Portsmouth Labour Councillor Judith Smyth and Charles Dickens campaigner Cal Corkery have forced the current Lib Dem administration to look again at their controversial decision to create a new public-private partnership and explore other alternatives.
Proposals presented at the Cabinet meeting this week recommended the creation of a joint venture between Portsmouth City Council and property development firm Delancey. The land owned around the north of the city centre by both the city council and Delancey would be transferred into a joint venture.
The plans will now be looked at again in further detail after the Liberal Democrat administration agreed with Labours concerns around the partnership of this key city land and have agreed to defer meeting until further clarity is given.
Cllr Smyth and Cal Corkery both gave deputations at the Cabinet meeting making the case that consultation with the public and other councillors has so far been lacking, the proposals in their current form failed to provide any firm guarantees around affordable housing, and alternatives such as a council led scheme hadn’t been properly explored.
Concerns were also raised regarding the proposed development partner, property development firm Delancey, which has owned the lease to the Tricorn site for some time and was responsible for pulling out of the failed Northern Quarter scheme. The firm has also recently been at the centre of a controversial development in Elephant and Castle where they’ve sought to minimise the level of affordable housing they’re required to provide.
The proposals put to Cabinet today also contained no firm commitment for the Joint venture to deliver for local people on affordable housing: a key priority for Portsmouth Labour.
Cal said: “I’m glad the Cabinet took on board our concerns and agreed to defer the decision to allow for wider consultation over the proposed privatisation of public land. It’s clear to me that the possibility of the council developing this land itself has not been fully explored and should be before partnering up with a profit seeking developer is considered. It’s vital the local community are properly consulted and involved in whatever happens on the site and I’ll continue campaigning for that to be the case.”
Cllr Smyth added; ”The short delay in proceeding with the joint venture should give time for the Cabinet to explain more clearly to the public how the joint venture relates to the Masterplan and local plan both of which are in preparation. I hope that further due dilligence on Delancey can be done too. Most importantly we look forward to seeing a firm commitment to a percentage of social housing exceeding the 30% requirement in the joint venture agreement so that when planning applications are submitted this is a given”