Plans for Osborne Road pushed back until after election

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A DECISION on controversial plans to revamp Osborne Road has been pushed back until after council elections in May.

Portsmouth City Council’s traffic and transportation committee heard objections to the plans at a meeting at the Guildhall.

The plans call for a widening of footpaths to 2m, reducing the road width in places, and allowing only north-bound access for vehicles in Palmerston Road South during certain times.

The plans include moving the pedestrian crossing outside the Subway westwards, and creating three crossings.

But the proposals won’t be given the green light until after another round of consultations following the May council elections.

At the meeting, Cllr Hugh Mason put forward a list of six amendments he wanted made. He said one-way traffic on Palmerston Road south would create ‘ratruns’ pushing delivery vans on to nearby streets.

He said: ‘One-way working in Palmerston Road would lead to an unacceptable use of minor roads for access by heavy vehicles.’

Auckland Road West resident Peter Cairns also spoke against the potential ratruns in the quiet back streets in his neighbourhood.

He said: ‘These roads are unsuited to large vehicles as they have to drive on the pavement. This poses a serious health and safety issue to residents.’

Marie Jenkins, of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said the plan failed to consider blind and partially-sighted people.

Ms Jenkins said the crossings would ‘end up forcing blind and partially-sighted road users to walk in front of vehicles without actually knowing whether they have been seen or not’.

There was also debate about whether the space reserved bus stops in Osborne Road was enough to cope with the 20 buses stopping every hour.

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, who chaired the meeting, said the plans were not a ‘fait accompli’ and that there would be a 21-day consultation period after the elections.

He said: ‘Because of the local elections which are looming there will be no opportunity for a decision to be taken until afterwards.’