Guildhall Walk and Palmerston Road in Portsmouth to be closed to traffic permanently

THE closures of two ‘flourishing’ Portsmouth roads to traffic are set to be made permanent after winning the support of businesses and residents.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:31 pm
People in Palmerston Road, Southsea in April this year Picture: Habibur Rahman

Palmerston Road in Southsea and Guildhall Walk have been blocked to vehicles for the past year under a government initiative to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

And in response to the results of a consultation showing support for both, Portsmouth City Council has said it will start the process of making them permanent.

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Cabinet member for transport, councillor Lynne Stagg, said businesses in both roads had benefitted from the closures which were first brought in under government powers introduced early into the pandemic to encourage councils to consider measures for increasing the use of bikes and walking.

‘I am pleased to have seen Palmerston Road flourishing during the road closure with many enjoying the outside space,' she said. 'It’s good to know we have the support of the majority of the local community, who want the vehicle restrictions to remain.’

Speaking about Guildhall Walk, she added: ‘[It] has not just helped create a safe route for many during the pandemic and more space for businesses to operate but also that people want it to stay.’

Just under two-thirds of the Palmerston Road businesses that responded to the council's consultation supported keeping the road closed to traffic permanently. More than 70 per cent were supportive in Guildhall Walk.

The number of residents backing each of the closures was above 80 per cent.

‘I believe it was a great success and has positively affected loads of businesses not only on Palmerston Road but on adjacent roads,’ one of the business responses said. ‘It will make the area in question an environmentally friendly amenity.’

Another said there was ‘no real need’ for vehicle access along Guildhall Walk.

As a result, the council has confirmed it has begun the formal process of making them permanent.

This will see statutory consultations launched as part of work to introduce new traffic regulation orders. These will cover Palmerston Road south of Osborne Road and the entirety of Guildhall Walk.

Cllr Stagg said that these could be in place in the coming months, allowing the council to install some more permanent measures, including new signs, by the end of the year.