Published on Monday, 28th September 2020

Thankfully it’s done. Who knows what will happen next year or the year after though?

Tags: Seafront

Published Monday, 28th September 2020

Out of the blue the council has announced a plan to close the Pyramids pool. Instead it wants to turn it into an enlarged gym and a soft play area.

As the only fun pool in the city, the loss of the Pyramids would be a big blow to leisure in Portsmouth. The music venue will also be axed.

Money for the works will be taken by scrapping plans for a flexible office space on the upper floor of the old M&S building in Commercial Road, by withdrawing funding from plans to improve the Kings Theatre and by raiding the money put aside for the City Centre Road Scheme.

Residents are going to be denied the chance to have any meaningful say as the plans are rushed through and done before the next round of local elections. The administration intends to make all the decisions through the Cabinet.

Any plan of this scale will have been under consideration for months, but it’s all been kept under wraps until the last possible moment in the hope that the public won’t notice.

Tags: culture, Pyramids

Published on Friday, 15th May 2020

Today marked the first day of the temporary closure of parts of the seafront. The stretches between the D-Day car park and Clarence Parade and between St Helen’s Parade and St George’s Road are now closed to cars and other powered vehicles. The length of the closure is indeterminate; legally it could last for 18 months.

 

With traffic volumes reduced, commercial premises closed and leisure travel being discouraged, this is reasonable. It will also make social distancing easier and potentially it will be safer for cyclists.

 

However a permanent loss of parking would be a cause for concern, with the potential to displace huge numbers of cars on to residential streets and to make it very difficult for businesses to survive.

 

Two Labour councillors have written to the News on this, saying ‘Longer term, after this has been in effect for a year or so, the council can consult residents, local business and visitors to the city and ask whether they want this to continue’.

 

In an email, the councillor in charge of transport, Lynne Stagg, seems to agree, saying ‘The closure may not last 18 months or it may be made permanent depending on how successful it is.’

 

Both these imply that even if social distancing rules are removed, the parking will not be coming back and further that this restriction is not solely about COVID 19, but rather is about climate change and phasing out cars.

 

That’s all very well, but in reality few visitors are going to cycle to Portsmouth, even if all visitor parking is removed.

 

Tags: COVID

Published on Monday, 28th September 2020

The council wants to install segregated cycle lanes on both sides of Elm Grove. This would mean the loss of all parking in the road, although a small number of delivery bays would be retained and there would be a small taxi rank. The changes will be made under a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order, meaning another decision would be required before the changes can be made permanent.

The council’s cycling strategy includes a cycle lane along Albert Road and this could end up linking to that. Of course while these changes will benefit cyclists, they will make parking harder and are a threat to already struggling local businesses.

The council is running a consultation, which closes on Monday 7th October. Go to https://travel.portsmouth.gov.uk/schemes/elm-grove-and-kings-road-cycle-lane/ to take part.

Tags: transport

Published on Friday, 15th May 2020

 

Some good news from the city’s council care homes: there have been no new COVID 19 cases for more than two weeks.

 

Serious outbreaks in two of the three council-run homes had cost the lives of some thirty elderly people. Now though through a combination of testing people before admission and through raised hygiene standards things seem to be under control.

 

The official government figures have identified a total of 311 cases in Portsmouth. The rate per hundred thousand of population is about a third below the national average, with infection hot spots seemingly randomly scattered across the country.


Tags: COVID