MOTORISTS have criticised proposals to introduce higher parking charges in some parts of Portsmouth.
The city council is asking people to give their views on suggestions to almost double the cost of parking in prime locations.
It proposes increasing the charges for a number of spaces in areas such as The Hard and Clarence Esplanade to £1 for 20 minutes – up from 90p for 30 minutes and £1.60 for an hour.
Also affected will be bays in College Street, Marmion Road, Landport View, Lower Church Path, Station Street, Paradise Street and Slindon Street.
Officers believe the change would improve the turnover of cars parked near important amenities or vital transport hubs, but some drivers have raised objections.
Simon Carter, 34, of Clarence Parade, said: ‘I understand that something has to be done about parking, but this will just put more pressure on motorists who are already feeling squeezed.
‘This is the last thing we need in such tough financial times.’
Southsea Association committee member Vince Faithfull said: ‘As a motorist, I’m worried about the cost of parking, but I’m also worried from a business point of view – how is this going to affect tourism and people coming to Southsea to visit?’
But council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said such prime location charges had worked well at other places, such as Portsmouth & Southsea Railway Station.
‘The idea is so we can get more people through to use our essential facilities,’ he said.
‘It is also about the few places where people are swapping from one system of transport to another.’
He added that if the changes came into affect they would be clearly sign posted.
City parking manager Michael Robinson said he wanted to emphasise the plans were under consultation and had not been decided.
He said: ‘Where we have parking close to major amenities we want to provide more turnover for people to get to them – if you needed to get to the post office for example.
‘And there’s still going to be plenty of parking in these vicinities at the normal rate.
‘On The Hard this would only affect around 12 spaces out of 200.’
The full plans can be viewed in the information desk on the Civic Offices’ ground floor, in Guildhall Square.
The consultation ends on January 24.
To have your say write to Margaret O’Neill, Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, Portsmouth, PO1 2NE.
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference MON/AP/1148/3/11 TRO52.