Plea to look again at pedestrianised Southsea street is ignored

PEDESTRIAN AREA Palmerston Road, Southsea.
PEDESTRIAN AREA Palmerston Road, Southsea.

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TRADERS who say changes to a main road have ruined their business have failed in a bid for a rethink.

Businesses in Palmerston Road, Southsea blame a Portsmouth City Council decision to pedestrianise the street for a downturn in trade and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

A petition was launched calling for the pedestrianisation to be suspended and was signed by 1,200 people, but yesterday fell on deaf ears at a full meeting of the council.

The petition called for a review until ‘extensive consultation’ on the idea is carried out.

Several speakers at the meeting in the Guildhall spoke of anti-social behaviour such as public urination and swearing, and a rise in violence.

Shop and restaurant owners said the lack of through traffic meant people were no longer using them.

Sandy Peters, who lives and works in the area, said the removal of on-street parking and increase in street drinking has affected her business.

She said: ‘As an owner of Sopranos, a restaurant in Palmerston Road and a long-term resident of Netley Road, I believe Southsea is suffering as a consequence of the pedestrianisation as it is having a serious detrimental impact on businesses and residents alike.’

Shop owner Yusuf Ali also spoke, saying the road closure has lead to a 50 per cent drop in sales.

Councillors from the Conservative and Labour groups spoke of looking again at the pedestrian and bus-only entry.

Labour leader Councillor John Ferrett showed his support for those who signed the petition, saying: ‘I would like to say well done to those who contributed. It’s not easy to get 1,000 signatures.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the deputy leader of the Conservative group, put forward an amendment asking for the council cabinet to go away and review the decision to pedestrianise the road.

However, councillors voted in favour of a Liberal Democrat motion to continue with the full pedestrianisation of the street and work with buses to reroute services away from the shopping area.