Working in partnerships

Portsmouth is a Unitary Authority and a key member of the Partnership for South Hampshire (PuSH) that works collaboratively with the boroughs, districts and other cities that make up this vibrant and diverse part of the country.

Partnerships are at the heart of what we do. Working with the PuSH partnership, planners are managing growth and opportunity across the region, and as part of a unitary authority the planners work in tandem with the Highway Authority and access expertise across the full range of local government functions.

Our partnerships tackle the big planning issues in the region and Portsmouth planners are at the heart of this.

Bird Aware Solent is a nationally recognised, award winning mitigation partnership managed from within the Portsmouth Planning Service, supporting the delivery of growth in an area surrounded by protected designated habitat. And the Coastal Partners bring together planning, engineering and project management to deliver flood defence for the wider Portsmouth area.

A tower block overlooking Victoria Park

City Centre Growth

Portsmouth is one of the mostly densely populated cities in the country. As the UK’s only island city, taller buildings and urban living are needed to support the city’s ambitions. Portsmouth offers the opportunity to plan in a city environment creating high quality spaces with tall buildings balancing the needs of residents, students at the University of Portsmouth and a vibrant economy.

The city is a regionally significant retail, business and employment hub. From the modern high street and residential towers of the city centre, the independent shops and seafront of Southsea, to Gunwharf Quays outlet village which shares the waterfront with the Royal Navy’s Naval Base, and historic dockyards. Portsmouth planners are at the forefront of getting the best out of these spaces.

High-rise buildings in Portsmouth

New communities

Like many historic cities there are needs and opportunities for larger scale regeneration. Strategic new communities form a key part of the Cities Plan, and the Planning Service is championing the delivery of high quality, sustainable new communities with green space, residents’ stewardship and infrastructure delivery as guiding principles. Portsmouth has recently adopted its first Neighbourhood Plan, with other communities just starting on this journey.

Within the city, Tipner and Victory Quay, a project shortlist for the Planning Award for Regeneration 2023, will provide an opportunity for over 2000 new homes with an advance marine employment zone. Somers Orchard replaces unsafe former council housing with a modern, renewed estate driven by a Design Code produced under government’s piloting of the NMDC. A re-designation of former parking and retail space in the city centre will create a new high-rise residential neighbourhood with green space at its core.

Working with colleagues in the Highway Authority and Infrastructure teams this new growth is supported with new transport infrastructure. Portsmouth provides a special opportunity to encourage low-car usage, more sustainable and active transport. The planning service is leading on delivering a new multi-modal transport hub as well as creating the environment to allow the shift from cars to buses, bikes and eScooters.

An illustration of Portsmouth with new areas of development

Greener and healthier city

Portsmouth is finalising its new Local Plan with a key vision of Greening the City. Planners in the City are supported to maximise the delivery of green infrastructure and biodiversity with the opportunity to work with colleagues in public health, green spaces, infrastructure and transport to embed these objectives in new developments and spaces.

Portsmouth is surrounded by internationally important habitats and the planning service is at the forefront of finding solutions for challenges such as nitrate pollution, recreational disturbance and urban biodiversity enhancement.

We learnt a lot about the role good places have in public health during the pandemic, and Portsmouth planners have the chance to put this into action in our decisions and policies.

Flowers blooming along a Portsmouth road


Voted as the coolest city outside of London at the end of 2022, Portsmouth has a lot of wonderful assets to preserve. With over 600 Listed Buildings and 25 Conservation Areas, mostly in an area a little over 24km² of Portsea Island, planners are privileged to be the custodians of such an important part of the UKs heritage.

This cultural heritage can be seen throughout the city and Portsmouth Planners have the chance to deliver heritage led regeneration at all scales as well as innovative historic environments on the seafront and military spaces in the City.

With over 11m people coming to the City a year, a major international port and the UKs only operating passenger hovercraft service, the visitor economy gives Portsmouth planners the chance to plan for an exciting and growing tourism sector.

The walls at Southsea Castle lit up in different colours