PEOPLE power has prevailed – that’s the message from traffic campaigners after a controversial bid to suspend most of a Portsmouth parking zone and not consult anyone about it was kicked out.
A public campaign against Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome’s plan to temporarily get rid of restrictions in 13 roads in Somers Town, forming most of the LB zone, forced him to back down.
The Lib Dems circulated a petition and urged residents to email and write in with their concerns – the main one being how people who didn’t qualify for permits in other parking zones would take advantage and leave their cars there.
And the public outcry resulted in Cllr Ellcome deciding at a meeting yesterday that the zone should be left alone.
Campaigner Tom Wood, who led the fight on behalf of residents, said: ‘It’s fantastic; this is a great victory for people power. When this was first brought up, the decision was made, done and dusted. If other councillors hadn’t also called the decision in, and if we had not mustered the residents, and if they hadn’t been so fantastic in making their known, it would have been railroaded through.’
Jeremy Davis, 55, of St Andrews Road, Somers Town, said: ‘The campaign certainly spurred everyone on. It’s great people power has prevailed. I’m delighted. The trouble with student parking before the zone was in place was terrible.’
It’s fantastic; this is a great victory for people power.Campaigner Tom Wood
LB zone resident Paul Todd, a self-employed plumber, said: ‘It’s people power that has enabled this, and I am very happy at what has been done to help us. It affected a lot of people in the area, a lot of us work in different places and we need somewhere to park at night. It got to the point where I was thinking I would have had to move.’
Cllr Ellcome originally wanted to suspend LB at the same time as scrapping the MB and MC zones so LB residents without permits wouldn’t clog up streets in those areas – otherwise known as ‘displacement parking’.
Giving the reason for his U-turn, Cllr Ellcome said: ‘The survey done in the LB zone into whether people would pay £30 for their first permit saw a return of 69 per cent in favour. So that just justifies the fact we have seen wishes to keep it.
‘Having gone back over my original decision, I have decided to retain the zone as it is, and we can look at doing something in the longer term about the wider area.