The trial of the controversial Portswood Broadway scheme will go ahead.

This is despite criticism that the public consultation did not offer residents the chance to disagree with plans.

The Southampton City Council cabinet's decision to go ahead with the proposal was backed by the apparently “overwhelming” support shown in the second public consultation.

READ MORE: Southampton Portswood Broadway plan set to be called in over concerns

Daily Echo: Portswood Broadway project artist impression. Southampton City CouncilThe scheme will see a part-time bus gate in operation from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm to allow better services during peak commuter hours.

It means that bus, taxis and bikes will only be allowed down the road during those times.

But the council's overview and scrutiny committee called in the decision to examine it - and potentially recommend the council to rethink the vote.

During the committee's discussion, the talk focused on the 'flooded' second consultation between August and October 2023.

Daily Echo: Portswood Broadway protest.Councillor Eamonn Keogh, cabinet member for environment and transport, said the second consultation “demonstrated” residents’ support for the Broadway scheme. 

However, Conservative Councillor Steven Galton said the cabinet had 'ignored' the Say No petition that showed “people didn’t want the scheme at all”.

The petition gathered nearly 3,000 signatures and made it to the full council, and protests were held in the district centre.

Cllr Galton said: “When you look at the question on the second consultation, not a single one of them gives people the option to say ‘leave how it is’.” 

Cabinet member Cllr Keogh said: “This is not a binary decision. This is not a referendum. We are looking for support for the scheme, and I do believe that in this consultation, there is support for the scheme going forward as it’s been outlined in the cabinet report on a trial basis”.

Forty-four per cent of 1,282 respondents to the most recent consultation said that the proposals should be trialled first, and 34 per cent selected ‘proceed straight to implementing the proposals’.

City council officers also confirmed at the meeting that no options were offered to the public to indicate opposition to the project.

Cllr Jeremy Moulton, deputy leader of the opposition, highlighted that council publications indicated a “majority” support rather than support, which, in his opinion, was “completely untrue”. 

“In no way does your consultation tell you that [overwhelming support]; you don’t know that because you deliberately avoid asking the question. People found it utterly disingenuous,” he furiously stated.

After the debate, the committee voted to not ask cabinet to review its decision, and to implement the Broadway trial without delay.

Cabinet papers indicated that the trial at Portswood Broadway would start in winter 2024/25.