Portsmouth secures £20m to transform the visitor economy following Levelling Up Funding success

Portsmouth International Port’s crucial terminal extension, the transformation of Hilsea Lido and the creation of ‘Linear Park’ have officially been given the go-ahead after an announcement today by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The bid called Transforming the Visitor Economy has been awarded £20m Levelling Up Funding with £8.75m supporting an opportunity to create the longest urban park in the UK and the redevelopment of Hilsea Lido at the heart of the plans.

The Lido will be refurbished to include good quality changing facilities, integrated children’s water play, terracing and spectator areas and events space, including the ability to function as a community hub, enabling community-centred style activities in a unique natural environment.

The port development, known as The International Terminal Transformation, received £11.25m necessary to manage the anticipated increase in passengers through the port, which looks to exceed over 200 calls across the next three years.

The port’s ability to manage an additional 250,000 passengers a year, above its current two million, relies on creating additional capacity.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “This is fantastic news for the city and I’d like to thank the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for recognising the importance of this bid.

“We have plans for a truly innovative way to transform the visitor economy by creating world class facilities and linking the north of city through creative, environmental design.

“The success of the port will be transformational for the city, providing employment opportunities and complementing the offer as the UK’s leading marine and maritime region.

“This successful Levelling Up Fund announcement means we can get work underway to deliver a spectacular new terminal extension ready by spring 2023.

“The port’s location, neighbouring Gosport, creates significant partnerships for travel and also maximises the city’s and town’s heritage assets for visitors.”

 

Mike Sellers Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “We’re delighted the government has recognised our  extension plans are necessary for the port to handle an increase in trade, and provide a significant financial return for local area.

“This year, for example, with the arrival of Virgin Voyages we were required to provide temporary additional facilities to  ensure secure passenger segregation as part of Covid protections.

“But we need a permanent base.

“Our rise in passengers is a result of responding to growth in the cruise and ferry industry, which the port is ideally positioned to deliver thanks to its enviable waterfront location.

“Following our recently completed berth extension, we are now in advanced discussions with companies new to the UK market, to agree a partnership with the port and our expansion plans are critical to meet market demand.”

Portsmouth appeals to the small and mid size, luxury, boutique, expedition cruise sector who are looking for a port that sets them apart from the conventional mass market. The port is competing with European destinations and has an opportunity to secure additional revenue for UK GDP, with each cruise call is anticipated to generate up to £1.5 million to the region’s economy.

The transformation will be cutting-edge in environmental development, complementing the current sustainable built terminal building.

The creation of the longest urban Linear Park in the UK, connects the west of the city to the eastern edge, with enhanced cycling and walking facilities providing a tourist offer that is local, national and international.

At the heart of the park will be the Hilsea Leisure Park, a high quality destination including children’s dry and wet play, water activities such as wakeboarding, high quality food and drink, interaction with the natural and heritage environment through viewing platforms, and a crucial redevelopment of the much-loved Hilsea Lido as a cornerstone attraction.

Both the park and port plans are at an advanced stage, organised to deliver a shovel ready project.

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