Efforts to improve housing and high streets
Jane and her colleagues are currently focused on improving Portsmouth’s local authority housing stock, and has carefully considered the asks of local residents in two tower block regeneration schemes. “People told us they want more green space, so we are looking at innovative ways to work with the few spaces we have.
“We are also seeing how we can work with housing developers across the city to create more green spaces within new developments. Communities came together during the pandemic, and we want them to continue having a sense of ownership and pride in their places.”
High street regeneration is another imperative, with a focus on introducing more residential property and community assets into central areas. Large buildings being repurposed include a former Debenhams store, and there is also a piece of work looking at how best to provide investment to revitalise the port.
But if there is one over-riding issue that cities need to get to grips with, it is clean air says Jane. “We have very ambitious targets, and have done some amazing stuff in the city, particularly with introducing solar panels and through the use of hydrogen in the port.”
She acknowledges that balancing the needs of certain businesses with the environment can be difficult, especially when it comes to initiatives to reduce pollution from vehicles such as the city’s Clean Air Zone or introducing more bicycle lanes.