Everything you may have missed at Portsmouth City Council this week 

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THIS week has been a mixed bag at Portsmouth City Council with some decisions garnering cross-party support and others not so much.

One such decision that faced no opposition was approval of a scheme to plant more trees across the city in a bid to increase greenery and improve air quality.

Cllr Luke Stubbs says that the government has no right to tell takeaways to sell healthier meals

Cllr Luke Stubbs says that the government has no right to tell takeaways to sell healthier meals

The council’s head of planning, Cllr Ben Dowling, approved the proposals on Tuesday with support from Labour Cllr Judith Smyth. Speaking at the meeting he said: ‘Everyone in this room is committed to Portsmouth as a city and we have got a lot to do here.

‘This is something I am really keen that we move forward. We can talk further in the future about community involvement.

‘It is really positive that we have been able to move on with really quickly with this. The more we can do to improve the public realm is good.’

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The council is also helping to improve quality of life for people with dementia in the city.

As part of a £9.75m scheme Portsmouth City Council will consider knocking down Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge, which are currently home to 40 residents, rather than spending millions trying to bring them up to scratch.

If the plans go ahead work on the site of Edinburgh House in Cosham will begin in October 2019 with provision for 50 apartments and facilities such as a shop, restaurant and hair salon.

Head of social care at the council, Cllr Matthew Winnington, said: ‘We want to ensure that we are supporting people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. To do this we need to ensure that there is good quality extra care accommodation which meets the changing needs of an ageing population.'

Cllr Winnington will decide whether to go ahead with the plans at a health meeting on November 20.

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But political parties clashed on Friday at a call in meeting based on residents' parking zones.

Councillors ultimately voted to call in a decision made in July to move forward with consultations on the zones.

It was mainly based on the fact that both MB and MC zones had three new roads added to the plans without being surveyed with the rest of the areas.

Panel member Cllr Hugh Mason commented: 'For me in terms of the MB and MC zones and the increase of properties in MB by 18 per cent is a  very telling  point. And on the basis that it has actually changed the areas I do not think the survey itself can be considered to be adequate.

'I don't think it's safe to make decisions for everyone based on a survey of a smaller area.'

Cllr Ben Dowling will have to reconsider his original decision at a future date although this may not affect the future of the MB and MC zones in Southsea.

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Obesity in the city also proved to be a contentious issue this week.

More than 250 residents signed a petition against a Papa John's and coffee bar opening on the corner of Rodney Road in Milton.

Many of the complaints came from residents of the senior apartment block Sommerson Lodge, opposite the former home of Aerial Business Communications.

Jennifer and John Kaye, were among those from the lodge objecting. In a letter to the council they said: 'Portsmouth is 15th on the obesity register in the country and Miltoncross Academy is approximately half a mile along the road, increasing the chances for these children to eat even more unhealthy food.'

A decision on the plans will be made at a future planning committee meeting.

But Tory Cllr Luke Stubbs believed being overweight is an individual's choice. The Eastney and Craneswater representative slammed government plans to cut calories in takeaway meals by 20 per cent.

It is thought the scheme, that would see pies limited to 695 calories and pizzas to 928 calories, will be put in place by next spring.

But Cllr Luke Stubbs says the plans are not acceptable. He said: ‘My view is that all these attempts to micro-manage people’s lives are going too far.

‘I freely admit that I am overweight myself and that’s my fault, I’m not going to blame the government for that. And I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t eat. We should be allowed to have personal responsibility in this country.

‘Cutting down calories and portion sizes is just going to encourage people to have more portions, making the problem worse.'

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