Castle Road in Southsea will remain shut to vehicles after Portsmouth City Council survey
A POPULAR shopping and dining street in Southsea that has divided opinion over whether it should stay closed to vehicles will remain shut - to the frustration of some.
Castle Road was closed by Portsmouth City Council last September to help social distancing by creating more space for walking and cycling as Covid pandemic restrictions increased.
The council said the changes also made the street a ‘more pleasant space with a creative, independent vibe for people to dine outside or just meeting with friends’.
The move divided those living and working in the road with some residents saying they became ‘prisoners’ in their street after being blocked into their driveways by vans.
They also complained of having to deal with noise and anti-social behaviour from revellers sitting outside.
The road is closed to through traffic but bollards are moved to allow for deliveries to businesses in the morning.
In a bid to find out if people want the road closure to remain, the council surveyed residents, businesses and visitors.
Now the council has the results from the 1,400 responses, with a majority of 64 per cent of people opting to keep Castle Road closed to vehicles and 24 per cent requesting a hybrid approach. Only 11 per cent wanted it reopened to vehicles.
A majority of 76 per cent of respondents also reported the temporary road closure had a positive impact with only 14 per cent reporting a negative impact.
The council found 67 per cent of residents, 50 per cent of businesses and 81 per cent of visitors felt there was a positive impact from the closure. The reduced levels of vehicles and a safer walking and cycling route were among the top three positive impacts.
But not everyone was pleased with the results.
Pam McGuiness, 67, who has lived in the road for 35 years, said: ‘It’s a decision that some residents and traders will welcome, but Castle Road Area Residents Association (CRARA) are disappointed for all the residents who are adversely affected by the closure and also for those traders who asked CRARA to represent their views as the closure is causing them big losses in trade.
‘Residents whose property values have been severely adversely affected by the closure and traders whose businesses have lost money due to the closure are now talking with the CRARA and we will be talking with the council as to how they are going to deal with these large financial losses their closure decision has caused.’
Councillor Lynne Stagg, member for traffic and transportation, said: ‘I am pleased that we can give the road closure on Castle Road the green light to enter the final stage of changing the road use permanently.
‘We have listened to residents and business owners in Castle Road and surrounding areas, as well as visitors, who overwhelmingly want the changes to remain. We appreciate that not everyone likes the change, and we are working closely with the local community to understand any small tweaks that could be made to alleviate concerns.’
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The council says it is speaking to those affected to see if alterations can be made to plans before formal consultation for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in a few weeks. If the TRO is approved, changes will be made to the road.