At today’s Full Council meeting a Labour motion calling for a rethink of the council’s Tipner West ‘super-peninsula’ proposals was passed by a majority of councillors present. As a result a report will now be brought to the December meeting reviewing the project and presenting the alternative options possible.
Labour brought the motion in response to widespread opposition in the community from groups such as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the RSPB as well as over 24,000 people who have signed a petition. The Lib Dem administration’s proposals for mass land reclamation and environmental destruction at Tipner would set a worrying precedent that promotes the interests of developers over the views of local people.
Proposer of the motion, Councillor Cal Corkery said:
“This is a big victory for all those people who oppose the construction of a luxury and exclusive development at Tipner that would build over protected environmental sites. We need a more realistic development that delivers genuinely affordable homes for local residents without destroying the environment in the process”.
Seconder of the motion, Councillor Judith Smyth said:
“We have listened to the many objections from respected organisations and local residents and are plased that our motion has been supported. People should make their views known through the consultation of the Local Plan which closes at the end of the month”.
The Labour Group on Portsmouth City Council will continue to represent voters in the city and hold the administration to account on the big issues of the day. If you have any views on Tipner or any other local issues you think we should be campaigning on do get in touch.
The full text of the motion passed by Full Council today reads as follows:
Time to pause and rethink the Tipner West project motion:
Seconded by Judith Smyth
Increasing numbers of local people are raising concerns about the Liberal Democrat administration’s plans for Tipner. The council has already spent over £10m of taxpayer cash drawing up plans which would see the creation of a ‘super-peninsula’ through large scale land reclamation at Tipner West.
We share the concerns of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) who are opposing the destruction of the intertidal mudflats that are legally protected as sites of scientific and environmental importance. Over 23,000 people have signed their petition calling for the proposals not to go ahead but the council doesn’t seem to be listening.
Not only would the plans cause unacceptable damage to the local environment and wildlife, we are also concerned the kind of development being pursued is not what our city needs. Despite most of the Tipner West site being publicly owned land the current proposals include just 30% affordable housing meaning the majority of new properties on the site will be expensive luxury homes out of reach of many local people.
The council has already spent some £10.8 million on the Tipner regeneration proposals and expects to incur another £7.5 million getting it to the stage of applying for planning permission (figures correct as of report to Cabinet in October 2020). This includes £4.6m in consultancy fees of which £4.2m went to one firm of “property & planning experts” who continue to play an active role in promoting the scheme both within and outside of the council.
Members of the Liberal Democrat Cabinet have themselves expressed concerns about being able to secure permission for their current proposals but are still prepared to gamble £18.3 million of public money on something that may well not go ahead.
Several important stakeholders including the HIWWT, the RSPB, The Portsmouth Society, heritage groups and others are against the current proposal and are asking for more extensive and effective consultation. This wider community engagement remit should include exploration of alternative proposals and options for developing the site.
While the draft Local Plan agreed by Cabinet does contain a number of alternative options for the Tipner West site, it seems to be framed in a way that prioritises the ‘super-peninsula’ land reclamation proposal being promoted by the Strategic Developments service. It is regrettable that Cabinet missed the opportunity within the draft Local Plan to make clear any objection to government housebuilding targets on the grounds of environmental and land supply constraints.
It’s time to pause and rethink the Tipner West project to ensure value for money is achieved, the environment is protected and the maximum possible levels of affordable housing are delivered.
Full Council therefore calls on the Cabinet to bring a report on the Tipner West project to the December Full Council meeting as a matter of urgency. This report should update councillors and members of the public on the current status of the project, including total spend to date. This report must also include consideration of viable alternative options for the site and set out a timeline for further decisions to be made.