Council considers introducing winter parking charges

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WINTER parking charges could be introduced on a stretch of Portsmouth’s seafront.

Motorists currently pay to park on Eastney Esplanade from March to October.

But the council wants to bring in charges all year round because it doesn’t want to cover the cost of taking away meters for protection during the winter any more.

The move would bring the area in line with the rest of the seafront.

But Cllr Luke Stubbs has asked for the matter to be referred to a public meeting because he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

He said it’s not busy there during the winter and it will just result in more people staying away.

‘The pattern of displacement between the Esplanade and Eastern Parade is plain to see,’ he said.

‘While both roads are full on weekends during the height of the season, for much of the rest of the year cars are parked only on Eastern Parade where it is free.

‘Eastney Esplanade is lightly used during the winter months as it is.

‘Introducing charges will just mean it is deserted.

‘This will raise very little revenue and at the cost of additional wear and tear to the meters themselves, which have always been removed during the winter to protect them from the worst of the weather.’

There are also concerns that motorists would just park in residential roads which have free parking.

Valerie Gall, 74, who lives in Cockleshell Gardens, said: ‘We don’t get a lot of people parking down this road yet.

‘But it could lead to traffic problems in the end though, especially down Henderson Road.’

She added: ‘I don’t think anyone has thought much about it yet.

‘Once people know, they will be a bit worried.’

Martin Lavers, assistant head of service for transport and environment, said: ‘Currently the parking meters are taken away during winter to avoid any confusion, and there are costs associated with removing, storing and replacing them.

‘Even leaving them out and unused there would still be maintenance costs and as a council we have to be mindful of how best to manage this situation.’

As reported, a change in VAT rules means motorists now don’t get extra minutes if they overpay on their meter.