DESIGNS for sea defences set to protect our city for up to 100 years went into their third day of consultations yesterday.
Residents united to give feedback on the Southsea Coastal Scheme plans as they went on display at the Aspex Gallery, in Gunwharf Quays.
The proposals – which have been drawn up by a team including Portsmouth City Council, Balfour Beatty and the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership – are centric around the aim of protecting 8,077 residential properties and 704 commercial units for the next century.
And yesterday, from 1pm until 7pm, local people examined them and gave their views on a number of aspects developers have put in their control.
Two of those, are options to fully pedestrianise the promenade and roads running along Southsea Common and Canoe Lake – or to turn Clarence Esplanade into a one-way road with a parking lane and retain the two-way system at Eastney Esplanade.
On this idea, 21-year-old Hannah Porteous, who lives close to the Common, said: ‘I’m for total pedestrianisation.
‘I think that would be a good move toward a nicer-looking beach with far less pollution.
‘Not only that, but it would be safer too – I often see children running across those roads, especially between the beach and the common.’
If Hannah’s idea came into play, a dedicated cycle way or a shared-use space could also be implemented in those areas.
But Lionel Smith, of Brandon Road in Southsea, sided with option two – which as well as a 1m height increase of the prom at least – would see traffic flow in a westbound direction by the Common retained, with parking on the side of the beach.
The 73-year-old said: ‘I think this should be a space cars are still permitted to access. ‘Vehicles there are important for a number of reasons, not least because of people with disabilities or reduced mobility, but also in terms of keeping visitors attracted to the area.
‘I fear any reduction in access would only cause parking problems further back into Southsea – roads around that area could become more crowded.’
Another hot topic was plans for defences stretching 100m both sides of South Parade Pier.
On one hand residents could lower prom’s height, but introduce a 3m vertical wall with stairs along it.
Alternatively they have the choice to recommend an unchanged prom, with a 1.4m wall.
Most residents, including David Fysh, from Southsea, opted for the latter.
He said: ‘When I saw the plans for the taller defence wall, I imagined it looking quite intimidating in person.
‘I think it’s best to keep the lower defence , because it would keep it looking nice but the wall would still give peace of mind.’
As many residents described the proposals as ‘impressive’, Gareth Colwell, engagement officer for the scheme, said he was ‘really pleased’ with their input.
For remaining consultation dates, visit escp.org.uk