The Historic Places Panel visited Guildhall Square and the Civic Offices

Portsmouth City Council welcomed a team of national experts on the regeneration of historic cities and towns to the city last week.

The Historic Places Panel, facilitated by Historic England, was invited by the council to provide independent advice on how heritage can support the delivery of city centre regeneration, including the future of Guildhall Square and the Civic Offices and improvements around Commercial Road.

Discussions were hosted at the historic Treadgolds converted warehouse, with presentations led by Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development. The Panel visited key areas of the city, focusing on Guildhall Walk, Guildhall Square and Commercial Road.

The Historic Places Panel also met Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of the Council and The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Hugh Mason.

Emily Gee, Regional Director for London and South East at Historic England, said: “Portsmouth is a remarkable city with a rich historic environment, shaped by the Navy, and 19th and 20th century developments, and it has a wonderfully strong sense of identity. We are grateful to Portsmouth City Council colleagues for inviting Historic England and the Historic Places Panel to meet and discuss the contributions that Portsmouth’s heritage can make to its future.”

Ben Derbyshire, Chair of the Historic Places Panel, said: “Portsmouth City Council invited the Historic Places Panel of Historic England to visit and offer our views on how best this great naval and port city can harness heritage in the service of its ambitious vision for town centre regeneration. We are grateful for the time spent by officers and members to brief our diverse group of experts and we will be sharing our recommendations soon. With such an amazingly rich history to draw from we have no doubt as the immense potential for beneficial change.”

Councillor Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Portsmouth is rightly proud of its long and rich history and our streets, buildings and monuments tell the city’s story. It was great to host Historic England’s Historic Places Panel and discuss how we can celebrate our heritage as we work to create a more vibrant, welcoming and greener city centre that can evolve with the times. We look forward to receiving the Historic Places Panel’s report and recommendations.”

Following the two-day visit, the Panel will prepare a report of their findings which will be published later in the year.