Approval for car dealership sparks fears over parking

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TRAFFIC campaigners have reacted angrily to a decision to allow part of a car park to be taken over by a car dealership.

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee has allowed a car park it owns in Nancy Road, Fratton, to be used for car sales following an application from businessman Nasi Ali.

The council will receive more than £10,000 a year in rent as a result of the decision.

A group of Liberal Democrats had launched a campaign in a bid to block the application.

They feared it would mean vehicles from the nearby Victory Business Centre would be forced to onto nearby streets, clogging up an already congested area.

The application was passed by six votes to one, with only Lib Dem councillor Darren Sanders voting against it.

Cllr Sanders said: ‘I thought it was the wrong use of the site and it would hamper the amenities of local residents.

‘The council has chosen to maximise profits over what would be the best use for the site.’

Lib Dem group leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It just seems to be another step in making parking more difficult for local residents.

‘Everyone knows secondhand car dealers always park their cars on nearby streets.’

But a report by the council’s assets team said the car park is underused and maintaining it is no longer viable.

The report said existing parking permit holders had already been transferred to an adjoining car park in Nancy Road.

Tory cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, Cllr Luke Stubbs, said the decision would bring in much-needed income for the city council.

Cllr Stubbs said the council needs to cut costs wherever it can, due to the authority’s £211m annual budget being cut by £37m in the next three years.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘I know the Lib Dems campaigned against this, but it was good to see two of their three committee members see sense and back it when it counted.

‘It’s not that I particularly want a car sales business there, but with over £10,000 a year in rent at stake, the council as a whole needed it to go through. With £37m to save, this income will pay for half a job that would otherwise have to be lost.’