A decision on the controversial Portswood Broadway scheme is set to be made in January.

The move comes just in time for Southampton City Council to retain £3m government funding for the project.

On January 16, the city council’s cabinet will either sign off and begin the project - or decide to scrap it once and for all - following a third consultation.

The plan is to close Portswood Broadway between Westridge Road and Highfield Lane to cars, creating a ‘greener’ and ‘more vibrant’ district centre.

READ MORE: Portswood Broadway: Second phase of plans revealed

It will use more than £3m of funding given to the council by the Department for Transport.

This cash would have to be given back by March if not used or reallocated.

The plans have been met with vocal opposition and support over the last few years, as pedestrianising the section of road will lead to an estimated 12,000 car journeys being diverted every day.

A ‘Say NO to Southampton City Council’s proposal to close part of Portswood Broadway to through traffic’ petition garnered 2,868 signatures – making it the only e-petition of the year (2022/2023) to make it to council.

The months that followed this March's council debate saw protests, deputations – and even a Portswood-based disability charity warning the closure’s diversion would turn their already-derelict road into a ‘rat race’.

Throughout the project’s history, several parties have expressed their views; the Greens said the scheme was ‘likely to fail’ and the Tories said they would ‘scrap it immediately’ if they were to regain control of the council.

A counter-petition called ‘Say YES to Portswood Road Improvement Plans’ achieved 279 signatures – and several members of the public have come out in support of the district centre plans.

In February, Councillor Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for transport, told the council’s overview and scrutiny management committee: “One of the reasons we were able to secure that funding was because of step change.

“Step change is the name given for what the Department for Transport (DfT) wants to see concerning transport and is heavily centred around improving ‘active travel’ – walking, cycling and taking the bus."