Council is 'investigating' more potential road closures in Portsmouth

MORE roads in Portsmouth could be closed to encourage social distancing.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 7:00 am
Social distancing in Southsea has been a challenge for many residents. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Social distancing in Southsea has been a challenge for many residents. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The city council has revealed it is 'investigating' other roads which could be shut to cars after making the decision to cordon off seafront roads for the foreseeable future.

It is hoped the closures will help people keep two metres apart of each other more easily when going out for their one exercise a day.

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Seafront roads in Portsmouth to permanently close

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Transport boss, Councillor Lynne Stagg, said 'In response to residents' requests, we are helping those local to the seafront to stay safe whilst exercising by closing the majority of the seafront road to vehicles.

'I would also like to remind you to stay at home unless you are making an essential journey. When walking, running or cycling social distance and stay at least two metres from others.'

A council spokeswoman added: 'The council is investigating other roads that could be closed to help social distancing while exercising during the coronavirus outbreak.'

It comes as environmental groups across Portsmouth called on the council to look at incorporating other roads in the lockdown closures.

One of the co-ordinators of Extinction Rebellion Portsmouth, Nick Sebley, said: 'Given that we are being asked to drive less to minimise the chance of road traffic accidents and people are cycling more, some of them for the first time and some of them in families, there's a duty of care of the local authority to ensure their safety.

'Closing more roads would be the best way to do this.'

He also believed there should be a push to consider keeping some road closures after lockdown. 'This is an opportunity to do something we need to do anyway,' he said.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, the council's head of environment, explained some of the existing work to reduce traffic in the city. He said: 'We recently made a cabinet decision to introduce play streets after a successful trial in Francis Avenue. So that's something we will be able to continue with once this is over.

'During this lockdown we have seen how pollution levels have gone down. We know people are walking and cycling more and we're always looking at ways to improve that.'

The roads that will close from May 1 are Eastney Esplanade, between Canoe Lake and St George’s Road, and Clarence Esplanade from the D-Day Story to the Hovertravel terminal.

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