Portsmouth City Council recently announced a rebrand of their ‘super-peninsula’ proposals for Tipner West, promoting ‘Lennox Point’ as ‘a unique site where land meets sea, it will be an iconic and captivating gateway into Portsmouth’.
A rebrand and a fresh new website cannot mask the damage that building 3,500 houses over 67 acres (around 50 football pitches) of Tipner West’s protected intertidal mudflats would do. However, Portsmouth City Council did get one thing right, Tipner West is ‘a unique site where land meets sea’. A unique site supporting internationally important wildlife, capturing carbon, filtering waste and protecting against sea-level rise. And yes, it is an ‘iconic and captivating gateway’ into the Solent ecosystem but it must continue to be protected and not concreted over.
From dark-bellied brent geese, black-tailed godwits and dunlins to ragworms, mullet and European seabass, the mudflats have been designated with the highest legal protections available in our country because of their importance for nature — a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar site.
According to Portsmouth City Council’s newly refreshed website for the Tipner West development proposals, the rebrand to Lennox Point was to pay respects to ‘Charles Lennox, Master General of the Board of Ordnance, who was responsible for the fortification and protection of the south coast.’
This new name harks back to a time when nature was seen as something that could and should be controlled. A time when building sea defenses and ‘reclaiming’ the sea to create land was commonplace. Lennox Point is a throwback to past generational thinking, an unsustainable proposal that ignores the climate and ecological emergency, building in problems for the future.
We need our leaders to move on from outdated thinking that pits people vs nature in a zero-sum game. Once we recognise the inherent value of nature, we can no longer ignore its demise. We must fight to save our natural heritage, starting with the precious and irreplaceable mudflats at Tipner West.
We don’t need a rebrand, we need a rethink. #DontGoThere