Consultation reveals Portsmouth residents back parking payment scheme

A residents' parking permit sign
A residents' parking permit sign
  • Majority of Portsmouth parking zone areas support paying for permit
  • But Lib Dem says low-income families will be hit hardest and criticises ‘flawed’ consultation
Have your say

THE majority of people living in Portsmouth parking zones want to pay to protect them.

The city council asked whether they would fork out £30 for their first vehicle permit in future entitling them to a space in their area or have it taken away.

If you can afford to run a car, then £30 a year is not a lot, but I am sure some people will take umbrage to that.

Portsmouth Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome

A resident’s first pass is currently free, but the council wants to save up to £380,000 and has decided it will scrap parking restrictions where the majority of residents don’t want the cost.

The authority consulted over the plans and the results show only four of the city’s 35 zones are in majority favour of not paying – Farmlea Road, Portsea North, Fratton and Bevis Road.

But Portsmouth Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said low-income families are being forced to give up their permits because they can’t afford to pay.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It’s being done on whether people can afford it or not, and for some families this is an added cost to something they are used to getting for free.

‘It was flawed from the beginning because people didn’t get the option of saying whether they wanted to keep things as they are.’

The council has recommended that Farmlea and Portsea North be taken out altogether – and Newbolt Road despite the survey response in that street being split in half.

Fratton, Bevis Road and Stamshaw South zones will be reduced in size to save the council cash and another 23 existing zones will be trimmed back on the back of people’s responses.

Only four zones will remain unchanged but also have the £30 a year charge imposed on them – The Heights, Portsmouth Road, Old Commercial Road and Coniston Avenue.

It comes as Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome, who approved the charging scheme, suspended Southsea’s MB and MC zones due to the affect they were having on surrounding streets.

It is not known whether they will eventually return.

Cllr Ellcome said there will be another opportunity for people to have their say.

Responding to critics, he said: ‘If you can afford to run a car, then £30 a year is not a lot, but I am sure some people will take umbrage to that. It’s part of the everyday running cost.’

A meeting over the plans to be chaired by Cllr Ellcome will be held on Wednesday at Portsmouth Guildhall. It starts at 4pm.