Petition launched to keep cars out of Southsea shopping precinct

Palmerston Road
Palmerston Road
Hardway Slipway at Gosport.'Picture Ian Hargreaves

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A PETITION has been launched calling on Portsmouth City Council to not scrap a pedestrian zone.

The authority is considering opening the southern precinct in Palmerston Road, Southsea, to traffic again because of the crippling effect it has had on some businesses.

But other firms trading on the street say the zone has been beneficial and should stay, as allowing vehicles through again could be dangerous.

They also feel the council’s original intentions of creating a cafe culture in the street would finally happen if it closed the road completely.

Buses and the emergency services are still allowed to go through the precinct currently.

John Brooks, a director at Drift Bar, said: ‘There are many reasons why the pedestrian zone should stay.

‘For the safety of customers, it’s very important.

‘The council wanted to promote a cafe culture, but still allowed buses and emergency vehicles to come through.

‘So what it has done is create a private road. If the council had completely shut the road the businesses could have extended out and created that cafe culture.

‘There are a lot of places down here that would have benefited from that.

‘The footfall down this section of the road is very high.

‘When things are happening on the bandstand at the weekends the atmosphere is good.’

Kelly Rainey, manager of The Slug and Lettuce, in Palmerston Road, said vehicles could potentially block the view from CCTV cameras.

‘If there were cars coming through it would be dangerous for people who are visiting,’ she said.

‘I don’t know what the council is thinking in wanting to do this.

‘Businesses like Akram’s are losing money, but that’s from a business point of view.

‘You need to think of this from a public safety point of view.’

The online petition yesterday attracted more than 200 supporters.

Cllr Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, who has proposed scrapping the zone, said: ‘As and when the petition comes in I will consider it. The pubs might like it, but a lot of the residents don’t like the drink culture that has been generated.’