The UK's Marina Projects is playing a key marine sector role. David Robinson reports.

View of the Spinnaker Tower, in Portsmouth. Photo copyright Ian Capper

View of the Spinnaker Tower, in Portsmouth. Photo copyright Ian Capper

As part of its long-term growth plans, the UK’s Portsmouth City Council has two significant sites earmarked for development located at the landward entrance to the city.

Among its ambitions for these areas is to attract marine industry companies to help provide employment opportunities, including superyacht-related businesses – be it new build, refit and repair, equipment manufacture or services provision.

The two areas, at Tipner West and Horsea Island, are both adjacent to the M275 motorway, which is the link motorway from the coastal M27 route into the city centre.

The Council has commissioned the property group Savills to develop a master plan that focuses on the provision of new housing but also employment opportunities for the marine, maritime and advanced technologies sectors – already key industries in Portsmouth.

The professional team is supported by Marine Projects Ltd, Gensler masterplan architect and WSP|PB, who are providing engineering and environmental support.

Master plan

Gosport-based Marina Projects is working with Savills by contributing to identify how best to develop the extensive waterfront sites for marine and maritime employment.

The concept is to create a marine hub facility with a marine and maritime cluster that could work across the leisure marine and commercial areas.

Attracting superyacht companies to undertake refits and maintenance or new-build is high on the agenda and Marina Projects is actively seeking interest from the sector.

The master plan is set to be completed by the spring of 2017, followed by a period of public consultation. The two sites will transfer to the ownership of the Council through the government-backed City Deal initiative. This a joint government/cities deal involving three sites in both Southampton and Portsmouth.

Portsmouth will gain over £47m in government funding as part of a 20-year programme to provide 18,000 new homes and create 10,000 new jobs. In total the project is anticipated to leverage investment of more than £800m.

The master plan for the Horsea and Tipner sites considers to deliver a minimum of 1,250 new homes plus 65,000sq m of employment space, providing around 3,500 jobs.

Mike Ward, managing director of Marina Projects, explains: “We have been working on this since November 2015 with the initial site assessment phase considering the key constraints and opportunities for maximising the essential access to the water that will unlock the full potential of the site.

“We are currently working with Savills and undertaking a detailed market study to identify the level of demand for the new facilities.”

Ward says that the level of interest from across the marine sector is very encouraging with numerous sub-sectors recognising the opportunity that this initiative provides.

“Waterfront assets of this nature are in short supply and under pressure from competing uses, it is encouraging to see Portsmouth City Council recognising the potential of the sector and embarking on such an ambitious project,” he comments.

In another move, Portsmouth has twinned itself with Zhuhai in China, which is a key yacht and superyacht building centre in the Pearl River Delta adjacent to Macao and close to both Hong Kong and Shenzhen.