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A vibrant and bustling street in Southsea is to remain closed to vehicles, in line with the wishes of the majority of local residents and business owners, as well as those that travel through the area and go to shop or eat out.

Part of Palmerston Road, south of Osborne Road, was initially closed by Portsmouth City Council last year to create space for walking and cycling as the pandemic restrictions increased under temporary powers granted by central government. These changes have also benefitted businesses on the road as they recover from lockdowns by giving them space to provide a vibrant and pleasant place for their customers to enjoy drinks and meals out with friends.

The council recently engaged with local residents and businesses of Palmerston Road, as well as those who travel through and visit, to understand whether there is a desire for the road closure to continue. The feedback clearly shows the local community and visitors want traffic to remain restricted within this area.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said “I am pleased to have seen Palmerston Road flourishing during the road closure with many enjoying the outside space. It’s good to know we have the support of the majority of the local community, who want the vehicle restrictions to remain. “

Over 1,300 people responded to the survey about Palmerston Road and over a quarter were from the local community. Overall, 89% of respondents want the changes to remain and just 3% want the road re-opened. When looking at the data in more detail it showed that the local community as well as visitors were in favour of the changes with 83% of local residents, 64% of local businesses and 92% of visitors wanting the changes to be made permanent.

The survey asked whether the overall impact had been positive or negative, the results showed a majority (86%) of respondents reported that the temporary road closure had a positive impact on their daily business activities or experience of Palmerston Road.

Across all respondents (local businesses, local residents and visitors) the top additional improvements that respondents wanted considered were to see more plants and trees (87%) and more space for restaurant tables and chairs (80%) along Palmerston Road. Other additional improvements included an outdoor stage area for live music, public street art, creating a shared surface for pedestrians and cyclists, and improving disability access such as through more dropped kerbs and even surfaces. For more information on the full results visit, https://yourcityyoursay.portsmouth.gov.uk/palmerston-road-south-road-closure-consultation-2021/

Cllr Stagg, went on to say “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to make temporary improvements however as we can see from the survey people want these changes to continue so we will start the next stage of making this permanent. A statutory consultation on formal proposals will start shortly, via a traffic regulation order. If this is approved, we will make some initial changes, such as replacing the traffic signs, this year.”

The road closure surveys for the other roads that were closed during the pandemic are currently being analysed and once thoroughly considered the results will be shared over the coming weeks. For the latest information www.travel.portsmouth.gov.uk or to get in contact with the project team email streetprojects@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.