Discussions have started over the delivery of a controversial trial scheme which will restrict traffic access along part of a busy high street.

The Portswood Broadway 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.

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

Daily Echo: The Portswood Broadway scheme will see only certain vehicles allowed to travel on Portswood Road at certain timesThe Portswood Broadway scheme will see only certain vehicles allowed to travel on Portswood Road at certain times (Image: LDRS)

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.

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."

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.

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