COMPANIES have pledged to do what they can to tackle road congestion in Portsmouth after pressure was put on them to stop commercial vans being parked on people’s streets at night.
Tory council leader Donna Jones wrote to firms a day before the local elections urging them to make employees leave their vehicles at their own depots – and if space wasn’t available then she said she would work to make land available to park.
Her request drew mixed reaction from political figures; who were suspicious as to why she had ‘wised up’ going into the council elections and they also didn’t think making employees park potentially miles away from their home was practical.
But a number of companies have responded to Cllr Jones’ letter – sent to firms including BT, Comserv, Liberty Gas, Mountjoy, Portsmouth Water, Southern Water, SSE and Virgin Media – saying they will seek to help.
A spokeswoman for Southern Water said: ‘We were one of the businesses contacted by Cllr Jones about this issue.
‘We are now in the process of contacting all our employees who live in Portsmouth and drive a company vehicle to advise them to park their vehicles off road wherever possible.’
And a Comserv spokesperson said: ‘Comserv is reviewing the implications of the request made by the leader of the council and will discuss the feasibility of parking commercial vehicles off residential streets with senior management at PCC at a strategic Core Group meeting of Property & Housing Services contractors later this month.’
Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s Ukip group says it is working up its own parking strategy in a bid to improve the problem in the city.
It comes after Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt called for the city council to create a van park for residents – though Labour say her demand is ‘unrealistic’ and that Cllr Jones’ request is a better solution.
Cllr Jones’ original letter said: ‘As I’m sure you are aware, the growing pressure on residential roads in the city is steadily getting worse.
‘I have been contacted by many residents across the city who have requested I look into the issue of parking.
‘As a city council we are committed to finding solutions that will ease the pressure on residential streets.
‘I am writing to request you look into the feasibility of parking your commercial vehicles covering the Portsmouth area, in your depots at night
‘This would create hundreds of parking spaces across the city, making parking for residents easier.
‘If you do not have adequate depot space please contact me and I will work with you to find public land, such as council owned car parks, to achieve the same
‘It is only with the support of large local vehicle dependent employers such as yours, we can make reduce Portsmouth’s parking and congestion issues.’