Parking controls will hit our trade, fear businesses

Mark Battye
Mark Battye
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BUSINESS owners and residents have voiced anger at plans to create a parking permit scheme in their area.

Motor traders in Francis Avenue, Southsea, have said they will lose business if the proposal goes ahead, and are calling on Portsmouth City Council to scrap the idea.

They insist a survey of around 400 people living in the area – which includes Orchard Road, Telephone Road and the northern end of Fawcett Road – found fewer than 10 per cent of residents were in favour.

Similar parking schemes already exist in much of Fratton and parts of Southsea, but critics say the parking problems are just being pushed from one area to another.

Mark Battye, manager and owner of Trojan Cars, said in tough economic times this was the last thing local traders wanted to see.

‘It’s a ridiculously ill-thought out plan,’ he said.

‘At the top of Francis Avenue there are a few houses but most of the spaces are used by businesses like mine.

‘Local people can already find a place to park but our customers are going to be completely shut out if this goes ahead.

‘With all the other pressures affecting businesses, it seems crazy to make it even harder for us.’

Mr Battye said although the council had held a consultation with local people over the plans, most residents he had spoken to had no idea it was taking place.

He said: ‘It seems like they are trying to sneak it in without anyone noticing.

‘They should have made more of an effort to let people who will be affected know.’

Owner and manager of Walker Car Sales, Gary Walker, said he thought there was overwhelming evidence that people did not support the proposals.

‘We had an independent person conduct a survey,’ he said. ‘And the response was overwhelmingly that people don’t want to have to pay to park where they live.

‘This hasn’t solved the problem elsewhere, and it won’t here either.’

All residents who qualify for a permit will get one free, but have to pay £53.50 a year for a second, and £107.50 a year for a third.

The first business permit costs £107.50 annually, with the second costing £215, and the third £325.

Chemist Neil Isserlis, 38, of Francis Avenue, said although he was in favour of the idea it wouldn’t completely solve the parking problem.

‘It’s a difficult issue,’ he said. ‘I don’t often have trouble finding a space but then I’ve only got one car.

‘And on match days it turns into a free-for-all because this is one of the last places you can park without a permit near Fratton Park.’

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, the council’s traffic and transportation chief, said: ‘We are looking at the results of the consultation now and hope to be able to feed back to residents soon. If enough people in the area want a parking permit scheme then they will get one – that’s the way these things have to work.

‘You cannot please everyone, but residents will get to set conditions themselves – such as how long you can park for without a permit.’