During October and November 2022, Southampton City Council conducted the first phase of consultations on proposed improvements to Portswood District Centre, as part of the Transforming Cities Fund for the Portswood Corridor Scheme. In advance of the full report being published in late February, here are some initial findings of the first phase of the consultation.
Over 1500 people completed the questionnaire. The consultation showed support amongst residents and businesses; however, respondents also raised concerns and would like additional assessments of the proposed changes over the impact this scheme will have on the area.
The council have noted the concerns that the public have with the Portswood Corridor scheme and will work to gather additional information this Spring, such as updated traffic counts. The main issues were that the introduction of the bus gate, which would see through traffic redirected onto Thomas Lewis Way and concern this would increase journey times for car drivers, harm the local economy and cause overspill of traffic onto local roads.
The updated information will be presented as part of the second phase of the consultation to be held in Summer 2023. The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee (OSMC) will also be reviewing the consultation process for the scheme at its meeting on 2 February 2023, and recommendations made from the Committee meeting will be fed into the future consultation process.
The consultation identified that the majority of respondents feel the proposed measures for Portswood Broadway will make the Portswood District Centre more attractive (60% definitely agree or agree), as well as improving walking and cycling in the area (61% definitely agree or agree) and to make crossing the road safer (66% definitely agree or agree). Respondents’ comments demonstrated support for additional greening and safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Portswood Broadway. It also showed a concern about the effects of diverting traffic away from Portswood Broadway, antisocial behaviour and potential harm to the local economy if part of it is closed to general traffic.
In order to address these concerns, the OSMC report recommends the council commission an independent Economic Impact Assessment be carried out in conjunction with local retailers on the impact of the scheme on the Broadway. Council officers are in discussions with the local constabulary with a view to introduce additional CCTV in the area to address the existing antisocial behaviour issues. The improvements to Thomas Lewis Way will continue with the aim to enhance the strategic function of the Corridor to facilitate through traffic and so reduce the demand and need for through traffic using Portswood Broadway and gather further traffic data in Spring 2023 to look in greater detail at the traffic impacts to local streets as raised by residents and businesses in the consultation.
Highfield Active Travel Zone
Proposals to create an Active Travel Zone (ATZ) in Highfield, with the aim of improving air quality, slowing traffic speeds, increasing road safety and deterring any displaced traffic from using residential streets were favoured. There are concerns amongst some respondents about potential additional journey times through the ATZ and access for those that drive. Further traffic data will be collected in this Spring to understand movements within the area.
Lodge Road Junction
Proposed improvements to the Lodge Road junction received support from over half of respondents, with three quarters agreeing that the planned measures will make crossing the road safer. Again, some concerns were shared about the potential for increased congestion should the left slip road be removed. In order to address the concerns raised, the council will gather additional traffic data and assess the junction in more detail as well as review its design.
Portswood Travel Hub
Over half of respondents agreed that the proposed travel hub, on St Denys Road (by Trago Lounge) will enhance the public space, support zero emissions deliveries and promote a range of sustainable transport options. Comments on this subject showed support for a travel hub to create a greener, more attractive area, provide sustainable travel options and improve cycle safety and security. Some people were concerned about e-scooters and whether the travel hub would cater for everyone.
Councillor Eamon Keogh, Cabinet Member for Transport and District Regeneration said: “I have been encouraged with the high level of feedback from the consultation and thank everyone for their valuable feedback. We can see from the analysis of the feedback, that while there is clearly significant support for the scheme, there is still a need to address the concerns of residents and business owners. I am therefore asking Council Officers to gather additional traffic data and impact assessments before any decision is made on this scheme, so that any decision is based on robust evidence. This will include an independent economic impact assessment, which I encourage local businesses to get involved in. We will also provide further information to residents and local business owners on the likely effects of these proposals, which will be shared and consulted on in Summer 2023. I look forward to the upcoming Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee meeting and hearing any recommendations that the Committee make to improve the ongoing consultation process.”
Phase 1 of the consultation has shown that the community require additional information to fully understand the impacts of the scheme and respond the queries raised. The report recommends additional information will be supplied as part of phase 2 of the consultation and will consist of:
• Additional traffic count data to be obtained in Spring 2023;
• Journey time and traffic flow monitoring on A335 Thomas Lewis Way over a period of 3 months, to assess the recent improvements made on the corridor;
• An independent Economic Impact Assessment to be carried out, in conjunction with local retailers, on the impacts of the proposed scheme (to be carried out in Spring 2023)
• A revised traffic assessment to quantify the impacts on local roads after new traffic count data is obtained
• Council officers in discussions with the Police will introduce additional CCTV in the area to address the existing antisocial behaviour issues; and
• An emergency incident plan to be created for A335 Thomas Lewis Way to assess the impact of instances such as localised flooding or a crash that restricts access along the corridor
• Further targeted consultation in phase 2 including face to face working groups with residents, businesses and the University
After this additional data is collected and assessed, it is proposed to undertake a Phase 2 consultation targeting specific areas of the scheme with the new information in Summer 2023.
See more here: https://transport.southampton.gov.uk/portswood