D-Day looms in row over car-free Southsea street

CAR FREE FUTURE? 'Palmerston Road, Southsea
CAR FREE FUTURE? 'Palmerston Road, Southsea

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TRAFFIC problems in a controversial pedestrian zone could finally come to an end.

Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet is holding a special meeting on Tuesday, January 21, to decide whether Palmerston Road, in Southsea, should be shut off to all vehicles after 11am each day.

At the moment buses are still allowed through, and many people feel they are becoming dangerous and accidents could happen. It comes after the local authority carried out three consultations with more than 6,000 households – and the overwhelming desire was for all of the southern precinct to be fully pedestrianised.

As reported, a survey carried out by The News revealed 12 of the 31 firms in Palmerston Road want the zone shut off to buses and extended down to Auckland Road East and West.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the council, said: ‘We have been asking people what their view is.

‘The most popular response in each of these three consultations has been we should have full pedestrianisation from 11am in the morning.’

In order for that to happen, Stagecoach’s 700 service, which uses Palmerston Road as a thoroughfare, would need to be rerouted.

Options being considered include terminating the 700 service at The Hard, and passengers would then get the number 23 every 10 minutes from there each day to Southsea.

It’s hoped the move would enable better connections between Gunwharf Quays and Southsea.

Councillors have also asked Stagecoach to consider changing the 700 service so it goes to Clarence Pier and then to Osborne Road and Clarendon Road, before turning around at The Circle and serving the rest of its normal route.

Cllr Peter Eddis, who represents St Jude ward, said: ‘We can see merit in all the options, in particular the option of terminating at The Hard because it’s providing more frequent services to parts of Southsea.

‘But the big, big downside is that people would have to change buses at The Hard.’

Andrew Dyer, managing director for Stagecoach South, said: ‘There are ongoing discussions with the city council about this.’