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Portsmouth City Council at Future Cities Forum

Commercial Road, Portsmouth (Courtesy Visit Portsmouth)

We are delighted that Portsmouth City Councillor Steve Pitt, executive member for economic development will be joining Future Cities Forum's high streets event this month.

The forum discussion will look at the recovery of high streets, town and city centre development post pandemic.

Portsmouth City Council has secured almost £7 million for the transformation of high streets across the city. The £6.9 million from two bids - Commercial Road and Fratton Road - will come from the government's Future High Streets Fund. It will help the change of property use, improve public spaces and allow new businesses to open.

Street festivals and music events are planned for Fratton Road and Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said both schemes offered good value for money.

A bold new vision for the future of Portsmouth was set out last month by 'Imagine Portsmouth'. It unveiled what kind of city it aims to be by 2040 and what people value in key areas such has health and wellbeing, culture, education, the environment, transport and business. Around 2,500 people and 60 different organisations in Portsmouth have been involved in the creation of the city vision over the past 18 months.

Portsmouth like other cities has looked to culture to unlock its economic recovery. The council wants to save Portsmouth's New Theatre Royal for generations to come with new plans to buy it. The New Theatre Royal Trust which owns it, is facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, but because of its history - it is grade-two listed and designed by Frank Matcham and Charles Phipps - is considered to be a vital heritage asset in the city centre. The building requires some repairs but once provided for, the council would pass back responsibility to the trust.

Cllr Steve Pitt remarked:

'Its location in the city centre means the Theatre has the opportunity to broaden people's cultural horizons, bringing new work and innovative performances to people from all parts of the city, alongside more conventional programming, community performances and comedy.'


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