Portsmouth City Council, advised by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, has been given the go ahead for Portsmouth City Centre North, a phased, mixed-use development that will provide for 2,300 new homes and 10,000 sqm of new commercial space in the heart of the city. The outline planning application received a unanimous resolution to approve by Members.
Located between the Cascades Shopping Centre, Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum and HM Naval Base, the 13.25 ha site occupies a key location in the north of the city centre long earmarked for development.
The proposals are underpinned by an illustrative masterplan and outline design code, developed by Leslie Jones Architects, which set out an overarching vision centred around a new public park:
- Phase 1 comprises two buildings delivering 550 new homes, non-residential floorspace and associated landscaping and access works, including part of the new public park. The buildings form a courtyard arrangement, maximise views into, and interaction with, the new park. Details of access, layout, scale and appearance have been provided, with landscaping reserved matters for subsequent approval, allowing for further public engagement on this key element of the proposals.
- Phase 2 comprises a series of residential or mixed-use development plots, including the remainder of the new public park. It includes for up to a further 1,750 new homes and non-residential uses taking the total to 10,000sqm. Details of the strategic means of access have been provided with all other details reserved.
The site is in a prominent location and currently dominated by surface level car parking and highways. A key challenge has been to ensure that the development prioritises sustainable transport choices whilst retaining and evolving necessary highways infrastructure. Other key planning considerations have been to respect heritage assets whilst delivering the quantum of development required and ensuring design quality is established, whilst retaining flexibility in this long-term development. Tibbalds led pre and post application discussions with the Local Planning Authority and are agent for the planning application.
Rob Moorhouse, Associate Director at Tibbalds, said:
“These plans are a design-led response to the urban environment and opportunities this site provides. They will transform this underutilised brownfield land into a new high-quality development centred around a new public park for all.
It will deliver a much need step-change in housing delivery, alongside commercial and community spaces in a development that promotes the 20-minute neighbourhood and meets and exceeds currently sustainability targets in the city.
There will be a range of housing types with tenure blind design and access to private communal and public amenity spaces, and different character areas provide spaces for different activities and interactions.”
The plans have been developed in line with the Portsmouth 2040 project, which adopted the Council’s 2040 Vision in 2021 capturing the Council’s five strategic objectives for the City which have informed both the Council’s emerging planning policies and the Portsmouth City Centre North proposals. These include: A healthy and happy city; A city with a thriving economy and lifelong learning; A green city; and A city with easy travel. The development will directly delivery on these objectives.
Other team members were Atkins Realis | LDA Design | Waterman Group | Expedition Engineering | Stantec | Trium Environmental Consulting | Gareth Jones Heritage Planning | Neaves Urbanism | Volterra | EB7 | RWDI
Image credit: Leslie Jones Architects