Tipner West

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Construction Casework type: Marine Casework type: Plans Site designations: Ramsar site Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
Dark-bellied Brent Geese | The RSPB flock over the Essex coast

In a nutshell...

Portsmouth City Council have proposed to drain and concrete over a large area of Portsmouth Harbour to create a ‘super-peninsula’ on which to build 3,500 new houses and a marine hub.

Portsmouth Harbour is one of the largest expanses of mudflats and tidal creeks on the south coast of Britain and provides vital feeding grounds for internationally important populations of dark-bellied brent geese, dunlin and black-tailed godwits, as well as other wintering waders. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site in recognition of its importance.

The proposals will destroy more than 27ha of Portsmouth Harbour's protected intertidal habitats, as well as 3ha of protected land which is used by roosting birds and an additional area of undesignated but 'functionally linked' grassland used by foraging brent geese. These habitats are already under increasing pressure from coastal squeeze, rising sea level and poor water quality.

Providing significant new housing within Portsmouth is challenging as there is limited land available and the existing infrastructure is already under pressure. However, to destroy part of Portsmouth's natural assets is unsustainable and would be to the detriment of the people of Portsmouth. This is a fantastic natural asset and should be valued not just for its intrinsic value but for its importance to people.

We are in a climate and ecological emergency. In addition to their value for nature these habitats provide an important function helping to protect Portsmouth from erosion and provide natural carbon storage. Given the threats of climate change and rising sea levels these proposals are wholly inappropriate and would be extremely costly both financially and environmentally.

Latest news...

Last year, 25,000 people signed our joint #DontGoThere petition with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and then over 9,000 people joined us to respond to Portsmouth's Local Plan consultation urging the Council to scrap the extremely damaging 'super-peninsula' option for Tipner West (AKA Lennox Point) which would involve concreting over at least 30 hectares of legally protected mudflats and coastal meadow.

Our campaigning worked and councillors voted to pause the 'super peninsula' and rethink options for the site! This was a positive step for Portsmouth's wildlife but the protected sites aren't safe yet.

Since then, Portsmouth City councillors have ruled out 'no development' at Tipner West, as they have firmly committed to delivering 1,250 homes and 35,000 square metres of employment space on the site. Now, Portsmouth's councillors have just a few months to decide the fate of Tipner West as they choose a proposal to include in the Local Plan.

Until the Council commits to new plans, the damaging 'super-peninsula' is still on the table for Tipner West. However, the alternatives currently under consideration would still build over an area of legally protected coastal meadow the size of five football pitches, which forms part of Portsmouth Harbour Special Protection Area. Any loss of legally protected areas is a fundamental red line for nature. Never before has housing trumped these legal safeguards and should this go ahead, this would open the flood gates for building over protected sites for wildlife across the country.

The Trust and the RSPB have therefore set out a challenge to Portsmouth Council. Working with landscape architects, Influence Environmental Ltd, we have created concept drawings to show the Council it is possible to create homes at Tipner West for people and wildlife while still respecting legal protections and the needs of nature. With some ambition and imagination, we firmly believe it is possible to have affordable and appealing housing at Tipner West without destroying the special wildlife areas.

Take a look at an alternative future for Tipner West…

Tipner West Annotated Visual A - western shoreline.jpg

Tipner West Annotated Visual B - southern area.jpg

How you can help

We need your help one more time to tell the Council: Don’t Cross the Line!

We have set out a challenge to Portsmouth City Council that if they are going to build on land at Tipner West, they cannot cross the line of destroying designated sites for nature and must instead adopt the highest environmental principles for this development. If the Council cannot meet these fundamental principles, then they should not build here at all.

Our key principles set out the clear red lines for nature - ones that cannot be crossed or risk undermining the legal protections for nature:

  1. Take the 'Lennox Point' super-peninsula off the table for good.
  2. Avoid any direct damage to protected areas for nature. Do not build over any part of Portsmouth Harbour’s Special Protection Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Ramsar site, including the intertidal mudflats and coastal meadow.
  3. Mitigate indirect impacts to the protected areas. Replace supporting habitat, including the Firing Range, for brent geese and wading birds in line with the Solent Wader and Brent Goose Strategy.
  4. Create space for wildlife within the Tipner West development. Follow the principles of nature-positive design to create a community that people and wildlife can thrive in.

Take action for Tipner

Pale-bellied brent goose in standing in water
Please click on the link below which will take you to the Hampshire & Isle of Wight’s website, with details of how you can send a message directly to Portsmouth’s councillors, plus other ways you can share our challenge to the Council.

Timeline

  • Coming up
    A public consultation and exhibition of the Council's plans for Tipner West (most likely called 'Lennox Point') is expected to occur after the Portsmouth local elections in May 2022.

    There will also be another consultation on Portsmouth City Council’s draft Local Plan (prior to submission) later in 2022, where we hope to see the removal of the damaging land reclamation and super-peninsular option.

    Depending upon the outcome of the Local Plan, this will be followed by a planning application, which could be submitted before the end of 2022.
  • April 2022
    The RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust launch a challenge to Portsmouth City Council to consider an alternative option for Tipner West, an alternative that safeguards the protected sites whilst meeting the Council's goals for housing and development. We also set out our key asks for any future development at Tipner West, and asked the public to join with us by contacting Portsmouth's councillors and demanding that they #Don'tCrossTheLine.

  • December 2021
    Following the ‘pause and rethink’ motion, the Tipner super-peninsular team presented a report to the Council. This has resulted in a cross-party working group of councillors re-examining the options for Tipner West.

  • November 2021
    In partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, we write to Sectary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, expressing our concerns with Portsmouth City Council’s approach to setting a new housing target and the proposals at Tipner West.

  • October 2021
    Portsmouth City Council votes to ‘pause and rethink’ the Tipner super-peninsula development, citing concerns over the environmental damage and public money spent to date (£10.8 million). The Council’s Cabinet is instructed to prepare a report on the status of the project outlining total spend to date, viable alternative options for Tipner West and a timeline for further decisions to be made. This report will be discussed at the Full Council meeting in December.

    More than 9,000 people comment on Portsmouth City Council’s draft Local Plan through the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and RSPB campaign, expressing the importance of Tipner for wildlife and the impact the site has on their personal health and wellbeing.

    The RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust submit a joint response to Portsmouth City Council’s draft Local Plan setting out our strong opposition to the super-peninsula and raising concerns that it could undermine the Council’s entire Local Plan if they press ahead with the scheme.

  • September-October 2021
    Portsmouth City Council consult the public on their draft local plan, including an option for the super-peninsula at Tipner West.

    The RSPB and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust launch a new campaign encouraging people to voice their concerns about the super-peninsula.

  • March 2018
    We responded to Portsmouth City Council’s Tipner Strategic Development Area Consultation expressing our strongest objection to the reclamation of part of Portsmouth Harbour SPA and Ramsar site.  

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