COMMENT: We need to know where parking cash is going

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IT has always been an emotive subject, and it will almost always remain so. The price of car parking is a hot potato wherever you go, and Portsmouth is certainly no exception.

We are charged for car parking in city centres, while some residents also have to pay for the ‘privilege’ of parking outside their own house. And if they don’t want to pay, some might try and park outside’s someone else’s property for free instead.

With that in mind, who is surprised by today’s story that Portsmouth raked in £5.3m in 2017-18 through parking charges, fines and permits – a £200,000 increase on the previous financial year.

Most of that £5.3m was generated from parking charges and fines which the council admitted exceeded the cost of maintaining car parks and enforcing restrictions.

Only £71,000 came from residents’ parking permits, which start at £30 for one car.

There are two lines of thought here.

One is that motorists shouldn’t mind paying out as all monies received are ploughed back into traffic-related improvements, though it would be nice to be told of specific examples.

The other argument is that motorists are being unfairly penalised, which is the view of Portsmouth Tory boss Cllr Donna Jones.

‘It seems like the motorist is being unduly picked on,’ she said. ‘The council needs to be looking at ways to improve congestion and parking rather than hitting people in their pockets.’

Many reading this will no doubt agree with Cllr Jones, as the reality of life in Portsmouth for some is driving around for ages trying to find somewhere to park.

People shouldn’t mind paying if they feel they are getting a worthwhile product. Regards to parking in some areas of this city, that is certainly not the case.