Campaigners step up fight to get rid of pedestrian area

Palmerston Road
Palmerston Road
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

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CAMPAIGNERS have stepped up their bid to get Southsea’s controversial traffic measures overturned.

Around 1,200 people have signed a petition which will be presented at a full meeting of Portsmouth City Council on Tuesday.

Businesses and residents are unhappy about the impact the pedestrianisation of Palmerston Road has had on their lives – and want the scheme overturned.

They think it would be a good idea to completely reopen the road again and tell buses, which are still allowed through, to find an alternative route because they’re creating problems.

There’s also concern about the lack of a joined-up parking strategy and the fact that time was wasted putting bollards in Lennox Road South, only for them to be removed three months later.

The council introduced the pedestrian zone to create ‘cafe culture’ – but critics say it’s just created a perfect haven for drinkers instead.

Sophie Curtis, manager of Preloved Portsmouth, who will speak at the meeting, said: ‘I will be addressing the main issues – the fact businesses have seen a 50 per cent fall in trade, the fact buses go through and beep at old ladies.

‘My friend lives on the corner of Palmerston Road and she’s had drunk people knocking on her windows.

‘We have decided as a group of businesses to come up with a solution, we want the council to make Palmerston Road a one-way road, or make it completely open again.’

The petition says the Palmerston Road pedestrianisation was implemented with ‘little or no consultation’ and has had a ‘disastrous effect’ on resident and visitor amenities.’

Linda Symes, who set up the petition, said: ‘The pedestrian part isn’t working. It’s attracting a drinking culture which is causing problems for the residents. There has been a huge downturn in trade, so it really needs to be resolved.’

The matter can only be resolved by the council’s cabinet but it can still be discussed by the full council.

Cllr Michael Andrewes, who represents the area, said: ‘Over the next two years we need to look at how we improve Southsea for everyone. That must involve monitoring the situation to see how it is working for both residents and visitors. And at the end of that I wouldn’t rule anything in or anything out.’

The meeting at Portsmouth Guildhall starts at 2pm.