Talks continue over part-time Portswood bus gate plans

By Jason Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

portswood crossroads cyclist bus cars pedestrians 600px 25 9 23 P1040677Discussions have started over the delivery of a controversial trial scheme which will restrict traffic access along part of Portswood Broadway.



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The project is set to move forward in early 2025 with the introduction of a part-time bus gate.

During the six-month trial, buses, taxis and bikes will be the only vehicles allowed to travel along the section of Portswood Road between Westridge Road and St Denys Road spur during the hours of 7am and 10am, and 4pm and 7pm Monday to Saturday.

Alongside the bus gate, measures to limit the impact on adjacent streets will be tested.

Southampton City Council has created a steering group to work with residents and businesses on the details of the trial.

Bringing together residents associations, business representatives, lobby groups and the police, the steering group met for the first time on May 16.

The group, which is invitation only, agreed the terms of reference and work programme, as well as the areas to be covered by the active travel zone co-design process.

Initial reactions were given to draft sketches showing how the bus gate might operate. A sub-group will be created to work with officers on possible measures of success.

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Portswood and Highfield residents will be invited to attend a series of co-design workshops in June, where they can have their say on potential measures and locations for any active travel zone improvements.

Active travel zones are neighbourhoods that encourage active travel through a range of measures that prioritise walking and cycling, while at the same time maintaining motor vehicle access for residents in that area.

Cllr Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We recognise the benefits that this scheme has for residents, businesses and shops, which is why we are taking a balanced approach, where our transport officers will collaborate with the Portswood and Highfield communities to shape the final designs.

“In the most recent Portswood consultation, over 60 per cent of respondents said that it would make Portswood a more attractive area.

“This scheme supports recommendations from our Southampton Citizens’ Climate Assembly, where members highlighted that they want a future where people in Southampton use public transport and active travel, such as walking and cycling, as their main way to travel in and around our city.

“All the improvements will be created in partnership with local residents and businesses, and I would urge residents to take part in the upcoming co-design workshops.”

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The Portswood Broadway scheme has been contentious since talk of it first surfaced several years ago.

The council’s scrutiny committee called in the decision to go ahead with the trial earlier this year to examine it in more detail.

Discussions at the scrutiny meeting in February centred on the second consultation the local authority carried out in autumn last year.

Opposition councillors said residents were not given an option to say they wanted the road left as it currently is.

Officers confirmed that no options were provided to the public to indicate opposition to the project.

A petition objecting to the scheme obtained nearly 3,000 signatures, with protests held in Portswood.

Forty-four per cent of 1,282 respondents to the most recent consultation said the proposals should be trialled first, while 34 per cent selected ‘proceed straight to implementing the proposals’.

The steering group’s next meeting is due to be held in July.

The council has said access for loading lorries will be retained through the bus gate south to north, with a loading bay proposed for St Denys Road spur road.

ldrs logo 200px This article is from the Local Democracy Reporting Service or Shared Data Unit. Some alterations and additions may have been made by our site, which is a partner in the BBC's Local News Partnerships scheme. LDRS journalists are funded by the BBC to cover local authorities and other public service organisations, and content is shared with all partners.

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