Hampshire County Council makes U-turn on parking charges in Fareham after residents and traders protest
Concerns raised by residents and a local MP have caused Hampshire County Council to U-turn on pay and display parking on Fareham high street.
Conservative MP Suella Braverman challenged Hampshire County Council over short-term parking charges - in the interest of local businesses.
Currently, shoppers can park on the high street for 40 minutes at no charge, many shops in the town centre benefit from this as it allows customers to make quick visits.
Under their original plans, £1 would have been charged for a maximum stay of one hour - applied between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
In a letter sent to the council's director of economy, transport and environment Stuart Jarvis, the Fareham MP objected to the proposals.
‘As I am sure you are aware, our high streets need supporting more than ever right now,’ she said.
‘As the local economy continues to recover from the pandemic it is vital that we work to support local businesses. This proposal will do the opposite.
‘Many of the shops in Fareham’s town centre are small independent businesses.
‘Visiting the forementioned shops is often a brief one, the addition of a parking charge for such a trip will deter many customers.
‘Our beautiful town, which is in conservation area, will be tarnished by unsightly parking metres and lead to the additional issue of illegal parking.
‘I strongly suggest that you reconsider this proposal and I hope you act in the interest of our local businesses that many people rely on.’
Russel Oppenheimer, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for highways operations, agreed to the proposals in June.
He said: ‘We have listened to the views expressed by local people and will be looking to amend the original proposals for Fareham High Street to include an initial free period of parking.
‘This change will allow short duration stops, of up to 20 minutes, to be made without the need to pay for parking.’
Roy Gillingham, owner of the Fareham Wine cellar has previously spoken against the proposoals as he believed it would handicap his business.
In response to proposed amendments he said: 'I feel absolutely elated, common sense at last - that’s made my Christmas I can tell you.'