Planters farce
should lead to
end of precinct experiment

KIERAN HOWARD: Thanks very much for the hand, foot and mouth disease Louie

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Portsmouth City Council must regret the day it foolishly decided to pedestrianise the southern section of Palmerston Road, Southsea.

Perhaps, on paper, it seemed a good idea at the time in an attempt to bring it into line with the northern half of the street.

But of course that was never going to work without a major realignment of the road network because Osborne and Clarendon roads run through the middle of it.

Maybe council planners and others thought that by banning traffic from this part of the road, they could foster a more continental-style cafe culture in the area.

Whatever the reasons, they seem to have upset just about everyone in the vicinity, particularly the traders who, since traffic was barred, reckon trade has plummeted.

Perhaps worst of all, it’s costing large amounts of cash – money which in these straitened times could be far better spent elsewhere.

The latest episode in this shambles concerns concrete planters in the ‘precinct’.

Just 18 months ago the authority spent £26,000 on seven of the permanent flower beds in another bid to make the area more attractive.

And now, guess what, councillors are considering removing them. Why? Because, surprise, surprise, people are using them as toilets, rubbish bins and overblown sick bags.

Nobody should be in the least surprised because anti-social behaviour of this sort is exactly what happens when you try to ‘civilise’ an area full of bars and clubs.

As we point out in our story today, this comes after the council reversed its decision and removed bollards at the end of nearby Lennox Road South – obstacles installed to stop lorries reaching the seafront. They were taken out after Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service complained the bollards stopped fire engines getting through.

It’s time the council stopped mucking around with Palmerston Road (south) and let it revert back to the days pre-bollards and pre-planters.