We have immense sympathy for those who say that they have not had the best of times since the southern end of Palmerston Road in Southsea was pedestrianised.
They include traders who say that their takings are down and residents who protest that the area is starting to witness the sort of moronic and drink-fuelled criminality that has plagued Guildhall Walk for years.
Statistics provided by Hampshire Constabulary back up that claim, with a sharp rise in offences being recorded in the area.
And the problem is there for anyone to witness late at night, with police having to deploy – at our expense of course – extra manpower to keep the peace.
It’s not something that decent people living in the area want to see anymore than the responsible pub bosses and restaurant owners who know that a bad reputation will start to drive away customers who seek only an enjoyable night out.
And therein lies the shame of it all. How often do we bemoan the fact that the ‘cafe culture’ seems to work perfectly well on the Continent (save perhaps for when boorish Brits are in town) but as soon as we try to recreate it here, the minority appear hell bent on ruining it for the majority.
As we have said many times before, for all the commendable initiatives by police and other authorities to quell the problems in hot spots such as Guildhall Walk, the real answer lies in isolating the idiots who cause the problems.
There should be a zero tolerance towards them – if caught misbehaving, they should be prosecuted. And the courts should be given – and use consistently – sufficient sentencing powers to make fools think twice before letting Dutch courage go to their dull-minded heads.
And the city council must also investigate ways of helping those stores who have suffered a drop in trade.
It would be a great shame to lose a good and busy area in which people can wander freely because of the initial problems that have been encountered in Palmerston Road.