What do Portsmouth residents want the council to prioritise?

IN recent years the political balance of Portsmouth City Council has never been so delicate.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 6:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 6:43 pm
Bunny Redding from Southsea and Destiny Bevan from Buckland
Bunny Redding from Southsea and Destiny Bevan from Buckland

With both major parties in the city, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, holding an equal amount of seats on the council there is everything to play for at tomorrow’s election.

Although the Lib Dems currently run the authority following a leadership vote last year, the 2019 elections could easily change this.

Currently the Lib Dems and Tories both have 17 representatives on the council. Labour have five and there are three Independent councillors. There is also one vacant seat in Coshan ward after Jim Fleming was removed due to ill health.

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Debbie Kocziban from Cosham and Alan Burnett from Southsea

But what are the issues that really matter to the people of Portsmouth? We spoke to local residents to find out more.

Southsea resident, Alan Burnett, believed it was important to vote. The 78-year-old said: ‘I have always voted and we live in a democracy and if you do not vote you can’t grumble about it.

‘Traffic and parking is always going to be a problem. I am interested in what candidates have to make about this.

‘Adult social care is a funding issue. Nonetheless adult social care is still short of money. Moderate needs do not get much change.’

Bunny Redding, 55, agreed. The fellow Southsea resident said: ‘I vote for the people who are good for the city and who will do more for the area we live in.

‘Here parking is an issue, and I work for parking. We either need more spaces or more permanent parking. And we need to stop other people parking they want. ‘

Parking issues also affect people outside Portsea Island. Carol Buckle, 80, said: 'Where I live in Cosham we've got nice long roads but we have an individual who takes up a significant amount of the road's parking space with a lorry and several vehicles.

‘This blocks others views but as a result children have to come out onto the road when crossing.’

Protecting the environment was a big issue for Debbie Kocziban from Cosham. The 64-year-old said: ‘I will be voting, we worked so hard to get women to vote. I used to be quite cynical about voting but it was hard to change so I now use it. I felt that it didn’t make any difference, and the choices were not that great.

‘Air quality is the main issue for me, it is terrible. We are a small island and something needs to be done. Also recycling is very poor. I went to recycle plastic in Sainsbury’s, that was full so I went to the tip. They didn’t do recycling so I had to throw it away.

‘It is a big issue and we need to look at the bigger issues. Portsmouth is over-populated and something needs to be done. I have been recycling for over 30 years and we are only just seeing change.’

Wymering local Patrick Monkcom, 54, was concerned about homelessness. ‘I will be going to vote, I bet the majority won’t be though,’ he said. ‘I believe the council needs to look after people, if we are building all these houses why are people homeless? But others are around in their luxury bubbles. The system is bent.’

But 19-year-old Destiny Bevan from Buckland admitted she wouldn’t be casting a vote. She said: ‘I do not vote, I have never voted. I just do not know what the local elections are. You get all the stuff through your door but you do not really know what it is.’

Polling stations will be open tomorrow from 7am to 10pm. Results are expected at around 3am on Friday morning.