IT’S the first thing people see when they arrive on a train at the harbour.
And people looking at the new plans for The Hard Interchange at an exhibition last night agreed its time to make improvements.
The £7m plans were on show at the Royal Maritime Club, in Queen Street.
The proposals include a complete redesign of the transport interchange’s layout and a one-way system on nearby roads.
David Baynes, chairman of the Portsmouth Society, was one of dozens of people looking at the plans.
He said: ‘It is a reasonably good attempt at creating a far better layout.
‘It will be great to have a level, smooth surface across the area. It will be great to have an interchange building, giving a covered building in bad weather.’
He added there is currently a problem with cyclists who use the Gosport Ferry not sticking to paths at The Hard.
But he said the plans did not accommodate people wanting to park at the rail station for a short time to buy tickets and check train times.
The plans include knocking down the existing buildings and replacing them with a hub that will have bus, train and ferry timetables on display.
The building will also simplify getting a bus with the services lining up in bays.
David Corsar, 74, of Waverley Road, in Southsea, said The Hard needs to be changed from its current state.
But he thinks a two-level system could have been looked at, with taxis queuing up underground.
He said: ‘Part of the problem is we get buses backing up at the moment and they wait five or 10 minutes.
‘There are some good points about it. It is doing away with a noisy food bar.’
There will be a new coach layby near the anchor sculpture and two taxi pick-up points on The Hard.
Planners also hope to separate out pedestrians and vehicles as much as possible.
Anna Turner, from Portsmouth City Council, is the project manager.
She said: ‘We want somewhere that’s going to improve the area, provide one central place to get information.
‘We are going to be planning to submit the planning application at the end of April.
‘People seem to be in support of it. It is not as good as it could be down there.’
Another exhibition of The Hard Interchange plans will be at the Royal Maritime Club today from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.
Representatives from Aedas design practice and city council planners will be there to answer questions.
A planning application for the new interchange is expected towards the end of this month with a decision anticipated during the summer.
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