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Residents vow renewed fight to save Portsmouth parking zones

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DETERMINED residents say the battle to protect their parking zones isn’t over despite failing to stop them being suspended.

Portsmouth City Council’s scrutiny management panel has agreed a halt will still be put to Southsea’s MB and MC schemes from September 1 as the original decision taken by Tory Councillor Ken Ellcome last month was based on accurate information.

It means anyone from that date will be able to park within the zones, which take in roads down to Albert Road, at any time and not face a fine.

But angry residents now want to rally the support of councillors at a future full council meeting, where a petition signed more than 1,100 times will be presented.

The decision could also be challenged in court, though it was warned whoever lodged the judicial review and lost would have to pay out thousands in damages.

Adrian Reed, of Jessie Road, said: ‘The battle is definitely not over.

‘There is still the full council meeting and that will give us an opportunity to present the facts to the administration in the hope they will take notice.’

Residents stressed there was no evidence to prove Cllr Ellcome’s claims that around 300 parking spaces were being left empty in the MB zone, as a result of residents who don’t qualify for a permit, and so they need using to free up pressure in other areas. Council officers admitted there was no definitive number.

Cllr Ellcome was criticised as Freedom of Information figures showed he did not hold a single meeting or send e-mails to officers asking for parking data in 
advance.

He argued he had considerable experience of both zones and the so called ‘displacement parking’ effect being created by motorists who didn’t qualify for permits leaving their cars 
elsewhere.

‘Being the previous opposition spokesperson for traffic, I had the reports that my predecessor had sight of concerning the issues,’ he said.

‘If I came to this with no experience it would be a different matter.

‘But I know the subject inside out and I was satisfied I had all the information I needed when reaching my decision. I have driven around MB and MC on a number of evenings and found that 30 per cent of the roads are empty.’

Council traffic boss Simon Moon admitted the MC scheme was brought in earlier this year without a proper parking strategy being in place.

But Lib Dem Cllr Lee Hunt, who has campaigned for residents, criticised the report that proposed changes to the zones.

‘It was a thin and a poor report,’ he said.

‘MC has proven to be a scheme that makes money for the council. We are in an astonishing situation where we want to get rid of a scheme that works.’

The long-term plan for the zones will be decided during the 18-month suspension and a consultation will be carried out into what should 
happen.

 

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