Should Portsmouth's North End be made a pedestrian zone?

IT might look like a piazza you'd expect to see in Paris or Venice.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 20th April 2016, 6:04 am
An illustration of how North End Village could look Picture: Gary Wensley
An illustration of how North End Village could look Picture: Gary Wensley

But this is a vision of the latest grand plan to turn around North End’s fortunes.

Old Portsmouth resident Richard Blair has worked with local architect Gary Wensley on a creative way to transform the Portsmouth shopping district.

The pair believe a large chunk of London Road, between Laburnum Grove and Chichester Road, should be made a pedestrian zone to promote cafe culture and attract more families.

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A children’s play area, an area for trees and a light sculpture would be created as part of the ‘North End village’ vision.

And there would be a screen put up promoting job opportunities for young people.

Mr Blair said: ‘Soon the Northern Quarter at Commercial Road will happen, so let’s be ahead of the game.

‘North End Village would have its own identity, with a road sign as you come off the A27.

‘The very word means a self-contained community within the city.

‘It would add to the North End spirit that already exists.

‘We need, and have adequate car parking if seized now by erecting a structure similar to the Mile End multi-storey.’

Traffic would run down Stubbington Avenue through to Angerstein Road to Twyford Avenue and the M275 and southbound traffic coming down London Road before the precinct would go via Derby Road and Laburnum Grove.

A new car park would be created off Stubbington Avenue.

While Mr Blair couldn’t put an exact price on the plans, he believes it would have ‘little cost’ and the council should seriously consider whether it would have the finances to pull it off.

He says the £120,000 already being spent on 10 new parking spaces on London Road would not be wasted as they could be used by cyclists and mobility scooter users and people with trollies.

It comes after another £400,000 was spent widening pavements in a bid to attract extra footfall in 2012.

But Ukip ward councillor and planning, regeneration and economic development spokesman, Cllr Colin Galloway, is sceptical.

He said: ‘Quite frankly, I would like to see these plans in more detail. That’s one of the main arteries in and out of the city so how do they intend to re-route the traffic?

‘But financially, something has to be done. The place is definitely deteriorating.’