Anger as Portsmouth City Council axes free parking bays and makes residents apply for permits

Gruneisen Road resident Rodrick WatsonGruneisen Road resident Rodrick Watson
Gruneisen Road resident Rodrick Watson
DISGUSTED residents have spoken out after being told they would lose their free parking spaces and be forced to apply for permits under money-making plans.

Neighbours in Gruneisen Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, said they were sent letters without warning telling them they will be fined if they park and don’t display a valid paid-for pass in bays near their houses from November 1.

Portsmouth City Council says the move allows it to create more spaces for people who need them.

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But motorists who live in the area say they’ve been allowed to park in the spaces without charge for years – and were never consulted by the council, which owns most of the properties along the road.

Gruneisen Road resident Rodrick Watson, 68, rang the council and was told the bay behind his house had gone to someone else who applied for a permit – and he would be placed on a ‘waiting list’.

Mr Watson, a driver for City Wide Taxis, said: ‘I was told by the council I was number eight out of nine on a waiting list, so my space must have gone before I was sent the letter on Saturday.

‘I was absolutely sickened by the situation. I have used that bay for 35 years.

‘The worst thing about this is the way we were informed.

‘And then I was told someone else has my bay.

‘It’s ridiculous – no thought has gone into any of it.’

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Since The News made enquiries to the council about the situation, the authority has said now Mr Watson is ‘now likely’ to get a permit.

Mr Watson’s wife Gloria says the council is to send a letter of apology.

But she said: ‘It was handled very badly. We should have been given first option from the beginning.’

Chris Wotton, the council’s portfolio manager for property and housing, said: ‘This is part of our normal rollout process for chargeable spaces across the city – a programme that has been ongoing for years.

‘We have found a way of adding additional spaces to the scheme and the concerned resident is now likely to be allocated a space.’