Commercial Road revamp project nears completion as Portsmouth City Council adds play equipment, mural and more to city centre

Visitors to Portsmouth’s Commercial Road will notice some big changes as a council construction project nears completion.

The government funded Future High Streets project is ending in the northern part of Commercial Road. Portsmouth City Council was awarded funding to make minor improvements to the north of the high street in the space between Crasswell Street and Lake Road. Changes include new seating, more planting, play equipment for children, new cycle stands, and a pavement graphic by local artist, Angela Chick following a successful competition run in conjunction with the council’s Safer Streets team. The team has also assisted in the sourcing and implementation of more CCTV in the area.

Funds from the Future High Streets government initiative is solely for the purposes of renewing and reshaping town centres and high streets.

Councillor Steve Pitt, leader of the council with responsibility for culture, leisure and economic development said: “We are pleased with the minor improvements in Commercial Road which have been funded by the government. There is a huge journey to go on to secure larger scale improvements to Commercial Road’s shopping area, but Portsmouth City Council is unfortunately not the principal landowner. However, this is a strong start to take forward our wider regeneration plans for the city centre.”

The council has said it is committed to working in partnership with city centre retailers to improve the high street experience. Last month, the council opened its first pop up shop in Cascades, in a partnership with the shopping centre and Flude.

This scheme is designed to enable local entrepreneurs and small businesses to trade in the high street without the commitment or cost of a longer-term lease. Work is almost complete on creating a new enterprise centre, City Buildings. This space will have 14 new offices and a co-working area in Commercial Road on the former Job Centre and Playland sites. A refreshed markets strategy has also been developed and aims to create a dynamic shopping experience that is diverse, vibrant and adds value to the high street.

Why is Charlotte Street shut?

Alongside the transformation of Commercial Road, Portsmouth City Council is also creating a new bus gate. The creation of the new bus gate in Charlotte Street, which is a short section of road only buses and bicycles can use, started on Monday, February 5 and is planned for completion in May 2024. It is part of a multi million pound project to improve travelling by bus, walking and cycling across Portsmouth. The city council said the bus gate between Charlotte Street and Commercial Road North, east of Eden Street will enable buses travelling out of the City Centre to avoid other vehicles and provide faster journey times to passengers.

To the install the bus gate, the current pedestrian-only zone will be replaced with a new road. There will also be new footways and crossings installed to make it safer to walk here and there will also be improvements to the street lighting.

Works to the high street are expected to finish by the end of this month, but the majority of play equipment is already open for use. You can find out more about the Commercial Road improvement scheme by visiting To stay up to date with all the ongoing SEHRT works, visit

Here are some pictures of how Commercial Road looks following the development:

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