Council plans to make motorists pay to use residents’ parking zones in Portsmouth

Parking is controlled in many Portsmouth streets
Parking is controlled in many Portsmouth streets

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PAY up or lose your resident parking permit – that’s the ultimatum being issued to drivers so Portsmouth City Council can claw back more than £1m in its budget.

Motorists living in one of the authority’s parking zones currently get their first permit free.

But the Tory administration has declared in its proposed budget published today it wants to charge residents so £400,000 a year over the next three years can be saved to help balance the books.

The fee being considered for a permit is up to £45 a year, with costs being higher for any additional ones.

It comes on the back of a public consultation over the budget which revealed 46 per cent of respondents wanted a charging scheme introduced.

Residents say they are outraged over the parking charge and believe it is ‘morally wrong’ and unfair given the amount of council tax they already pay.

They also believe it would be ridiculous given a chunk of the city doesn’t come under parking restrictions.

Robin Smith, 62, of Havelock Road, Southsea, who until September came under the MC parking zone, before it was suspended by the council, said: ‘Morally it’s wrong because we already pay for a vehicle to be on the road.

‘While no-one has the right to park outside their house, it still doesn’t guarantee you a parking space if you pay.

‘Some people can’t afford to pay up to £45 to park. Why should some parts of the city be asked to pay and not others because they don’t live in a residents’ parking zone?

‘The solution is no parking zones or make the whole city a parking zone. It will end up creating greater parking displacement problems.’

Andre Guedeney, 34, of North End, who lives within a parking zone, said: ‘It’s an absolute disgrace considering the amount of council tax we pay. It’s just a money-making project for the city council.’

Cllr Ken Ellcome, cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: ‘If we want to carry on giving residents the opportunity to have residents’ parking, then the only way to do that is to charge.

‘We can’t have the residents of this city subsidise those areas which have residents’ parking.’

The move is a number of controversial ways the council intends to make up for a £37m shortfall in government funds, with £13.1m of public spending being cut next year. Free public swimming sessions at council pools for residents over 60 and between 13 to 16 could be axed, while charges would not apply for under-12s.

The move would save £35,000 annually.

Former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Elaine Baker, 82, said: ‘It’s not fair on the elderly because a lot of them may not be able to afford it.

‘ It might be their one pleasure and swimming keeps them healthy.’

Up to 90 council workers could lose their jobs and 20 per cent of the senior management team would go.

The biggest cuts are earmarked for health and social care, with £5.4m being slashed.

It’s hoped £750,000 can be generated by more people arranging their own care.

The budget will be approved by the full council in December.

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