A PLAN to extend pay-and-display fees on 56 roads has been called a ‘money-making scheme’ targeting residents as it could make Portsmouth City Council £56,000 a year.
Former council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson is dismayed the Tory administration has insisted the move is not intended to fill a black hole in the budget.
...by putting up charges, all we are doing is targeting local residents and making them pay this money, as well as their friends and family who visit them.Former council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
It comes as details buried in a report being put before Tory traffic boss, Cllr Jim Fleming, tomorrow reveal the true amount the council could generate from increasing the length of time drivers have to pay-and-display in areas across Old Portsmouth, Southsea, Fratton and North End from 8am to 6pm to 8am to 9pm.
Addressing concerns and questions from residents about the plan, the council says in the dossier: ‘By changing the tariffs after 6pm it is anticipated it will support the night economy across the city in having the same rules for on and off-street as is current across the city for the daytime economy.
‘We’re estimating an overall increase in revenue of around £56,000, although this figure could have a high level of inaccuracy.
‘The off-street revenue account will see a fall in income, the on-street account see a rise.’
But the council insists the money would be ring-fenced for specific schemes, adding: ‘On-street surplus will accrue to the council’s parking reserve. The parking reserve account can only be used for travel and transport projects, it is not a part of the council’s overall budget.’
Lib Dem Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It’s a money-making scheme.
‘The reason the 6pm time was brought in before was that most people using it are local residents, not people who come to Portsmouth as tourists. Therefore, by putting up charges, all we are doing is targeting local residents and making them pay this money, as well as their friends and family who visit them.
‘It’s just going to force more cars elsewhere. There will be a lot more displacement in roads in Southsea, which isn’t a good idea.’
Changes could be made to parking spaces on roads in Elm Grove and Clarence Esplanade in Southsea and High Street, Old Portsmouth.
One Elm Grove resident fears there will be more of a fight for a number of free spaces available. ‘It’s going to make things worse. People will park and stay there.’