Today Portsmouth says farewell to a 6000 ton block of metal. It was the final piece of HMS Prince of Wales and signals the end of Shipbuilding in Portsmouth. For centuries Portsmouth has been known as, well, a port but as modern warfare changes the city of Portsmouth changes as well. Portsmouth with continue to be the ‘Home of the Royal Navy’ but with the loss of shipbuilding there are now 1000 or so people out of work or having to be redeployed. Moreover, the loss of a technical industry such as shipbuilding means the loss of skilled and affluent workers in the area. Those people who, you know, get to buy shit from Interior Trading rather than just browsing. We’re now left with a giant BAE shaped void in the city which will hopefully be filled with another company but in all honesty I feel it is time that Portsmouth starts to capitalise on other strengths in order to sort of Future-proof the city from the collapse of vulnerable industries. I’ll list some areas that I think that Portsmouth can develop and more importantly continually profit from. The list is not in order of importance or has any really basis on any solid financial knowledge. I’m just an amateur who can see what makes money.
It has always made me laugh that people flood to Brighton Beach and cram themselves in there when there is an equally nice beach down the road. I realise that the difference between the two cities is that Brighton has the shopping and bars to go with it but the reality is that, with decent investment, Portsmouth could draw a similar crowd. Luckily, things are already heading in the right direction. Portsmouth City Council already has a pretty impressive Strategy and some of that strategy has already come into effect. The recent funding for the ARTches project being one of those victories but also the long awaited purchase of South Parade Pier which currently sits like a giant symbol of failure poking out into the sea.
I went to Victorious Festival Saturday which was held on the common and it was absolutely brilliant. The worst issue (for me) was the wait for a beer but the festival highlighted something that was far more important; Southsea Common is huge. That green space can hold all sorts of festivals and events and each year sees bigger and better arrivals. This needs to continue.
Literature and Culture:
As I recently wrote, Portsmouth has both an excellent literary history but also the largest private collection of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work in the country. A permanent exhibition centre for this work would be a worldwide attraction but more importantly would give local people some inspiration. Culture has a dramatic effect on changing peoples lives. Seeing your dad get made redundant because the city invested in a vulnerable industry does not. Inspire Portsmouth’s Youth today and you will have a better city tomorrow (TM).
This is something that will have to go hand in hand with other developments. If Portsmouth successfully invests in sensible projects we will gain money through trade and tourism. This money then needs to go into improving Portsmouth’s infrastructure as soon as possible. The Park and Ride Scheme needs expanding and improving but is a step in the right direction. The actual flow of traffic into the city needs to be sorted and this could be tackled through the Northern Quarter redevelopment. Don’t get me started on Parking Permits. The long term benefits of strong transport links and an excellent infrastructure will outweigh the initial investments as long as it is sensibly done.
Promoting Local Talent:
This already seems to be heading in the right direction. We have hundreds of skilled people in this city that invest tons of their personal time and money into promoting their chosen field; be that art, music or whatever. Promoting and supporting local talent, even on a small scale will give people the confidence to continue their passions. Every year you have tons of skilled graduates (and they are skilled you moany gits) who have already built a life in this city. Keep them here and the city will benefit from their hard work rather than watching them disappear off to London and the rest of the South East.
Portsmouth Football Club:
I do hope that the Trust looking after PFC manages to steer the club to success. PFC has some of the most passionate fans I have ever seen and their attendance figures are pretty impressive for a club that was looking like being relegated from the league last season. Shore up the squad, keep things stable and PFC will continue to improve. In time their success may lead to the eventual redevelopment of the ground or, the building of a new stadium. A decent football team does wonders for the local economy as well as the spirit of a city.
As I said in my first paragraph I am no expert on town planning or investment. But the five things I have listed are some of the areas where Portsmouth can continually benefit from regardless of the brevity of solid facts in their respective paragraphs. The seafront isn’t going anywhere and could be amazing. Culture exists in Portsmouth but is undeveloped. People will always watch football especially in impressive stadiums.
I’ll simplify things. A beautiful man or women knows how to accentuate their natural assets. Cleavage enhancing tops, decent camera angles for a chiselled torso, a tailored suit; These enhancements synergise (yeah I’ll coin that) with something that is already there naturally. The same way Portsmouth developed as a Port because it was a natural harbour can be the same reason for Portsmouth having an amazing seafront, an exceptional football team and brilliant local talent that is inspired by the art and culture that is already here.
Capitalise on your assets and you basically win at life.