Council Leader asks Minister of State Housing, Communities and Local Government to reduce housing target number for city

Leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has written a letter to the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State Housing, Communities and Local Government, to ask for a meeting to discuss the housing target that is set by Government for the City.

Dear Minister

Housing Targets in Portsmouth

A member of the public has passed to me a copy of a letter from Stephen Morgan MP regarding housing numbers in Portsmouth, and your response to this.  In your response to the MP, you kindly offered for a delegation from Portsmouth to come and talk through with you the reasons why all parties in Portsmouth think that the housing target given to us is unachievable.  I would like to suggest that the delegation should be both Portsmouth MPs, Penny Mordant MP and Stephen Morgan MP, along with myself as Leader of the City Council, Dr Hugh Mason (Cabinet Member for Planning Policy), and Ian Maguire (Head of Planning).

We are all agreed that the level of housing that is being asked for by the Government is too much and will lead to land currently used for jobs, for green spaces and for environmentally sensitive land, to be built on.

In that context, I would confirm that my Officers are currently in discussion with civil servants at MHCLG and DEFRA to make an application under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to formally request the Government’s view on land the City Council is looking at to reclaim from the sea to have available for building to meet the Government’s housing targets. This land is at Tipner West and the suggestion is to reclaim mudflats – there is concern within environmental groups that this will be very harmful.

We will be seeking this opinion to establish whether, in the Secretary of State’s view, the need to provide housing and employment land should be considered imperative reasons of overriding public interest, in light of the negative assessment of the implications of the project on the protected sites within the Solent Waters.

Can I ask your office to coordinate a date for a meeting with Rhian Barnard and I thank you for your kind offer to meet.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson CBE
Leader of Portsmouth City Council