People power wins as parking proposal is refused

PEOPLE power has won. That was the message from councillors and residents after a decision was made to refuse extending parking charges later into the evening.

Friday, 25th November 2016, 5:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:40 am
Parking charges will not be extended into the evening in many Portsmouth streets

Business-owners and people living in Southsea were pleased with the decision which they said would have dissuaded people from visiting the seafront as well as affected residents.

At last night’s cabinet meeting for traffic and transportation at Portsmouth City Council, a recommendation was put forward by officers to see on-street parking charges in 56 streets run from 8am to 9pm instead of 8am to 6pm.

People coming into the city visiting Elm Grove, South Parade, Clarence Esplanade and Eastney Esplanade would have been affected. It was hoped the changes would support the city’s evening economy.

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But after receiving 72 objection letters and hearing nine speeches against the idea, cabinet member Councillor Jim Fleming refused the item.

Liberal Democrat supporter Richard Adair, who campaigns in the St Jude ward, said: ‘People power has won.

‘This proposal would have displaced more cars and seen residents competing with visitors for free parking.’

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said the proposal should not have got as far as it did.

‘I am really pleased that pressure from the public in opposition to this item got it refused,’ he said.

‘People power is so important and has truly won. This shows how crucial it is that people get involved and keep an eye on what the council is doing. But the proposal should not have got as far as the meeting, it should have been chucked out before then. It was a stupid idea.’

Businesses were also against the proposal. Jason Hayward, from British Military Fitness which holds classes on Southsea Common, said members having to pay for parking would deter them from coming along.

He added: ‘Paying £3 for parking three or four times a week as well as our membership fee would see people paying nearly £100 a month. They cannot afford that and we would have probably had to close. I am encouraged to hear that the proposal is not going ahead.’

Cllr Fleming said he could understand why the proposal was put forward but said consultations were important and the public should be listened to.

‘The council has done itself a disservice by giving the impression consultations are meaningless,’ he said.

‘People think what’s the point as a decision has already been made but when this proposal came before me by the officer, I did not know what my decision was going to be. It was very, very clear after the consultation that people would not have supported this.’