Got problems with parking in Portsmouth? Then ditch your car says traffic leader

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THE councillor who oversees transport in Portsmouth has come under fire after he told a resident to ditch their car if they had a problem with parking in the city.

A Southsea motorist wrote to Councillor Ken Ellcome with concerns over the way congestion has been allowed to take hold in the area.

This has been said by a councillor who has his own off-street parking, yet most people don’t have off-street parking.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth Lib Dem group leader

It comes after Cllr Ellcome decided to permanently axe Southsea’s MB and MC parking permit zones, which residents say will pile more misery on packed roads.

The Tory has now been criticised after a section of his response to the concerned resident, whose identity has not been revealed, said: ‘Most people, like you, seem to prefer to struggle to find a parking space rather than give up their cars’.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it showed the traffic boss was ‘out of touch’.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This has been said by a councillor who has his own off-street parking, yet most people don’t have off-street parking.

‘We need a car to get to work and earn a living.

‘For some people it’s fine, and they can do without a car, but for lots of us that’s unrealistic. I am disappointed residents in Southsea are being ignored. They wanted a residents’ parking zone. Why should a councillor overturn the views of local residents?’

Lib Dem Lee Hunt also posted an extract of the letter on Twitter using the hashtag #addinginsultoSouthsearesidentsinjury.

But Cllr Ellcome said: ‘It’s out of context. What they basically said was; “I need to park, and everyone else is a problem”, and didn’t face the fact they have the option to give up their car like anyone else. It’s no good telling me there is a parking problem when you’re contributing to that problem by having a car.

‘Perhaps it was a bit provocative in Cllr Hunt’s eyes, but from my perspective they are part of the problem. The city can’t take any more cars. Something has to give and people will have to make that choice themselves.’

Cllr Ellcome has also been ordered by a scrutiny management panel to re-visit his decision to suspend the LB parking zone because he never consulted with residents.

But he said: ‘The daft part is the residents were going to be consulted with anyway. Part of the process, like with MB and MC, was to suspend and consult at the same time.’