Cllr George Fielding and Cllr Charlotte Gerada, Labour Councillors for Central Southsea, along with Cllr Graham Heaney, the Labour Spokesperson for Traffic and Transport, have been consulting residents, businesses and organisations about introducing parklets to Albert Road and Highland Road.
Parklets are where a local community reclaims small spaces on streets to build a multi-functional space. They can green streets, provide community space and support local businesses through providing outdoor seating space outside premises.
Parklets are gaining in popularity in London, where they are used to add greenery, beauty and community focus where residents and businesses are keen for it. Support for them and their design comes from community-level consultation and engagement.
So far, businesses along the stretch of Albert Road from Southsea Cycles to Hunter Gatherer have been engaged with and are very keen for parklets to be introduced. Further along the road, Merchant House would also be interested in one, along with St Margaret’s Community Church.
Cllr George Fielding, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“Parklets are a fantastic provision to green built up urban areas, enhance cycling provision and provide vital outside seating space for communities and local businesses. Parklets have been a big success in London and nearby councils are adopting them too – such as in Eastleigh and Gosport.
“Albert Road and Highland Road are prime locations for parklets as there is already space on the pavement that could be repurposed, to work better for businesses and residents alike. Outdoor space and green space in Portsmouth is in short supply. By introducing parklets, we can make Albert Road even more of a visitor destination.”
Cllr Charlotte Gerada, a Labour councillor and Labour’s Spokesperson for Climate Change and Green Recovery, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of outdoor space to allow people to congregate safely. We’ve seen residents’ behaviour change as a response to the pandemic and lockdowns, where more of us are appreciating nature, using forms of active travel and better appreciating outside space.
“Now is the time to capitalise on this behaviour change, having more multi-purpose outside spaces and provision to bring our communities together. Parklets would be a brilliant addition to our city, to add pockets of green in built up areas, add bike lock-ups near key amenities and provide outside dining space for our local businesses during this challenging economic time.”
Cllr Graham Heaney, Labour Councillor for St Jude Ward and Labour’s Spokesperson for Traffic and Transport, said:
“We’ve been out talking to residents and businesses about the idea of parklets and there is widespread support. Parklets are working elsewhere to be the catalyst for behaviour change around how people travel to their local shops and they’re bringing much-needed community spaces to streets.
“The approach with parklets is that they are designed by the local community – residents, organisations and businesses – so they serve the needs of any given area. Often there is pavement or existing space that can be repurposed so the impact on parking provision is minimal.”