A popular shopping and dining street in the heart of Southsea is to remain closed to vehicles, in line with the wishes of the majority of residents, business owners and visitors.
Castle Road was initially closed by Portsmouth City Council last year to create space for walking and cycling as the pandemic restrictions increased. These changes also made the street a more pleasant space with a creative, independent vibe for people to dine outside or just meeting with friends.
The council recently engaged with residents, businesses and visitors to Castle Road to understand whether there is a desire for the road closure to remain. The survey results have now been analysed and clearly show that work should continue so that the road closure can remain in place.
Within the survey people were offered three options, to keep the current closure, to adopt an alternative hybrid option that would reduce the flow of traffic whilst allowing access for deliveries at certain times of the day, or to reopen the road to vehicles. The survey received over 1,400 responses with the majority of respondents opting to keep Castle Road closed to vehicles (64%), just under a quarter (24%) requested a hybrid approach with a one-way lane for vehicles from south to north, and 11% would like it reopened to vehicles.
Further to this people were asked about the impact the changes were having. A majority of 76% of respondents to the survey reported that the temporary road closure had a positive impact on their daily business activities or experience of Castle Road and only 14% reported a negative impact. When looking at this response in more detail that the council found 67% of residents, 50% of businesses and 81% of visitors felt there was a positive impact from the closure. The reduced levels of vehicles and Castle Road being a safer walking and cycling route were amongst the top three positive impacts for all users of Castle Road (residents, visitors and businesses). To view the survey results please visit https://yourcityyoursay.portsmouth.gov.uk/castle-road-road-closure-consultation-2021/
In addition to the survey, council officers have been in discussion with Residents and Traders Associations to understand specific needs of the people living or running businesses on the street to see whether possible alterations can be made to plans before formal consultation for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) that will start in the next few weeks. If the TRO is approved, changes would be made to the road, like for example making the signage permanent, and then further funding would be sought to make additional improvements that would all be detailed in the full consultation (TRO).
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said “I am pleased that we can give the road closure on Castle Road the green light to enter the final stage of changing the road use permanently. We have listened to residents and business owners in Castle Road and surrounding areas, as well as visitors, who overwhelmingly want the changes to remain. We appreciate that not everyone likes the change, and we are working closely with the local community to understand any small tweaks that could be made to alleviate concerns.”
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 visit www.travel.portsmouth.gov.uk or to get in contact with the project team if you have a question by emailing email@example.com.