A vibrant street in the city centre is to remain closed to vehicles following positive feedback from local residents and business owners, as well as visitors.
Portsmouth City Council fully closed Guildhall Walk as pandemic restrictions increased, last year, under temporary powers granted by central government. Prior to the pandemic the road was closed to traffic after 7pm each day. The aim of the temporary changes was to create space for walking, cycling and social distancing.
This has also benefited businesses in Guildhall Walk as they recover from lockdowns by giving them space to provide a vibrant and pleasant environment for their customers to enjoy drinks and meals out with friends. As students start to return to the city they are also benefiting from the safer cycling and walking route from the city centre that includes many halls of residents and the University buildings.
The council recently engaged with local residents and business owners along Guildhall Walk, as well as those who travel through and visit, to understand whether there is a desire to permanently restrict traffic in the location. The feedback clearly shows that the local community and visitors would like to see the road remain closed.
Over 425 people took part in the survey, with a majority of respondents wanting to see the temporary road closure on Guildhall Walk made permanent (83%). Looking at these results in more detail: 88% of local residents, 71% of local businesses and 88% of residents wanted to see the arrangements made permanent.
Further feedback was received from people saying that the closure had improved the area and that it would be good to see new facilities in this area including an event area, better signage and public toilets.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said
“I am pleased to see that the road closure in Guildhall Walk has not just helped create a safe route for many during the pandemic and more space for businesses to operate but also that people want it to stay. This means we can progress to carrying out a statutory consultation and seek further funding to enable this location to retain its safer, more pleasant atmosphere.”
Statutory consultation on formal proposals to continue to restrict traffic in Guildhall Walk will take place shortly, via a traffic regulation order. If this is approved, some initial changes, such as replacing the traffic signs, will be made this year and then further changes would be planned over the next couple of years.
You can see full results of the consultation here: https://yourcityyoursay.portsmouth.gov.uk/guildhall-walk-road-closure-consultation-2021/