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Tricorn Centre site could stand empty for another five years

The site of the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth, demolished in 2004, could remain empty for a decade after developer Centros said it wants to extend the planning agreement for its £500 million shopping centre by five years

In a letter to Porstmouth City Council in February, John Marsh, development director at Centros requested the extension so that the developer was given a ‘..platform to revise and improve the scheme.’

The letter stated: ‘Due to the worsening economic and financial crisis, which has led to the current poor demand in the retail sector, we cannot progress the Northern Quarter development on the basis of the reserved matters consented in the scheme as it currently falls short of any reasonable financial expectations. We will continue to undertake a detailed review of the scheme to ensure the development has the flexibility to meet current and ongoing retailer requirements, and to improve the financial viability of the scheme.’

Owen Luder, architect of the brutalist 1960s Tricorn Centre, slammed the situation and said: ‘The Tricorn was demolition by lynch mob. Had it been listed the quality of what might replace it would have been a factor to take into account. As it is that was never considered, I suspect that had the quality of what is proposed to replace it had been known then – the case for retention and renovation would have been very much stronger.

‘As it is the devilish haste to get rid of the eye sore they now have a big gap. In view of the current economic climate redevelopment of the sorry site is unlikely to take place for years. If they had any sense they would have followed the normal developer policy is that you do not demolish what you have got until you know what you will build to replace it. Just in case.

‘I said this would happen, and it has.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • Had it been listed, it is doubtful that demolition could have happened at all.

    But Centros has caused chaos in Lancaster also, where it refused to attend the public inquiry into its hugely damaging and deeply unpopular plans.

    The public inquiry has fallen apart this week after Lancaster CC pulled out, leaving the opposition of SAVE, English Heritage and It's Our City delighted.

    Lancaster City Council has been taken in by the Centros machine, and passed plans which would be hugely damaging to the city's historic environment, and at the inquiry, its own Conservation Officer agreed that PPG15 tests for demolition in conservation areas had not been applied.

    There's more on Lancaster on www.savebritainsheritage.org, including the alternative scheme drawn up by Richard Griffiths Architects, but it looks as though the city has been spared more years of Centros blight.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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