Shoppers warned over traffic jams on city derby day

Supt Rick Burrows, of Hampshire Police
Supt Rick Burrows, of Hampshire Police

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SHOPPERS are being warned over travel chaos set to come with Pompey’s derby game on Sunday – but shopkeepers insist they are open for business.

Police are urging those heading into the city for the last weekend of shopping before Christmas to come early or find a different route.

Roads will be blocked as fans pile into the city and a convoy of 42 coaches packed with Southampton supporters will weave its way down Eastern Road.

But traders are putting on a brave face and say they can’t see business being affected.

Superintendent Rick Burrows, who is leading the policing operation at Fratton Park on Sunday, said: ‘It’s going to be really busy so try a different route and come in early. For those Portsmouth fans coming to the match, try different routes and come early because there will be congestion.

‘For those going shopping in Portsmouth, again, come in early and try and time it so it doesn’t coincide with the key times.’

The convoy of Saints fans will be under a heavy police escort and officers will clear the roads ahead of them to see the coaches safely through. Portsmouth’s city centre manager, Barry Walker, said: ‘Portsmouth will be open for business as usual. As it’s the last weekend before Christmas and due to the football, traffic is likely to be heavier on the roads this weekend.

‘If you are able to make other travel arrangements then it may be to your advantage.

‘The weekend before Christmas is the busiest shopping period of the year, so I don’t see business becoming affected.’

In Fratton, Rodney Road, Anson Road and Specks Lane will be closed from 10am to 4pm.

Rhoda Joseph, the centre director at Cascades, which is pictured on the front page, remained upbeat

She said: ‘We are certainly going to be open as usual.

‘I cannot see there being any problem apart from congestion going into Portsmouth and the M275.’

Hampshire Constabulary will be regularly updating motorists on the traffic situation in the city on social networking website Twitter.