ASSURANCES have been made that the sale of a car park will not make parking problems worse.
Portsmouth City Council has agreed to sell the lease of a Fratton car park to a firm that wants to turn it into a car dealership.
It is part of a move by the authority to make extra income at a time when millions of pounds has to be saved from its budget.
The lease deal has been criticised by Lib Dem councillor Lee Hunt, who emailed residents saying their streets could be put under even more pressure by extra vehicles.
His concerns came as Tory Councillor Ken Ellcome decided to suspend parking restrictions in Southsea’s MB and MC zones, a move which came into force on Monday.
But the council has confirmed anyone who used the car park, on the corner of Nancy Road and Cornwall Road, can now use a larger one next to it using their permits.
Cllr Stubbs, Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic redevelopment, said in support of the deal: ‘The council’s budget will shrink by 30 per cent over the next three years.
‘If this authority is going to be able to carry on providing a reasonable level of service then it’s going to have to find new sources of income.’
The agreement to sell off the land was made by the former Lib Dem administration on April 8 this year – prompting criticism about the group’s change in stance.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Their attempts to try and portray this as some sort of Tory plot is an example of the cynical way they’re approaching opposition.’
Fratton’s Ukip councillor Julie Swan said: ‘If it’s not going to have any impact, then that’s fine, as long as there won’t be any further impact on the area.
‘The scaremongering about something which was originally a Lib Dem decision does seem a bit bizarre.’
Cllr Hunt said he was not aware the Lib Dems had made a decision and could not remember it going before the cabinet.
Michael Robinson, the council’s parking manager, said: ‘All permit holders for this site will now be able to park their vehicles in the adjacent larger car park which has ample capacity to accommodate them all.’