MORE than £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash has been spent in less than five years attempting to improve North End, The News can reveal.
And politicians are at loggerheads over whether the amount of money used to fund pavement and parking alterations has been well spent.
That’s £12,000 being spent per car parking space, which is a lot of money...Portsmouth Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson
The previous Lib Dem administration spent £400,000 in 2012 widening pavements in London Road to attract more shoppers and boost businesses.
But now following repeated complaints it hasn’t worked out as planned, the scheme has been scrapped by the Tories and 10 car parking spaces are being brought back on the western side of the road – at a cost of £120,000.
It takes the overall cost of improvement works in North End to £520,000.
Lib Dem group leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the latest outlay was dubious.
He said: ‘That’s £12,000 being spent per car parking space, which is a lot of money, especially when you consider the council apparently doesn’t have enough money to protect services and support people who are victims of domestic abuse and is cutting that service.
‘The council is saying it doesn’t have enough money to maintain the sea walls, and cutting children’s centres around the city. You have to question the priorities.’
But Tory traffic boss, Cllr Ken Ellcome said: ‘It’s not just North End.
‘A number of schemes which the Lib Dems brought in we have had to remove, Palmerston Road being one of them, where maybe they could have spent their money in a better and more constructive way.
‘I don’t like having to unpick what other people have done.
‘One of the complaints we had been regularly getting was that people were being put off shopping in North End because there was no parking convenient to the street.’
The London Road parking scheme is due to take around 11 weeks. Extra parking spaces are being created by narrowing the pavement on the west side of London Road, between the two pedestrian crossings. The east pavement will also be narrowed.