Brexit contingency plans for Portsmouth compared to ‘Dad’s Army’
PLANS to prevent ‘chaos’ on Portsmouth roads in the event of a no-deal Brexit were likened to the comedy of Dad’s Army at yesterday’s full council.
Leader of the city council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, revealed preparations that would involve stopping lorries on junction 1 of the M275, by the Park and Ride, to check documentation.
If everything is in order the lorries will be able to carry on to Portsmouth International Port to go to France. But any lorries without the correct paperwork will be directed to Tipner West until it is sorted out.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We are having to prepare just in case there’s a no-deal Brexit. We don’t know what is going to happen. The most difficult problem is Portsmouth International Port. What would normally be an enormous strength for us could become a weakness.
‘This is not about whether Brexit is good or bad, it’s about working to make sure we do the best for the people of Portsmouth in this situation.’
But Independent Cllr John Ferrett believed the plans were too little, too late. ‘Clearly this impacts every councillor here in this chamber as well as everyone in the city,’ he said.
‘Whenever I think about this I think of Dad’s Army. This has Dad’s Army all over it. Brexit is six weeks away. We’re basically drawing maps and crossing our fingers hoping we can get away with it.
‘What if people aren’t able to get out of the city to do their jobs? What about people who can’t get out to go to hospital appointments?’
Tory Cllr Luke Stubbs agreed. He added: ‘When are you proposing to do this? We are potentially going to have a House of Commons vote three days before leaving. It’s going to get to the point where there’s not enough time.
‘When are you hoping to start on this, because planning permission is required.’
It is estimated Portsmouth’s Brexit contingency plans will cost £1.3m. Government has allocated the council £210,000 for this as well as a further £1.5m that will be split between authorities with ports. And the council has set aside £500,000 from reserves.