Southsea’s cafe culture plan is not working say residents

TRAFFIC FREE The pedestrian area in Palmerston Road, Southsea. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (121674-720)
TRAFFIC FREE The pedestrian area in Palmerston Road, Southsea. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (121674-720)
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ATTEMPTS to bring ‘cafe culture’ to a Southsea street have backfired – and instead have just led to drunks loitering for longer at the weekend.

That’s the view of people living near Palmerston Road, who last night went to a meeting to discuss what has happened since the south end of the street was pedestrianised.

Michael Bilton, who has lived in Southsea for 15 years, said there was also a problem with drunk people loitering in the pedestrian area at weekends.

He said: ‘This part of Southsea is meant to be a residential area. The aim of creating a cafe culture in my view has not been achieved. Instead the pedestrian zone as given us problems with alcohol because more young people are visiting the bars and loitering about.

‘Palmerston Road is becoming the new Guildhall Walk.’

More than 100 residents, traders and community leaders gathered at the meeting led by The Southsea Association in St Jude’s Church in Kent Road.

They also talked about what should be done to improve the existing pedestrian zone at the north end of Palmerston Road, Southsea, and some said the south end should also be turned into a pedestrian-only precinct.

At the moment buses and delivery lorries can still use it, although many residents have reported that cars are still being driven down it.

Resident Catherine Watton, of Villiers Road, recently won her lengthy battle to make her road a no-entry zone for cars.

She said: ‘Hopefully the council will now take the bull by the horns and complete the work by pedestrianising all of Palmerston Road.’

However, other residents felt that the pedestrian zones should be scrapped because of the knock-on effects the changes have on nearby roads.

Police officers said they were working with pubs and restaurants to ensure that problems were kept to a minimum.

Sector Inspector for Southsea Greg Moore said: ‘We understand there are problems. There are also issues with the design of the precinct which the council needs to look at as it has led to confusion amongst motorists.’

People are being asked to email concerns to so The Southsea Association can present council officers with a report.