TRADERS have been given a boost after it was agreed more will be done to try and lure visitors to a city shopping area.
Portsmouth City Council will look into closing parts of Fratton Road in Fratton to traffic on particular Sundays of the year to accommodate food markets and family fun days.
The pledge came at a meeting of Fratton Road Traders’ Association at Fratton Community Centre, which gave shops the opportunity to quiz councillors on local issues and ask for more help.
Nick Courtney, chairman of the association and owner of Sweet Memories Vinyl Records, in Fratton Road, welcomed the move.
‘If the council is able to deliver that, then it’s extremely good news as I didn’t think Fratton Road could be closed for anything,’ he said.
‘I’m surprised and happy it is even considering it, as this is the sort of thing that has been done in places like Castle Road to enable events to happen.
‘We are looked at as second-class citizens by Albert Road and we never thought we would have the chance to elevate to a higher level because we are in Fratton.’
It is expected events would be driven by the community, and groups like Fratton Big Local could provide help, given it has been given a £1m pot of cash to spend on improvements to the area in the next decade.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, attended the debate.
Speaking of the potential road closure, he said: ‘As a council we would need to hear more from the traders about how it would work and we would need to deal with issues like bus routing, but I am open to a discussion about it.
‘If they come up with something viable and there are not any undue traffic problems then it’s something we could support.’
He said parking charges have come down in Fratton Road from £1.20 an hour to 90p to try and attract extra footfall.
But Fratton Ukip councillor Julie Swan said parking rules need to be relaxed further.
‘The charges have been reduced, but it’s not good enough,’ she said.
‘The original proposal I put forward in the summer about free parking between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday seemed incredibly popular among traders.’
Businesses were encouraged to call police on 101 every time there is an incident of anti-social behaviour and to take pride in their premises and sweep the pavements outside more often.
It was hoped a police official would attend but no-one was able to.
Another meeting will be held once Hampshire Constabulary comes back with an available date.