Southsea road to stay car-free

The controversial planters in Palmerston Road
The controversial planters in Palmerston Road
Margaret Thatcher is greeted by newsmen as she leaves her Chelsea home

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THERE was uproar during a meeting as Portsmouth City Council agreed that Palmerston Road south would become fully pedestrianised.

Yesterday, a cabinet meeting was held at Portsmouth Guildhall to decide the future of the road, which was pedestrianised, apart from the use of buses, in 2012.

Ten people from the public gave deputations, including residents who live in nearby streets and owners of businesses in Palmerston Road.

And despite nine people speaking out during the meeting against the proposal of full pedestrianisation, the cabinet members voted unanimously for it.

Along with the banning of all vehicles, a task force will also be set up to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Nazrul Ahmed, owner of restaurant Kashmir, on Palmerston Road, said the changed have achieved nothing to date.

‘What is the wow factor of Palmerston Road?’ he said.

‘We have seen an increase in anti-social behaviour and a decrease in profits for local businesses.

‘Not all parties were considered for the consultations and the questions were not asked properly.’

Other business owners shared the same views as Mr Ahmed, with Gulab Mohammed, from Akram’s Oriental Supermarket, saying the council is ‘sucking the blood out of the businesses’.

Sophie Curtis, owner of Preloved, presented her own figures that stated 18 shops were against the proposals.

She said: ‘One of the main problems we face is parking. There is no longer places for people to park so they don’t bother coming into the shops.

‘I went around and asked shops owners what they thought and 18 of them disagreed with the councils proposals.’

But three different surveys conducted by Portsmouth City Council found that the majority of people wanted the road to be fully pedestrianised.

Leader of the council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘We had responses from 6,000 residents, consultations with businesses and further consultations with the residents of Palmerston Road and the majority from all three said they wanted it to be full pedestrianised.

‘We cannot ignore what they have said.’

It was also agreed at the meeting that the concrete planters in Palmerston Road would remain and re-planting will be carried out as a priority.

Despite costing £26,000 to be installed, there were calls for the planters to be scrapped after some people used them to urinate in and dispose of their cigarettes.