from flood risk will still need to be considered. They are also happy to see the potential significant impacts of climate change being recognised at the forefront of this document. They are particularly supportive of the consideration of flood risk when deciding about development location and use, the promotion of water efficiency measures, and the recognition of the importance of Sustainable Drainage; these are important issues in adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change. They highlight that any redevelopment of Fraser Range needs to carefully consider the significant flood risk issues associated with the site itself, and surrounding area, in relation to access. A thorough assessment and understanding of flood risk should be developed to ensure that any proposal on this site is deliverable in terms of flood risk.
Historic England welcome the recognition of the importance of history and heritage in the Seafront Masterplan. They make a number of specific comments which include having any reference to replacing Blue Reef or other buildings address Southsea Castle’s west battery and improve the setting of the castle, as well as the negative effect of parking on Avenue de Caen on Ladies Mile as a part of Southsea Common both visually and on its leisure function. They would welcome the opportunity to provide further comments when any future redevelopment of the Pyramids Centre occurs, in reference to its impact on the setting of Southsea Castle and conservation area, and wider townscape and landscape. Finally, they suggest that the range of uses of Fort Cumberland should be constrained to co-working offices, start-up hubs, studios and workshops because an activity centre or entertainment venue would be an inappropriate use of the area. To support these uses, an enhanced internet connection would be needed.