Tempers fray at meeting over changes to Southsea road

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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THE pedestrianisation of Southsea’s Palmerston Road was brought to the fore again during a heated debate.

Portsmouth City Council held a public meeting last night at St Jude’s Church in Kent Road to discuss potential traffic-calming measures for nearby Lennox Road South.

Earlier this year the authority sent consultation forms to residents seeking their views over measures to decrease the number of vehicles driving through the road after the precinct was introduced in April.

But the evening’s topic was put on the back-burner as attendees made their voices heard over the main road’s pedestrianisation.

Many homeowners from Villiers Road, Maple Road, Clarendon Road, and Auckland Road East are angry over the decision to turn the south end of Palmerston Road into a semi-pedestrianised precinct, which is now only open to buses and delivery lorries..

Some claim it has brought traffic ‘chaos’ to the area, affected trade, and caused an increase in drunken behaviour.

The meeting was chaired by council chief executive David Williams.

Barry Rawlings, senior traffics systems engineer at the council, said the evening was to get feedback from people over proposed traffic-calming measures.

David Smith, of Auckland Road East, told the meeting: ‘We have got a very sick patient on our hands.

‘If a surgeon is sent for, the first thing he would do is open up the main artery, which is Palmerston Road.’

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the Palmerston Road situation could be looked at again if it is not working.

He said: ‘If there are things we can change to make it better, we will look at that.’

Yusef Ali, who runs Akram Stores in Palmerston Road, said his business has taken a hit since the road was turned into a pedestrian walk through.

He said: ‘The meeting went very well – the majority of people want Palmerston Road to be open.’

But resident Cynthia Opdam said it is good for the area from an ‘economic point of view’, adding ‘it’s good to make the seafront look attractive’.