HUGE increases in the cost of parking permits have been brought in a bid to persuade drivers to ditch their vehicles.
Residents and businesses in Portsmouth will now have to fork out £510 – more than quadruple the £120 original price for households – for a third parking permit.
It costs £30 for the first permit and £60 for a second, making a total yearly cost of £600 for three-car households in permit areas.
The increase has been brought in to persuade firms and residents to use alternative transport to get around.
Councillor Jim Fleming, cabinet member for transport at Portsmouth City Council, approved the plan at a meeting in the Guildhall yesterday.
Currently there are only 139 third vehicle permits sold to residents and 85 to businesses in 32 parking zones covering 19 per cent of city roads.
The same meeting heard that council workers are carrying out a major review of parking zones, potentially creating more schemes across the city.
Yesterday, The News reported that a task force of city councillors would look at the whole issue of parking.
Cllr Fleming said: ‘This is most certainly not about raising revenue for the council. This is about trying to influence people’s behaviour and actually sending a very strong signal because in areas that have pressures on parking already, multiple vehicle ownership is not desirable.’
He added: ‘Hopefully we will make some people consider whether they actually need that vehicle.’
Alan Cufley, director of transport, told the meeting businesses can apply for as many permits as they want while residents are allowed a third permit only if space allows for it. Firms had paid £360 for a third permit before the hike.
Cllr Fleming also approved plans for a new zone in Cosham including Albert Road, Pervin Road and Park Lane.
Speaking to The News, Alwin Oliver, vice chairman of the Portsmouth and District Private Landlords’ Association, branded the increase ‘absurd’.
He said: ‘The increase in the prices of parking permits is absurd, and even worse for businesses. It won’t put people off renting property in Portsmouth, it will just impact the ease of access in Portsmouth. The council seems to just be moving the problem around Portsmouth because people will start renting more property in areas with free parking, making it become overcrowded.’
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Ukip transport spokespeople did not oppose the increase, which starts on January 1.