Portsmouth’s sustainable city district gets green light

Published 20th November 2023

Portsmouth City Council has resolved to grant planning permission for the major Portsmouth City Centre North scheme that will include up to 2,300 new homes, a public park and up to 10,000 sqm of commercial space.

The scheme will be developed in phases, with the first including the construction of two residential blocks providing a total of 550 new homes and a 7,000 sqm public park. The subsequent phases will see the construction of the remaining homes and commercial space split across ten plots. To make way for the development, a number of existing buildings will be demolished, including a former Sainsbury’s supermarket.

The development will support the revitalisation of the whole city centre, providing a vibrant new use for an area which has been in long need of regeneration, and aligns with the Council’s goals for sustainable communities, better connectivity, and greener travel. It will also connect with existing residential areas, provide substantial green open space for all, and create new walking and cycling routes between neighbourhoods.

Commenting on the plans, Lee Hunt, Nelson Ward Councillor said in a recent statement: “This is going to be a UK first, the proposal here should evolve into one of the most sustainable districts in the UK and intends to be inclusive, biodiverse and eco-friendly for its community and visitors.

Our infrastructure and environment team supported Portsmouth City Council from the outset of the project, providing a range of services including air quality, archaeology, ecology, flood risk and drainage, geo-environmental, noise and vibration and waste management. Our building services and structures teams were also integral in working with the project architect and design team to develop optimum solutions for the masterplan. 

A key ambition for the scheme was to achieve a high level of cost-effective sustainable design and biodiversity net gain, whilst minimising impact on the wider environment. The scheme targets a minimum of 4 stars under the Home Quality Mark (HQM) scheme, and BREEAM ratings of at least ‘Very Good’ for commercial spaces, with an aspiration for ‘Excellent’ as a means of assessing design performance. To aid this process, our ecology team needed to consider the impact of nutrient neutrality on the nearby Solent Special Protection Area (SPA). They worked with the design team, including the landscape architects and our own drainage specialists, to achieve up to 45% biodiversity net gain and minimise impact on the SPA.

Celebrating the planning permission, Waterman’s Regional Director, Richard Stockwell said: “I’m delighted to see this forward-thinking scheme secure planning permission. Portsmouth City Centre North will set a new precedent for sustainability, seeing climate resilience and biodiversity measures embedded from the outset.”

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