Portsmouth seafront road closures to remain until September

  • Published
Congestion in SouthseaImage source, J Strainer
Image caption,
Residents complained about congestion in surrounding streets after the main seafront roads were shut

Seafront roads in Portsmouth will remain closed for several more weeks despite criticism from residents.

Road closures and a temporary cycle lane were introduced to allow for increased cycling and walking during the coronavirus lockdown.

However, residents have complained about congestion in surrounding streets and pedestrians not social distancing.

Portsmouth City Council said its surveys showed more than half of the city's residents backed the closures.

The action was part of the council's response to the government's emergency request to reallocate road space for cycling and walking, and to easier facilitate social distancing.

Eastney Esplanade will reopen to vehicles on the evening of Sunday 13 September and the western seafront road closure will be lifted on 30 September.

However, the local authority said this could be reversed if the infection rate rose and changes were required at a local level.

Image source, Mark Trapani
Image caption,
Campaigners have called for the roads to be reopened

More than 1,000 people signed an online petition calling for the roads to be reopened.

Mark Trapani, of the Open the Seafront campaign, said he was "delighted" dates had been set for reopening but added it "should have happened many weeks ago".

"It's been horrible - it moved people into densely populated areas. The danger and the air and noise pollution has dramatically increased."

Resident Sharon Aldridge felt the closures made "no sense whatsoever".

"The closures have actually made the social distancing problem worse on the seafront as visitors are concentrating in the areas where they can park their cars," she said.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: "The data shows that 54% of people are in favour of the change along with an increase in usage, this clearly shows the changes should remain until September."

Image source, J Strainer
Image caption,
Roads on Southsea seafront were closed to allow for increased walking and cycling

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