Portsmouth schoolgirl campaigns to keep Castle Road in Southsea closed to cars to make students 'safer'

A CITY schoolgirl has launched a campaign to keep a Southsea road closed to cars for good to keep her and her peers 'safer.'

Friday, 7th May 2021, 6:00 am
Portsmouth High School student Eve Mellor is calling on the council to keep Castle Road closed to cars. Picture: Laura Mellor

Portsmouth High School student Eve Mellor is calling on the city council to extend its closure of Castle Road which became a cyclist and pedestrian-only street last year to aid social distancing.

As part of her lobbying 14-year-old Eve has created postcards on which people can list why they would like to keep the road car free.

Read More

Read More
Independent Southsea shops in Portsmouth hope to welcome more trade with pedestr...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Castle Road, Southsea on 6 May 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

So far Eve has handed them out to other students and teachers at her school, which has two sites either side of the road.

She said: This campaign is an attempt to continue to reclaim Castle Road for pedestrians, residents and shop owners.

'The closure has a positive effect on Portsmouth High School students on a daily basis because we need to cross the road to get from the main school building to the science block and back. Having a traffic-free street makes it a lot safer and less stressful for us to cross the road.'

It is thought students at the private school make around 400 crossings of Castle Road a day.

Portsmouth High School student Eve Mellor is calling on the council to keep Castle Road closed to cars. Pictured: Eve's postcards. Picture: Laura Mellor

The closure that was launched in September has also proved popular with residents and business owners.

Southsea resident Tamara Groen, 38: said: 'It was delightful to visit Castle Road with the road closed for traffic. Usually, I find it a stressful experience cycling along Castle Road as car drivers often act as if they own the narrow road and I am not a terribly confident cyclist.'

Kevin Dean, 60, who lives in Pelham Road, added: 'Castle Road is a beacon of hope for the whole city, it has shown that businesses can thrive and that traffic can be diverted without huge disruption.

'Instead of even contemplating allowing cars to return to the street the council should seize this chance allow other streets to become traffic free.'

Castle Road, Southsea on 6 May 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Planters have now been installed along the road and some businesses have placed seating outside.

City artist Pete Codling, 51, whose studio is along Castle Road said: 'The closure definitely worked to help with social distancing but I think there are other benefits including the reduction of traffic, which makes it safer for the school as sometimes it could be used as a rat-run.

'In terms of footfall we are getting ready for our busy summer period so we think this will encourage more people to come here.'

Portsmouth City Council said a formal consultation will be held before a decision on whether to make the closure permanent is made - alongside a decision on Palmerston Road South that was also closed for social distancing.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.