The ambitious City Centre North development project has received unanimous backing in a recent planning committee meeting, paving the way for a major facelift in Portsmouth City Centre. The project, delineated between Hope Street, Charlotte Street, and Commercial Road to the east, is envisaged to metamorphose the northern quadrant of the city centre.

This multi-faceted development encompasses residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. The initial phase will see the construction of two residential blocks, yielding a total of 550 homes, alongside a sprawling public park covering nearly 7,000 sq m. This segment of the project is set to replace the former locale of Sainsbury’s, presently home to the Pitt Street skatepark.

As the development transitions into its second phase, an additional 1,750 homes and 10,000 sq m of commercial space spread across ten distinct plots will materialise. This extensive phase necessitates the demolition of all edifices on the 11.3-hectare site, sparing only the historic St Agatha’s Church.

The words of Nelson ward councillor Lee Hunt, a cabinet member for resources, resonated a forward-looking ethos, stating the project is about “moving Portsmouth forward”. The aspiration is to morph this district into a hallmark of sustainability within the UK, striving for inclusivity, biodiversity, and eco-friendliness for both its residents and visitors.

Councillor Judith Smyth, while echoing Hunt’s enthusiasm, advocated for revisiting aspects related to biodiversity, building materials, and colours to ensure a harmonious aesthetic appeal.

The committee, before adjourning, approved a motion expressing their intent to assess requests concerning building materials’ planning conditions. Parallelly, efforts are being channelled into constructing a new city centre bus lane and junction, with completion eyed by the summer of 2024.