Inside Fgould podcast, Episode: Tipner West, Once in a Generation Opportunity

Holly  Kerr
Welcome to Inside Fgould, a podcast where we provide you with insight into our culture, showcase our innovation and our people. In this episode we explore the once in a generation masterplan development, Tipner West in Portsmouth.

This episode of Inside Fgould features Senior Regeneration Manager for Tipner West at Portsmouth City Council, Megan Carter and Faithful+Gould’s Project Director for Tipner West, Emma Davies.

Our guests join our host to discuss the progressive nature of this development and City, as well as what life on the waterfront could look like. During the episode, we focus on the drivers that have shaped the masterplan and the innovative ways in which the project team are responding to the challenges our communities face, whilst supporting the delivery of a lasting legacy which is both inclusive and environmentally responsible.

This episode was recorded on 10/02/2021. Following engagement with the community of Portsmouth, Tipner West has been renamed Lennox Point.

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Transcript

Sanders, Ella
Hello I'm Ella Sanders and I welcome you today to Inside Fgould a podcast where we provide you with insight into our culture, showcase our innovation and our people. Today we're joined by two very special guests and we're going to be exploring Tipner West Regeneration Masterplan in Portsmouth. Can I ask each of you to introduce yourselves in a sentence or two?

Carter, Megan
Thanks Ella, yes, my name is Megan Carter and I'm the senior regeneration manager for Portsmouth City Council. I joined the Tipner West team about two years ago to move the programme to submission of planning. This project had a really long history and we're finally sort of moving further than we ever have before, so it's exciting times.

Davies, Emma
Thank you Megan, thank you Ella. My name is Emma Davies and I'm a director at Faithful+Gould. I lead the Faithful+Gould Tipner team and I've been on the project since we initially submitted our bid for the project and I stayed closely to the project since then. Faithful+Gould’s role on the project is to provide cost consultancy and client advisory services and recently we've also added BIM and principal designer. My team is really excited about the project, we specialise in delivering regeneration projects and this is one of the most exciting projects in the UK today.

Sanders, Ella
Thank you both very much for introducing yourselves to our listeners stay. I wonder if we can delve straight in Megan. Tipner is described as a once in a generation opportunity. Why is that?

Carter, Megan
Absolutely, it really is for us to let. It definitely is that once in a generation opportunity for Portsmouth. Not only is it the gateway to our amazing city, but it's also a chance for show to show how progressive Portsmouth really is as a city is the chance for us to answer the needs of our growing population, our growing needs as a city, but also to show the world what a future of living on the coast could look like. And, you know, locally what living on the Solent and could look like. We've got five fundamental design principles that have really formed the Backbone of our masterplan and something that we've committed to really early on.

Car free for a carefree living is our first one, and this looks at how we've always lived with roads and with cars and we've put bollards up, we've put signs up and actually how do we take that away? How do we look at the health benefits? How we look at the mental health benefits of being in a safe place to play and to socialize and to move around without the card dominating? You know the pedestrians got to be King.

We've looked at strong and healthy communities, isn't and this isn't just about being, you know, sick. This is about making sure that just in your day to day today, health of the communities making sure we're fighting things like disconnection and loneliness, looking to make a multigenerational community is really important for us as well.

We have this wonderful asset of being near the water, which for millennia people have looked beyond to see what you know the water could hold and the benefits of living near that. So, making sure that we are closer to nature and to the water is really important.

Making sure that we're a beacon for innovation and the innovative Portsmouth that we're looking to create, you know green marine hubs and looking at the future of living and working in the same space.

And then this piece around sustainability not just tick boxes sustainability, total sustainability. Offering that choice for people to live and work sustainably, and that starts with a commitment to be Net Carbon Zero.

Sanders, Ella
They’re really fantastic and certainly aspirational. Can you just explain to us how these design principles were arrived at?

Carter, Megan
Absolutely, we were driven by doing the best we can by the City of Portsmouth and these principles are bold and ambitious, but after talking to the city in their residence and continuing to talk to them during this journey that were going on, they're also exactly what people are looking to us to incorporate in our designs. There are demanding it. You know, why don't we look at development like this? They want new places to have an identity in a community, but fit in within, you know with the wider Portsmouth City, they want spaces where they can safely meet people and they want to enjoy nature and the water. We are so lucky to be in this wonderful natural environment.

It's also a place you know for the whole of Portsmouth to enjoy. We are driven by making a place where anyone in Portsmouth can come and choose to truly benefit from a sustainable lifestyle.

The climate emergency, forefront of the future generation’s minds. Rightly so, when I take this out to them, it's something that they talked to me about a lot, the younger people. We see that there will be a greater focus on that and other healthier modes of transport to address that. We want environments where children can once again play on a street. So, you know, you can feel safe to do so and people want to be able to enjoy their leisure time where they live. In order to provide a sustainable environment, there needs to be some practical elements obviously, and we need to look at long term employment and places for businesses to grow. High quality, affordable homes that you can build and run sustainability sustainably. An inability to connect inside an out of Tipner West.

Sanders, Ella
And Emma, what is it about Tipner West that offers us the opportunity to do this rather than other developments?

Davies, Emma
Well, Ella there's a number of reasons. Firstly, it's the size. You know this is a great site and it enables us to include homes and facilities in a connected community. There will be places for quiet contemplation and privacy, but there will also be areas of activity and social interaction. So, there's somewhere for all to enjoy.

And also, it's on the waterfront as Megan has mentioned and the availability of waterfront sites suitable for marine sector is limited. A study undertaken by our marine consultant has identified Tipner as being a premier opportunity to provide marine employment opportunities, and it's a fundamental part of Tipner and we will never lose sight of that. The location is special. It's really well connected to the green and blue. Particularly now more than ever; connection to nature, open space and fresh air and community has never been more important. In addition, there's a Country Park nearby, and Tipner itself will have play spaces and allotments all provided within our own site. Tipner is well connected and is adjacent to the M275 and has a good road network locally, which gives us access to public transport and also, local cycling routes and footpaths. And of course, water taxies.

Carter, Megan

But you know, absolutely hear what Emma is saying, and it's worth noting that this site doesn't come without its challenges and being close to the nature and the waterfront location that we both picked up on it does provide a challenge. We know the site is subject to environmental protections and through the Habitats regulation assessment there is a sequential test will have to go through in order to develop this site. It's critical that we adhere to that, and the site is treated with the respect that it deserves.

Sanders, Ella
It’s a really special site and this is a special development as we’ve mentioned there. But if we can, let's delve a little bit deeper into them five fundamental design principles. Megan, can we expand on what it means to be a beacon for innovative Portsmouth and how does it really support a strong and healthy community?

Carter, Megan
Absolutely one of the one of the main reasons that this site was identified because it shaped our vision of needing to provide a substantial amount of marine employment, and in this in this area. Now, for those of you who don't know the marine employment, and I'm not, uh, I've only been important the last couple of years and it was a sector that I had no understanding of the importance of it. But in 2000, in 2017 sorry, the Solent based maritime sector and the Portsmouth Naval Base supported about 12 billion in turnover, 5.8 billion in GVA and about One Hundred and Fifty odd Thousand jobs (1). You know this, this is a vast sector, really important to the local area. In 2013 Portsmouth was awarded some funding to address that loss of shipbuilding that we'd felt in Portsmouth and the project really looks to bring back that. And that's where this kind of all started. This site is able to accommodate about 9 hectares of marine employment, which would mean it would be of significant national interest. It would be, you know, real hub for people to be able to come down and this would look to include research and development, educational facilities looking at autonomous technologies, and access to a deep-water channel. So, a really unique opportunity.

Davies, Emma
Yes, it's true, and I completely agree with Megan there because it's very much a complete community we're looking to build here and for me also a complete community means building homes for all generations and or needs. Something which I'm particularly passionate about. Tipner is the perfect location for this. As an example, we're proposing senior living homes for those members of the community who want to live independently, but in a connecting community and also for those who perhaps need more assistance and support to provide them with independence, but reassurances and people around them. Also, we can provide affordable homes. There's an opportunity to provide housing here to suit all different price points and needs. Allowing residents to move between housing 10 years and price brackets as they their own families grow and their income changes.

Sanders, Ella
From what you’re are both saying and obviously the design principles that we have been through, it seems to be as if there is a real important being placed on Social Value within this scheme. Can we just talk about Portsmouth Coty Council’s approach to Social Value when it comes to Tipner?

Carter, Megan
Absolutely. Portsmouth City Council really see social value as an investment rather than a cost. You know, this can't just be a tick box. Social value is something that's just normally, ticked on the end the end or something that you're not really able to monitor or measure. And this doesn't just come from providing employment spaces in homes, but it's making sure that the community and are involved in the development of this project, and we've been involving schools and universities right from day one in this design process. It's also about ensuring that our approach to supply chain management looks to use their local workforce, local manufacturing, that opportunity locally is huge. And there's a real unique place you know, Tipner West could really become lively, inclusive, we could have farmers market, pop-up shops, community allotments, public art venues. You know that there's a wealth of opportunity here.

Sanders, Ella
You mentioned there Megan, around involving the community and educational establishments within the masterplan. How is it that you are going about involving them?

Carter, Megan
Every way! So early on, I approached my colleagues in education and said, look, I have I have this thing - it's on our doorstep I'm no specialist in education but what it feels like is that we could get the future residents involved in this really early on. Now. it's on their doorstep, let's upskill them. So, when these jobs become available, you know Portsmouth kids can be going for these jobs. They should be involved. It it's absolutely the right thing to do and it's, you know, it's not been difficult to get that moving and to work with their colleagues in the Local Authority. We've been looking at curriculum packs for local schools for them to be able to use and that will touch on all aspects of STEM and translate from about years four to five all the way up to A-Level students. Consultation, we encourage the kids to attend. We had maps that were set a lot lower, so they were at children's height. They will really sort of broad, kids could drawing them, scribble on them and it wasn't, you know completely wild ideas. It was things like they want to be able to visit their granny, you know then they weren't unrealistic expectations, it was so it was great to see the sorts of things that matter to our local pupils.

We are doing a career piece as well with the students in Portsmouth to see what future jobs might be available. You know, do they understand what project management, planning, cost consultancy, all those jobs that are coming out of this now, do people understand what they are and that’s jobs right up until the site is alive and kicking. So, career piece going on. We've got the University students, who the engineering group, are in their final assessment of their 4th year and they've been given the bridge. Huge piece of community infrastructure. Really unique opportunity to get involved. So, they're designing that and they're being supported by WSP on that so really great work happening there. We're working with our UTC, year 10s are looking at robotics for car free environments, which could be so cool. And yeah, twelves and thirteens are looking at ethical living, recycling, sustainability and how this technology enable this so great topics that they're picking up. And then we had a great idea come forward as well around, you know the jobs that are coming out in the construction industry; BIM, 3D modelling. How could we make that relevant to the pupil’s now so we're actually getting them to build aspects of Tipner West in Minecraft, which is just so cool. Some of the ideas coming out of their amazing. And we are looking at getting some of the A-Level students involved in the branding. It's been the right thing to do, and it's a really exciting piece of this project.

Sanders, Ella
Emma, for our listeners understanding and certainly mine as well, how does it work being less reliant on the car and instead using technology to our advantage?

Davies, Emma
On the site, car parking and vehicles will be confined to designated areas, so they don't impact on pedestrian flows. As a result, will make use of full robotics, including driverless buggies to collect refuse and also deliver parcels and to assist residents who perhaps need help to move around Tipner. All these technologies are already being used in communities across Europe, so the technology is there - we just need to embrace. Our aim is for everyone to be able to feel comfortable moving around the site including the most vulnerable members of our society, to take advantage of all Tipner has to offer and not be confined as result of curves and steps and also to be able to lead a more sustainable lifestyle in the meantime.

Carter, Megan
This is really interesting as well. And uh, and when Emma says, you know, this need to embrace it. It was fascinating. I had a young chap come to be one of the consultations - he was paralyzed from the neck down and all my language was about how do we get you out? How do we, how do we make you leave the site? How is he easy to get away from Tipner? You know to make people feel so connected and he threw it right back at me and said “look, why do you keep assuming that I'd need to leave if you can actually take the car away, make it a safe environment, I would feel very empowered to live in this place and I wouldn't have to leave. So get it right on the site.” And actually, car free living could become you something that is really empowering for individuals, which I hadn't looked at like that. Everyone always says to me with car free. You know how we're going to get there? How are we going to get out? How we're going to leave? How are we going to? And actually, it was. It was completely flipped on the head, so making sure he comes back that complete community piece in the jobs piece. You know, what do we have available on the site to address some of the challenges that we're facing around explaining car free?

Sanders, Ella
Thank you for sharing that Megan that this is really profound isn’t and brings the need for this new way of thinking really to life.

So as I said then, you know this is, uh, we're looking at things in a different way with Tipner and it's leading the ideas about modern living and what people are looking forward in their communities. Do we think that there's been an impact on the plans that you've got from what we've seen over the past year with Covid and has that changed the direction at all with the master plan?

Davies, Emma
Yes, I think it has Ella to some extent, and obviously we're still during the pandemic, but from what we're seeing to date if anything else, it has accelerated existing trends, working and living in one location with less reliance on the car, naturally emphasizes a feeling of wellbeing and greater community fell. So, during lockdown we actually held a workshop including the project team and council members and wider stakeholders and then we subsequently issued a report on our findings. This highlights our approach going forward and our desire to ensure Tipner is a development that puts human needs at heart, which has been very prevalent during this last year or so. The pandemic will accelerate existing trends related to the climate change crisis and now more than ever, local authorities will need to provide future proofing developments where challenges like density and connectivity are consistently and positively addressed.

Tipner has the potential to be equipped to face the challenges of the future ahead. Our design principles have led us to start to challenge the current expectations around homes and offices and ask questions around what the future could look like. Due to our timeline, we are also able to watch and learn from others, and the current situation and include extra flexibility as need be within our design proposals.

Sanders, Ella
I think that the importance and that the potential benefits of this forward thinking, development you know, really are clear to see. But how does this development actually sit within the Portsmouth City Council's wider regeneration strategy?

Carter, Megan 
Portsmouth is an ambitious city and I think Tipner West embodies that ambition. We're thinking about how we can do regeneration differently while both being environmentally responsible and inclusive. And working with Emma are in the wider team we've showed how Tipner West meets all of the themes and objectives of the local authority, this ambitious local authority. And it is an exceptional opportunity at Tipner, we don't have large sites available for development. To have a site like this is fantastic, but it comes with a huge amount of responsibility to do it properly.

Sanders, Ella
And of course, none of this could happen without the engagement of the wider development market. So how is this working within the development as well?

Davies, Emma
All pools must recognize that they can't create Tipner alone and indeed they don't want to. We want to work with partners and bring their expertise to create a special place. Portsmouth is committed to making a substantial investment in Tipner and there is a large amount of work which is being done now to bring that to fruition. But there is a level engagement that is required with the wider development market to demonstrate that Portsmouth is a good place to invest. We're doing this via engagement days with developers and contractors. They've already been a couple of these held and Portsmouth have outlined the aspirations for Tipner and a lot of interest was expressed and we're going to now be taking this to the next level.

Carter, Megan  
Yeah, absolutely. As Emma says we had that initial day where we sort of showed what we wanted to do at Tipner it and started to open those conversations with the market. But we have been working with The Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s six pillars of procurement and looking at the first three of those which looks at your client configuration, your balance scorecard and your packaging strategy. Now in human terms, which is what I reference it back to it’s; Who are we? You know, what do we want to deliver and how we deliver it? And that is now what we will be going back out to the market with and saying “we think this, what do you think? Does this feel comfortable to you?” So that is our next step. But as a Local Authority it is really key for us that Portsmouth is visible throughout this whole process. We want to make sure that the developers involved want to work with us and are invested in the legacy that we're trying to create here.

Sanders, Ella
So Tipner West really is a once in a generation opportunity for Portsmouth, showing both it’s could be progressive and also the world what life could look like on the coast.  The challenges we have faced over the past year will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect with the way we live and the way we work. But the passion of each of you and how you have capitalised on this opportunity to create a community for the future, really is inspiring. For links to further resources discussed in today’s episode, head over to Fgould.com. And finally, I would like to thank both of our guests for joining us today on Inside Fgould. We hope you, our listeners, enjoyed this episode and will join us back for more.

(1) Source: The economic contribution of the Maritime Sector in the Solent LEP: A report for the Solent LEP and Maritime UK, 2017)

 

 

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