Palmerston Road (South) will be temporarily closed to traffic under Covid-19 legislation to support a more continental style atmosphere on the street, based around on-street seated dining, and to create more space for social distancing. This will also help to support the economic recovery of local businesses.
The idea for the scheme initially came from a group of independent traders in the road and then was developed based on feedback from other residents and businesses. The road will be closed from Friday 14 August for work to take place ready for businesses to start using the extra space from Saturday 15 August 2020.
Details of the scheme are:
- Temporary closure of Palmerston Road South to enable social distancing from its junction with Villiers Road to Osborne Road, except for deliveries prior to 11am.
- Temporary suspension of one way on Villiers Rd from the Vale to its junction with Palm Court to enable access to disabled and resident parking. Bollards will be installed to prevent access from Villiers Road onto Palmerston Road.
- Moving the loading bay to from the junction with Auckland Road West to a new temporary loading bay by the junction with Villiers Road.
- The introduction of a pass point to support a social distancing pass point adjacent to Bonita's, Soprano's and Meat and Barrel.
- The establishment of trade association with the support of Shaping Portsmouth to enable businesses in Palmerston Road South to work together to make the most of this opportunity.
The government have given councils new powers to support social distancing as a priority, because social distancing, combined with good hygiene, track and trace and testing is vital for ensuring the safety of residents. These new powers mean that if a scheme is deemed necessary to support social distancing they do not need to consult, but have obligations in respect of notification.
However the council have been informally consulting with residents and businesses over the last month to shape the scheme and maximise the opportunity it presented to support health and wellbeing. The majority of respondents supported the proposal.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: "We are pleased we have been able to work with businesses to support their idea of a more continental style atmosphere on the street as part of our commitment to support the economic recovery of local businesses.
"We appreciate as with all new schemes, some people have concerns and we have tried hard to address these when developing the plans. As part of the consultations, residents reported some previous issues with antisocial behaviour and we are hoping that closing the road to traffic and prioritising seated eating and drinking, will have a positive impact, helping to create a relaxed atmosphere.
"As a scheme that is being implemented in response to identified need in respect of Covid-19 we will be continually monitoring this temporary scheme on a monthly basis."
Once the closure is in operation, residents and businesses can report any concerns to the Business Support Team on 023 9284 1641.
This work is being funded by the Re-opening High Streets Safely Fund from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).