SHOPKEEPERS have welcomed the return of Gosport’s parking warden to tackle the problem of bad drivers in the town.
For the last two years there has been nobody dedicated to policing on-street parking in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent.
But traffic warden Liz Callis, who used to do the job two years ago, is back on the beat to keep the parking spaces opened up.
After being back on the job for three weeks, traders are already noticing a change in attitudes among drivers.
One of the main problems in areas like Stoke Road is people overstaying their time limits in the one-hour bays outside shops.
Jason Lewry is the owner of Town Bikes, in Stoke Road.
He said: ‘It seems a bit better now she has started than it has been over the last couple of years.
‘Once she gets out there and starts giving out some more tickets things will get better.
‘The parking situation is a problem for us because we get people wanting to park near the shop and they can’t because other people park there all day.’
Rick Barter, of the Lee Business Association, owns The Book Shop in Lee-on-the-Solent’s High Street.
He said: ‘Things seem to be a bit smoother.
‘Anything that keeps Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent flowing keeps the customers coming.
‘The local traders will support anything the council does to make the shopping experience better.’
Hampshire Constabulary axed the role of the traffic warden in Gosport in 2010.
The town is the only place in Hampshire where police are responsible for on-street parking.
But to tackle the problem of people parking where they shouldn’t, Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire County Council decided to pay the police £15,000 a year for the parking patrols to be reintroduced.
Tony Salter, of Moto Mart in Lee’s High Street, welcomed the move but said the councils had missed an opportunity by not taking on the parking duties.
Because the traffic warden is employed by Hampshire Constabulary, all money raised through fines is handed over to the government and not kept locally.
Gosport Borough Council says to take over enforcement it would have to employ its own officers and create traffic orders for each road, which could prove costly.
Mr Salter said: ‘She came into my shop to tell me she was back and even then I noticed a few people outside spot her and start scarpering for their cars.
‘But it doesn’t seem right the councils are spending £15,000 and not getting a return from it.’