Portsmouth political parties take sides over bid to improve parking

Politicians are trying to free up parking spaces in Portsmouth
Politicians are trying to free up parking spaces in Portsmouth
Parking problems at Gladstone  Street EMN-170708-170607009

LETTER OF THE DAY: Parking permits - daylight robbery?

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PRESSURE is being stepped up on companies to stop employees parking their vans in residential areas at night.

Portsmouth Tory council leader Donna Jones has written to firms urging them to get staff to park up in their depots and not on people’s streets.

It won’t solve the problem, because there are so many people who are self-employed, and there are a lot of people who get up in the morning and go straight to a job, as opposed to a central office.

Portsmouth Ukip councillor Julie Swan

And she has vowed to help them find land to make room for hundreds of extra parking spaces should they not have the room.

In the letter to various companies – including BT, Comserv, Liberty Gas, Mountjoy, Portsmouth Water, Southern Water, SSE and Virgin Media – Cllr Jones said: ‘It is only with the support of large, local, vehicle-dependent employers such as yours, we can reduce Portsmouth’s parking and congestion issues.’

But other political parties are not convinced that trying to make workers change their parking habits will work any time soon.

Central Southsea Lib Dem councillor Lee Hunt has questioned the timing of the letter.

He said: ‘How come she has only just wised up, just before the election?

‘We did have a commercial vehicle park in Nancy Road, which the Conservatives sold off – so you can’t say now you are facing up to this problem.

‘Anything that will help by writing to these companies is a good thing to do.

‘But people must try to understand that there are ever so many tradespeople in the city, like carpenters, self-employed electricians and plumbers, who you all need and who also use their work vehicle as their family one as well.’

Meanwhile Ukip says it is working on its own plan.

Ukip councillor Julie Swan said: ‘It won’t solve the problem, because there are so many people who are self-employed and there are a lot of people who get up in the morning and go straight to a job, as opposed to a central office. You can’t solve the problem overnight.’

It comes after Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said the council should look to create its own van park and lobby the government for funding to make it happen.

Labour group leader, Cllr John Ferrett, believes Ms Mordaunt is ‘unrealistic’.

Cllr Ferrett said: ‘The council leader is going the right way about it in terms of trying to persuade local businesses to promote alternatives to people parking on the street.

‘But the MP for Portsmouth North has built up completely unrealistic expectations.’

Central Southsea Green Party candidate, Ian McCulloch, said: ‘Most of these people are sole traders, they are people who run their own business, they don’t want to keep their van in somewhere like Tipner. It has to be outside their house.’