A Better Defence Estate | Commons debates

May I first say how much I welcome the Minister’s comments with regard to the 75th anniversary of D-day? It is fantastic that Portsmouth will be the national home of those commemorations. I am especially proud that my grandfather was a veteran from Portsmouth and left Southsea on his 17th birthday for Operation Overlord. The MOD’s recently published quarterly personnel statistics reveal a further decline in personnel numbers of all services for the eighth consecutive year. Can the Minister be more specific about how he is looking at the impact of the closures on recruitment?

Assurance sought from new owners of Knight & Lee site by City MP

Assurance sought from new owners of Knight & Lee site by City MP

Stephen Morgan MP today hosted discussions with the founders of THAT Group, the new owners of the Knight & Lee building.

The meeting, which took place in Parliament, was aimed at ensuring the new owners of the building have Portsmouth’s interests at heart. 

Mr. Morgan has stated:

“I was pleased to meet with THAT Group today following their public consultation that took place last night.

The creative ideas they have proposed seem promising and I look forward to future discussions to ensure that they are enacted.”

Stephen Morgan MP made efforts to push the fact that it is paramount the building remains a destination in the area and has retail opportunities to keep Southsea’s shopping area alive.  

The Portsmouth MP afterwards said:

“The idea to have a ground floor space that is likely to include retail, restaurants, bars and ‘pop ups’ is something that many people have said they would like to see in Southsea.

The footfall generated by this could benefit the local economy and the prosperity of other local businesses nearby.”

The purpose of the meeting, which follows weeks of correspondence, is to provide further information to feed into THAT Group’s preliminary plans and ideas prior to their submission for planning permission later this year.

It also served to outline the timescales within which THAT Group intends to act and as a means for the MP to get clarity on the proposed work.

Mr. Morgan has stated that:

“I thought it was essential to meet with THAT Group so that they could outline the full extent of their plans.

The closure of Knight & Lee could be highly detrimental to the city if the new developments do not fill the void left by the much-cherished stores closure. I wanted them to hear the constituents concerns directly.”

Whilst Mr. Morgan described the plans as promising, he has said that he is committed to working with all the stakeholders involved to ensure that the ideas are initiated, and the people of Portsmouth come first. 

Stephen Morgan has said:

“So far, I have spoken to John Lewis Head Office, written to the leader of the Council and now met with the founders of THAT Group.

I will continue to meet and liaise with all involved to protect our highstreets and the flourishing, vibrant community of independent shops in Southsea”.

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