Changes to the area which were co-designed with local residents, retailers and hospitality venues have been warmly welcomed.
The pedestrianisation of Carlton Place and improvements to Bedford Place are now complete. Extensive work has been taking place since earlier this year to make the area greener, more pedestrian-friendly and accessible for visitors and the local community and increase the opportunity for outdoor dining in the area.
Carlton Place now has a brighter, level surface making it safer for people walking and wheeling as well as improving the options for hospitality providers to offer outdoor dining. There is also now an open public space at the junction of Upper Bannister Street for pop up markets and entertainment.
A curved buildout at the junction with Bedford Place provides additional safety for pedestrians, slowing traffic to support the 20mph speed limit, in addition to the new zebra crossing between Henstead Road and Carlton Place.
There are also trees and vines to bring greenery to the area, and the smaller buildout in front of Beards and Boards and Retro Cafe on Bedford Place has been made into a permanent feature to allow for outside hospitality. A loading bay and additional disabled parking bay have also been added on Bedford Place.
The Carlton Place and Bedford Place project grew out of the popularity and success of closing Carlton Place to through traffic during the period of recovery after the COVID pandemic. The results have been welcomed by local residents, businesses and hospitality venues in the area, some of whom worked with Southampton City Council to co-design the changes.
Caroline French, Managing Director at W.J. French & Sons, said: “The area looks more attractive and is a larger, more usable space which will be great for outside eating, extending the Bedford Place Festival and hosting regular markets. I feel confident this will bring more people and trade to the area and is something for us to continue building on.”
Emma Moreira of Gaia Health Store said: “We are so happy with the new pedestrianised area in Carlton Place. It is a nice, clean expansive space to walk through, and the new trees and vines help soften the area. There has been little disruption to us as a business during the build and we can already see footfall has increased.”
Cllr Eamonn Keogh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport at Southampton City Council said: “I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the development of the Bedford Place and Carlton Place area as an attractive, safe place to spend time. By working together with local businesses and the community, discussing with them their aspirations for the area, we have built on its unique identity and created an attractive public space that will continue to be a key destination for hospitality and specialty shopping in Southampton.”
Stephen Manion, Executive Director, GO! Southampton – Business Improvement District Limited said: “GO! Southampton are pleased to see the city council’s major improvements to Bedford Place and Carlton Place, which have created a much more pleasant, pedestrianised environment for residents and visitors to enjoy the wide choice of independent retailers, restaurants, pubs, and clubs. We have worked with the council to ensure businesses continue to trade during the works and will be encouraging people to visit the area and relax over a meal or a drink, after exploring the shops. The city centre is becoming more diverse with new businesses offering exciting activities and safer through more car free areas during the day and evening.”