THE SOUTH end of Southsea’s Palmerston Road is to be revamped in a bid to promote cafe culture.
It will be transformed to encourage businesses to serve food and drinks to customers on tables outside.
Firms in the area have welcomed the £470,000 project, agreed by Portsmouth City Council, which will see the road closed to traffic but still open to bikes, buses and taxis.
Amanda Scott, of the Palmerston Road Traders’ Group, said: ‘This will help businesses. It makes sense, because it completes the link between Marmion Road at the north end, and the seafront in the south. It’ll help us create even more of a cafe and bar culture here.’
The road will be raised and resurfaced between Villiers Road and Clarendon Road, to make it level with the existing pavements.
South of Villiers Road, a pavement built out on the east side will be created, forming two parking spaces.
Ms Scott said: ‘We think this will bring people here rather than to Gunwharf Quays.
‘We’ve gone door to door and there’s been lots of support. We had 16 letters of support from the traders on the street. We welcome it.’
The council’s cabinet had to decide whether to use the money it had set aside for improvements to the Southsea shopping area and where.
One alternative was a proposal to change the surfacing of the road between Palmerston Road, Osborne Road and Clarendon Road, to slow traffic and install new street furniture.
Cabinet members were also asked to consider a scheme in Osborne Road, including pavement build-outs to enable bars and restaurants there to also promote a cafe culture.
Albert Choi, owner of Osborne Road’s Noble House restaurant, and a Southsea Association member, said: ‘This road is a very important retail centre but to be honest it’s hard to see how we are all still going at the moment.
‘Things are very hard. We need some help and the scheme for Osborne Road would do that.’
Councillors assured Osborne Road business owners their road would be the next to receive cash, and pledged to use any underspend on Palmerston Road to improve their area.
Cllr Mike Hancock, leader for economic regeneration, said: ‘I support Southsea as a shopping destination.
‘We only have money for one scheme at the moment, and Palmerston Road makes sense as it’s a continuation of the north side’s pedestrianisation.
‘But we will do all we can to ensure the plan for Osborne Road comes next, including using any money we save on this scheme, to make a start.’
A final decision will be made at the council’s full council meeting on Tuesday.