A MULTI-MILLION pound boost to Portsmouth’s transport links has been provided by a government grant.
Portsmouth City Council successfully bid for the maximum £5m from a Department for Transport scheme to fund sustainable travel across the UK.
The money will be added to £2m from the council, local businesses and public transport companies to fund a raft of plans to try and boost the economy, reduce congestion and help the environment.
The measures are designed to improve links between The Hard, Gunwharf Quays, the Historic Dockyard, the city centre and Southsea.
Among the improvements will be more signs and maps, and what the council hopes will be better cycle routes, more efficient bus junctions and more attractive main routes and railway stations across the city.
The grant will also help set up a park-and-sail ferry service between Portsmouth International Port and Gunwharf Quays, as well as allowing the council to employ guides to advise visitors on getting around.
Cllr Jason Fazackarley, the council’s cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said: ‘It’s brilliant that the council has won this money from the government, enabling the plan to go ahead.
‘This is a tremendous chance to reduce congestion, reduce transport costs for businesses, and improve the environment.
‘The aim is to increase the attractiveness of Portsmouth as a retail and tourist destination, bringing more cash into our shops and attractions.
‘These schemes will increase the attractiveness of Portsmouth as somewhere to live and work, and help attract highly-skilled employees and high-value businesses.’
MP for Portsmouth South, and cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, Mike Hancock said: ‘This is great news both for local residents and visitors.
‘We have campaigned long and hard for this funding and the quality of the bid and the hard work of the people working tirelessly on it have been reflected by us being awarded the full grant from central government.
‘We have taken yet another step along the road to making Portsmouth a city of the future while remembering its long history and cultural heritage.’
Simon Moon, the council’s head of transport and environment, said: ‘This is all about regenerating our city, along with our plans to redevelop Tipner, improve the seafront and help bring around £1bn of investment into the city over the next 20 years.
‘Our vision of Portsmouth as the great waterfront city means having the right transport.
‘We need to reduce pressure on the road network, improve connections between key areas and be more sustainable.’