Portsmouth council faces parking zones U-turn

Arguments are still raging at the counili over parking zones in Portsmouth
Arguments are still raging at the counili over parking zones in Portsmouth
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THE most recent changes made to parking zone plans in Portsmouth could be reversed after councillors voted to call in a controversial decision made earlier this year.

At a special scrutiny panel on Friday (Nov 9) it was agreed that the decision made by Cllr Ben Dowling to launch consultations on residents' parking zones (RPZs) in the city had been made without adequate information.

Tory Cllr Simon Bosher presented the case against the consulations' approval that was made in July citing several reasons for concern. He believed the permission to launch straight into a traffic regulation order (TRO) on zones MB and MC in Southsea based on public survey results taken between 2014 and 2015 was not acceptable.

Speaking to the panel he said: 'It was based on the results of surveys conducted three years ago.

'They don't take into account population change in this time. In addition the boundaries were increased by three roads which is 18 per cent more than was originally surveyed.'

Ultimately the panel based their verdict on the fact both MB and MC had three new roads added to the plans without being surveyed.

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.'

There were also concerns that not enough people responded to the surveys to make them democratic. During the 2014 to 2015 survey a total of 32 people responded in the MB zone and 27 in MC.

Cllr Ian Lyon added: 'I can't believe we can have adequate information on a parking zone if you are not getting enough responses. We are in danger that every time there's a decision on a parking zone we are at at risk of a call in because of this.'

In response Cllr Ben Dowling defended his decision. 'It was based on completely adequate information,' he said.

'There was enough information to make the decision and the decision was to go out and ask people what they think. I have not had any officers brief me that they were unhappy with the report.

'I am struggling with the idea that you can't have enough information when going out to find more information.

'If people desperately want me to revisit the information I am happy to in the interest of democracy but I don't believe it is needed in this case.'

Six councillors voted in favour of the call in and two against.

Cllr Dowling will have to reconsider the consultations but this does not necessarily mean the decision to implement MB and MC will be changed.