LS Blog Article

Published on Monday, 10th December 2018


Details are surprisingly sketchy, but it has to be good news that QA hospital has secured £58m of government money for a new emergency department. This is the third largest of the 75 schemes across England to receive funding this year.


The emergency department (ED) is generally reckoned to be the worst performing part of the hospital and hopefully this scheme will fix that. I was briefly a governor of the hospital and it was openly admitted that the current one is as it is because the cost of rebuilding the hospital was proving too high and something had to be removed to get it back into budget. That something was the ED and everyone recognises that scaling it back was a mistake. 


Tags: Hospital

Published on Monday, 10th December 2018

A planning application has been submitted to demolish one of the shops in Charlotte Street and replace it with a block of flats, with a commercial space on the ground floor. The proposal would see the two-storey Ponden Home store building replaced with a five storey building containing nine flats.


This is both good and bad news. The positive interpretation is that any investment is welcome and the new building looks better than the old; the negative that this is a piecemeal application and that looking at each site individually makes securing the comprehensive regeneration less likely; it also in all likelihood means the loss of a shop.


The application reference is 18/01927/OUT.


Tags: City Centre

Published on Monday, 10th December 2018


It might not always seem like it, but the pub trade is bearing up better in Portsmouth than in most of the country. 


New figures from the Office of National Statistics document the decline in pub numbers, with numbers nationwide down by about a quarter since 2001. In Portsmouth, pub numbers have fallen from 210 to 150, although employment has remained stable at 1750 as new, larger premises have come on line and as kitchen jobs have been created as more pubs sell food.


These figures show Portsmouth has 7.0 pubs per 10,000 people. This is well above the national average of 5.8 and compares favourably to neighbouring districts: Gosport has 4.6, Fareham 4.3 and Havant just 3.6. Southampton also scores badly, with just 100 pubs, for a rate of about 4.


While a lot of premises have closed over the last decade, things are showing signs of levelling off, with numbers being broadly stable over the last five years.


A large student and young adult population, combined with comparatively low property prices and an inflow of people visiting the city at night and for events are part of the explanation for Portsmouth’s relative success. 


The report is online here


Tags: Pubs

Published on Monday, 29th October 2018


The LibDems that run the City Council have formally decided to reintroduce two residents parking schemes, both of which caused widespread problems when they were in place five years ago. Between them, the two areas cover most of the area between Albert Road and Goldsmith Avenue and out to Francis Avenue. These schemes were taken out by the Conservatives because of the knock-on problems they caused elsewhere, but now they are coming back and in essentially the same form as before. This is not a good idea. 


The inevitable consequence of this will be the gradual extension of residents’ restrictions across the whole of Southsea as people in area after area become irate at being made the dumping ground for surplus cars from miles around. The real choice is between leaving things as they are or bringing in restrictions across a wide area. To pretend otherwise is to deny reality.


Instead the council is sticking to the line that somehow it is democratic to let people vote to move the student cars out of their streets and into someone else’s. It’s also expensive. First permits are £30, second ones £100 and third ones £590. There are however plenty of households containing three adults, each of whom needs a car for work.


I am asking for the council to look at a wide area scheme. As the existing parking problems in most of the area are less intense than in most of Southsea, punitive charging should not be used for second or third permits.


Tags : Parking

Published on Monday, 29th October 2018


In recognition of the pressures on Adult Social Care services across the country, the government has made available £250m in extra funding this year to councils across England. Portsmouth’s share is £890,000, which will offset some of the £3m overspend. There is speculation that there may be further help in the budget this afternoon.


Tags : Social Care

Published on Monday, 29th October 2018


One of the inevitable consequences of a change in control of the council is that some projects get left unfinished. One, which I particularly regret may now not happen, was to improve the lighting between Guildhall Square and the station.


Over the last four budgets, I managed to get £1.6m set aside to do something about the state of the public realm city centre. That is only perhaps a tenth of the amount needed to redo all of it but at least it is enough to make a start. 


At the time of the election, I was pushing for new steps between the rear of the Civic Offices and Guildhall Square, removing some of the ramps facing Isambard Kingdom Brunel Road and installing some extra lighting. For about £300,000, that could have included a sophisticated projector system that would have allowed videos to be beamed onto a cut-out of the Guildhall. The effects can be spectacular – see here for an example . This could have benefited the late night economy and encouraged more evening visitors into the city. It may well have been possible to find University students only too keen to make films to show.


Tags : City Centre 

Published on Friday, 14th September 2018


Tomorrow is the Marine Conservation Society’s annual nationwide survey of the nation’s shoreline. This is a bit more than a beach clean as volunteers also have to log what they find.


Anyone who wants to take part should meet by Rocksby’s café, between the Pier and the Pyramids at 10am. 


Tags: Beach clean, Environment