PORTSMOUTH City Council has agreed to improve greenery in a controversial pedestrian zone following a string of complaints.
City workers planted bushes and grass at the south end of Palmerston Road, Southsea – which was blocked off to traffic except buses earlier in the year – in a bid to spruce the place up.
But residents have complained that shrubs haven’t been maintained, they lack variety and cigarette butts have been left scattered about in them.
As previously reported in The News, concerns were previously raised about the introduction of a one-way system, noise from nearby pubs and drivers still trying to access the road.
Now, after pressure from the city’s Conservative councillors, the council has agreed to try harder.
The pledge was made after Tory councillor Luke Stubbs brought up the problem at a public meeting to discuss the area.
A report about the progress being made will go before a council meeting in the new year.
A date for that meeting has not yet been confirmed.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Good plant troughs brighten up a streetscene, but you’ve got to look after them.
‘The displays in Palmerston Road looked good when they first went in, but they have been abandoned since.
‘Flower displays are one of the things Portsmouth does really well and so it’s disappointing the planters in this particular street have not received the care they need.
‘Hopefully things will be better in the New Year.’
Vince Faithfull, chairman of Southsea Association and owner of A&V Trade Sales, Southsea, is pleased the council wants people’s support.
‘We welcome the help, that’s what we want,’ he said.
‘We want the council to listen to us. Quite often it doesn’t do that.
‘The large planters now look scruffy and in the evenings they are being used as seats.
‘Cigarettes and empty beer cans are also being thrown into them.
‘The association has had a vast number of emails from residents asking what is going to happen.’
Though council officials argued it was difficult to judge the quality of greenery in the winter, they welcomed the review.
Barry Walker, city centre manager, said: ‘We will carry out a review which will see us working with Colas and local businesses to improve the area.
‘There were complaints about cigarette butts being left in bushes and they have been cleared away now.
‘I appreciate people’s concerns but on one hand I think it can be difficult to judge the quality of greenery during the winter.
‘The spring will be a good time for us to plant new things.’