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Councillors will discuss the network of public footpaths and open spaces which will benefit everyone who lives, visits, works and studies in Portsmouth.

Recommendations will be made to adopt Portsmouth City Councils Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) at the Traffic and Transportation decision meeting following development of the plan, based on feedback from residents and views from key stakeholders.  This version outlines planned improvements to paths from 2022 to 2032 and follows a previous plan that was in place from 2007 to 2017.

As a densely populated city, public footpaths and open space are extremely valuable to Portsmouth residents and visitors as they give everyone access to places to relax, exercise, and enjoy. The city has 103 recognised rights of way, nearly five miles of public footpaths, and around 780 hectares of open space that are accessible to people of all ages and abilities Therefore, the ROWIP is an important document that sets out improvements to these footpaths and open spaces over the next ten years.

A public consultation was held between November 2021 and February 2022 to allow anyone with an interest to influence and shape the final version of the ROWIP. The survey sought to understand how people currently use rights of way in Portsmouth, assess how understandable the plan is and measure how it identifies and addresses people’s future needs. As a result of the consultation, several updates were made to the plan including amending maps, improving diagrams, and making sure the language used was clear and accessible to all.

The ROWIP will support the council to successfully deliver the transport strategy that will create cleaner, greener, and better-connected travel, and builds on the work carried out in the previous plan.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation at Portsmouth City Council said:

“The Rights of Way improvement plan is essential part of making improvements to our often little-known public rights of way. I look forward to discussing the recommendation to adopt the plan at my public decision meeting.”

The Traffic and Transportation meeting will take place on Thursday 19 January 2023.