Row continues over residents’ parking zones in Portsmouth

Arguments are still raging at the counili over parking zones in Portsmouth
Arguments are still raging at the counili over parking zones in Portsmouth

IT could be back to the drawing board for consultations on parking zones in Portsmouth  after the opposition called in a decision claiming 'the Lib Dems have ignored all they've been told'.

At a special scrutiny panel on Friday (Nov 9) councillors will debate whether to revisit a decision made in July that approved a series of consultations on residents’ parking zones (RPZs).

This meant that several permitted areas in the city could eventually be altered, with new ones created, in a bid to ease parking issues for homeowners. Most recently the new zones, MB and MC, were reinstated as a result.

But Tory councillors were not convinced the decision of Cllr Ben Dowling had been based on accurate information.

Cllr Luke Stubbs said: 'Personally I think it is obvious the Lib Dems have ignored everything they have been told about the zones.

'They are determined to implement these parking zones no matter what. They are determined to ignore all the problems the knock-on effect the zones will have on parking in other areas.

'We had exactly the same with the scheme in 2014 when the MB scheme had 1,200 spaces and only 800 permits for it. I see no reason to think it will be any different. Some roads outside the station were left looking like the 1970s, before mass car ownership. The rest of Southsea was in chaos as a result.

'The residents parking programme is a continuous study on all areas of the city that either have, or that could have, RPZs which are only considered in the first place if residents ask for them. It is made up of public surveys for each zone that are followed by formal consultations.'

In the 2018 survey for MC zone 234 residents supported the scheme and 225 objected. Support for the MB zone was stronger with 153 in favour of the zone and 95 residents against.

But Cllr Ben Dowling who made the original decision believed it was founded in fact. 'The information was put together by officers and I have got every reason to believe the statistics put in front of me,' he said.

'I think it's really important that as a council we have a rolling conversation on whether or not residents want a parking zone. We are very clear that we are working with the residents to not only make sure that if they want one they get one, but if it is the right one for them.

'The principal on residents being able to have a say on parking zones and the timetable on when certain steps in the programme need to be carried out I think is really important.

He added: 'I am happy to listen to the call-in to hear what other councillors have to say on the matter and I am happy to look at the programme again.'