Traffic boss in the clear over parking zone suspension

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A COUNCILLOR who suspended two parking zones without consulting the public has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Portsmouth City Council considered whether Cllr Ken Ellcome had breached its code of conduct.

It came after 19 complaints by residents who were angered by his decision to remove Southsea’s MB and MC zones down to Albert Road.

But a panel of councillors has decided the Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport acted responsibly.

It was also found that the complaints were largely about the merit of the decision and were submitted before Cllr Ellcome had even made up his mind.

Tory councillor Simon Bosher, who chaired the meeting that oversaw the complaints, said: ‘There are no sanctions because just about every one of the complaints were submitted before the decision meeting.

‘You can’t make a complaint about something when that decision has not been made.’

As reported, both zones were suspended last month after Cllr Ellcome saw the impact they were having on roads without restrictions.

It was found residents who did not qualify for parking permits were leaving their cars in other areas.

Another four complaints were made that Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, had an influence over Cllr Ellcome’s decision.

But that was thrown out as he has his own decision-making powers.

Cllr Ellcome said: ‘I know that what I did was for the right reasons and I took advice before taking this decision.’

He has been told though to respond to emails from those originally concerned about his intentions.

Meanwhile, residents say parking signs were removed before the schemes were legally dropped on September 19 and caused parking problems earlier than anticipated.

There was a delay in introducing the order, originally due to begin on September 1, because of a meeting challenging the decision on August 29.

Michael Lawther, city solicitor, has said that if signs had not been removed until September 19 there would have been confusion over parking rules.

Matt Smart, 35, criticised the council for taking signs down early.

‘As soon as the council sent those letters, the roads filled up with vans and commuters’ cars,’ he said.