Loss of road biggest concern with Southsea seafront defences plans

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Pupils, parents and teachers celebrate the new England manager Gareth Southgate attended Padnell Infant School. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Cowplain school celebrates finding out England manager Gareth Southgate attended

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PEDESTRIANISING part of the seafront, parking and access to the beach were the main concerns raised at a consultation held yesterday. 

Plans to revamp and improve the sea defences along Southsea went on show in Anchorage Park for people to give their thoughts on the scheme.

Hosted by Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP), the Southsea Coastal Scheme event showed the in-depth proposals which would see eight areas of the seafront changed and improved.

Two of the options are to fully pedestrianise the promenade and roads running along Southsea Common and Canoe Lake.

So far, hundreds of people have attended the consultation sessions which have pictures, a 3D video showing the plans with modelled cars and people and a virtual view of what people will be able to see from the promenade.

Chris Hatton, a resident of Anchorage Park, said: ‘I use Southsea seafront quite a lot and my main concern is the cars and parking.

‘Access to the beach is a concern of mine too. Before coming down, I did think the proposals would stop us from being able to see the Solent but having a look now, I can see that isn’t the case.

‘Southsea is in need of a big face lift, it is still in the Victorian times. These defences are important.’

She added: ‘Pedestrianising the promenade would cause problems though and I think if that were the case, other means of transport have to be improved.

‘Southsea is a very big area and not everyone will be able to walk far distances.’

Couple Shirley and Tony Blakey, from Copnor, agree. They are keen cyclists but said some people need their cars to get around.

‘We are torn about the pedestrianisation of the seafront,’ Shirley said. 

‘As cyclists, we think it is a good idea but we can acknowledge the difficulties it would cause for others who need their cars.’

Lyall Cairns is head of services at the ESCP which has been working on the £100m proposals planned to start next year if granted permission.

He said: ‘We have been happy with the consultations and how interested the public have been. Everyone seems to agree these defences are important, it is just some aspects like the roads that people aren’t sure of.

‘These proposals will benefit our children’s children and will be a catalyst for regeneration.’