Former Portsmouth leader says parking plan is ‘political’

Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Breakdown workers preparing to haul out of the sea one of the cars involved in an accident on the Havant by-pass

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Havant by-pass cars plunge into the sea

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THE former leader of Portsmouth City Council believes a plan to charge drivers in the city for their first parking permit is a political move.

As reported, the Tory administration has put forward in its proposed budget that it wants residents in parking zones to pay in order to save £400,000 a year.

But Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson believes the Tories have done it as most of the zones are in the south of the city, where they have fewer political seats than the north.

‘The agreement has always been that the first permit would be free,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.

‘Now, we have got a stealth tax and people will be charged.

‘Mainly, that’s because most residents’ parking zones are in the south of the city and Labour and the Conservatives have very few seats in the south, so they don’t particularly care.

‘It was a political decision, absolutely.’

Cllr Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, has always said that the traffic decisions he has taken have never been political, and the savings are needed to ensure resident parking remains viable.

As reported, city-wide review of residents’ parking is under way to assess how they can be run better.

The former Lib Dem administration came under fire for rushing through the MC parking zone in Southsea prior to the local elections in May in order to gain votes.