Anger as parking charges are introduced at Wicor Recreation Ground in Portchester despite opposition

Fareham Borough Council ‘values money over a contended community’ by introducing parking charges at Wicor Recreation Ground, a former borough councillor has said.
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Council bosses met yesterday (April 3) and approved the reclassification of the Wicor Recreation ground as a coastal car park – which would impose charges recently increased by the council.

It was noted at the start of the meeting that a petition to ‘scrap’ the proposal containing 1,796 signatures would be taken into consideration.

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The recreation ground is home to AFC Portchester which is currently top of the Wessex League Premier Division – supporters and club representatives have objected to the plans.

Wicor Recreation Ground car park in Portchester. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121180-843)Wicor Recreation Ground car park in Portchester. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121180-843)
Wicor Recreation Ground car park in Portchester. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121180-843)

Speaking to the executive committee, Trever Deacon, AFC Portchester’s finance director expressed ‘disappointment’ at the proposal.

‘The club’s activities boost health and wellbeing, as well as being a key support to people’s mental health, of thousands of people every week through playing and watching football,’ he said.

‘We do not believe this should be categorised as a coastal car park – its almost sole use is for recreation purposes, its original intention for dog walking, playing football, watching football, using the skatepark and other activities.’

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Former Fareham Borough Councillor and current Hampshire County Councillor Roger Price added: ‘This is an ill-conceived idea which will cause parking problems in the surrounding roads and greatly upset many residents for a small gain in financial terms to Fareham Borough Council.

‘The anger of residents has been demonstrated by the large number of people who have signed the petition.

‘It appears that Fareham Borough Council could not care about its residents in this situation but it values money over a contended community because bad car parking will be caused by these ill-thought-out changes.’

In total there were six objecting deputations both written and in person in addition to councillors Harry Davis, Katrina Trott, Paul Nother and Chrissie Bainbridge who spoke out against the scheme.

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Executive members stated the proposal responds to financial pressures the council is facing, including a projected deficit of £6m over the next five years.

Cllr Joanne Burton, executive member for health and public protection said: ‘I’d just like to remind people that parking charges are not for profit, it is to make and maintain the services the council is providing.

‘Season tickets have proven to work very well – for less than two pounds a week you only need to use that car park for two hours or less a week to be financially better off.’

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of approval.