The north end of Commercial Road where improvements work will take place in early 2024

A plan to improve the high street at the north end of Commercial Road has been set out by Portsmouth City Council. New planting, seating areas, play activities for children and community artwork will breathe new life into the area between Craswell Street and Lake Road. 


The council was awarded funding from the government’s Future High Street Fund to make these improvements to the public realm on Commercial Road. This project forms part of wider regeneration plans for the whole city centre.


Following feedback from residents, retailers, market traders and community groups, it was agreed to focus on the north end of Commercial Road for this project. The council has looked at how it can be refreshed to declutter and clean up the area and opportunities to introduce new seating, more greenery and inclusive play equipment for children.


Councillor Steve Pitt, Leader of the council with responsibility for culture, leisure and economic development said: “We’ve had lots of feedback from businesses, residents and community groups on what they’re keen to see in the city centre and how we can make improvements that will help create a future-fit high street.


“This project to smarten up the north end of Commercial Road is an important piece of the puzzle and supports our wider ambitions to create a more vibrant, welcoming and greener city centre. The Future High Streets funding means we can create new, inclusive spaces for people to meet and rest, add more planting and greenery to the high street and introduce some fun designs and play equipment for children to enjoy.” 


The design for the area is being shaped by feedback gathered from conversations with community representatives, local businesses and workshops that the council ran on Commercial Road earlier this year with Aspex Gallery to draw out people’s ideas for the space.


Natural materials and shapes will be used to create sculptural seating that is a focal point for the area. New planting will introduce more greenery and plants for pollinators into the city centre. and Accessible play equipment and engaging floor graphics will be dotted down the street to encourage movement and play. Later this year the council will also be inviting local artists to collaborate on creating colourful designs and focal points along this stretch of the high street.


The Future High Streets project will also see some non-essential signs and street furniture removed and existing paving and seating repaired and cleaned. Over the coming months the designs will be finalised and work is due to begin early next year and be completed by the spring.


There are over 20 council-led and private projects underway to make improvements to the city centre, including the proposals for the regeneration the former Tricon and Sainsbury’s sites and the revitalisation of Victoria Park.


You can find out more about city centre regeneration and how you can share your ideas at

A sketch of what wooden sculptural seating and additional planting could look like on Commercial Road

A sketch of what wooden sculptural seating and additional planting could look like on Commercial Road.