Fareham Borough Council proposes to introduce coastal parking charges to bridge Covid funding deficit

PARKING charges could be introduced at coastal car parks in Fareham borough to make up some of the cash lost in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, 28th August 2020, 2:25 pm
Updated Friday, 28th August 2020, 5:10 pm
Meon Shore beach is one of the locations where parking charges are proposed to be introduced. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

A report due to go before Fareham Borough Council’s executive committee on September 7, recommends charges are introduced at all coastal car parks in Swanwick, Warsash, Meon Shore, Hill Head and Portchester.

The introduction of car parking payments could potentially generate an additional £900,000 for the council each year which would offset some of the losses made during the pandemic and cover the costs of upgrades and improvements to the car parks and new payment machines.

It would also go towards a £5.5m refurbishment of the Osborn Road multi-storey car park in the town centre.

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Cllr Trevor Cartwright believes the charges are necessary to bridge the funding gap created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Executive member for health and public protection, Cllr Trevor Cartwright, said: ‘For some time we have been the only local authority on the south coast that has not charged people to use our coastal car parks, but now we must.

‘The council must explore all available revenue streams open to it and it’s fairer to charge people who want to use the car parking facilities that we provide than to simply add more to everyone’s council tax bill.’

One recommendation in the report is for a £3 charge for a four-hour stay between 10am and 6pm but other options to charge by the hour will also be considered.

Fareham Borough Council has said the proposed rates are in line with neighbouring Gosport, where charges range from £3.50 to £4 for a four hour stay, and cheaper than Hayling Island where the charge is £5.80.

Cllr Cartwright added: ‘We have deliberately kept the rates low – lower than our neighbouring authorities – and been flexible with the times that charging is in force to allow for early morning and evening use to remain free of charge.’

It’s hoped the charging will encourage a greater turnover of users at busy car parks in the peak months, allowing more residents to enjoy easy access to the Fareham coast. However the proposed plan has generated a mixed response from residents on social media.

One poster on Facebook commented: ‘Good - Gosport charge at all beach car parks.’

However another poster replied: ‘Unfortunately this will discourage people to go for a walk on coast taking in the fresh air. I thought the government were trying to encourage healthy living and weight loss.’

The meeting will also consider the proposal of solar powered parking machines at coastal car parks and improved surfacing and marking at Meon Shore car park.

Cllr Cartwright confirmed that day time charges in the town centre will ‘continue to be frozen’.

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