BUSINESSES have come to the defence of the man who has decided to lift some parking restrictions in Southsea.
Tory councillor Ken Ellcome has been criticised for suspending the MB and MC parking schemes close to Albert Road.
The move is set to come into force from September 1, but a scrutiny panel will meet on Friday to determine whether Cllr Ellcome should rethink his decision.
Residents are furious that they were not consulted over the decision and a meeting will be held in September over the traffic and transport official’s conduct.
But traders say Cllr Ellcome does not have a hidden agenda and a solution needs to be made that benefits both them and residents.
Barry Kewell, landlord of the Northcote Hotel and chairman of Albert Road Pub Watch, reiterated that the part-time MC scheme, which only allows people with permits to park between 5pm and 7pm, was not working.
‘Cllr Ellcome is the one that has made this decision, but I think he has done it with the best intentions,’ he said.
‘Everyone is treating this as if he doesn’t want a parking scheme in that area, but he recognises it needs to be fine-tuned.
‘The parking system starts at 5pm, but most shops don’t close until 5pm.
So that makes it impossible for people who work in the shops to get back to their cars before 5pm.
‘We all need to sit around the table and get talking and find something that suits everybody.’
But Cliff Charter, landlord of the Golden Eagle, in Delamere Road, said businesses were not consulted about the MC zone.
‘No-one asked us what impact it would have, the council just assumed it wouldn’t have any,’ he said.
Retired civil servant Bill Bailey has been brought in by the council as an independent member who will sit on the committee that oversees the complaints about Cllr Ellcome.
He said: ‘I don’t get a vote, but I get to sit and listen and inject comment.
‘I’m interested in process and democracy.
‘There is a large group of people who believe something has gone wrong and they want to take the council to task, and there are procedures in doing that.’
A petition calling for Cllr Ellcome to save the parking zones has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.