Hugo creating public directory locally

I upgraded my local Hugo installation to v0.123.3 yesterday. When I run it in server mode, it now creates the public directory which it didn’t do previously.

I created a new site thinking something was wrong with my current set up, and simply running hugo server had the same effect, it creates the public directory.

Is this a deliberate change?

Yes, deliberate.
Please check out the release notes and the latest posts here.

If you want the old behaviour you can run:

hugo server --renderToMemory

Ah cool. All good.