Visitors to Southsea's seafront share their concerns after Portsmouth City council plans to introduce winter parking fees

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Visitors to the seafront near Southsea’s Canoe Lake have voiced their concerns about a proposed winter parking charge that could come to the area between November and February.

Portsmouth City Council’s budget for 2023 to 2024 features a proposed fee for cars parking in the Canoe Lake car park and along Eastney Esplanade - which had previously been free of charge during this period.

The cost was proposed in documents released on Monday, February 13 along with a 4.99 per cent increase in council tax – the maximum permitted amount - and a hike in existing parking charges. The measures come as part the council’s plan to fill a £24m ‘budget gap.’

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A 'winter parking charge' come come into force along Eastney Esplanade as part of the council's plan to fill its 'budget gap'A 'winter parking charge' come come into force along Eastney Esplanade as part of the council's plan to fill its 'budget gap'
A 'winter parking charge' come come into force along Eastney Esplanade as part of the council's plan to fill its 'budget gap'

Samantha Warrican from Hook, who regularly visits her daughter in the area, said: ‘I think it would stop people coming. All of these people are coming to the beach. For me, if I was having to pay then I wouldn’t do it. We’ve wanted to come to Victorious for the last few years but we haven’t come because of the chaos of that.’

Samantha’s partner Tom Killey added: ‘Locals could have it reduced at least. If they live in the area they should have some sort of badge that they could have which means they’re allowed to park there. You shouldn’t have to pay because its your town but if you’re like us and come from out of town then of course you should pay.’

Though the cost of the proposed charges has not yet been specified, the council predicts that they could raise £69,700 if introduced.

Neil Moss said: ‘We’ve come down from Petersfield and we only come here because of the flexible parking - or we would just go to Hayling Island. It's up to Southsea what they want to do but there’s no point in coming for a quick trip out if it's going to cost more than staying locally.’

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Sue Flynn, visiting from Alton, said she would come less often to Portsmouth if charges were introduced. Sue added: ‘I was really delighted when I came to park today that there weren’t any charges because normally I’m trying to guess how long I’m going to be, whether it's two hours or three hours.

‘You go for your walk and something to eat and then you start worrying about the clock and rush back so you spend less time here - and less money here as well. So it was really nice not to have parking charges today. We could go off, relax and not worry about it.’

Murak Anik, who runs the Old Pier Hut on Clarence Pier, added: ‘We have a big issue with parking in this area. People shouldn’t have to pay, especially after six. It should be free.’

The Revenue Capital Budget document stated: ‘The Budget setting process for the forthcoming year has been one of the most challenging experienced by the council. A year ago, it was envisaged that the council would not have been required to make any savings in the coming year.’