Removing parking zones will cost Portsmouth taxpayers £90k

Some Portsmouth parking zones will be scrapped
Some Portsmouth parking zones will be scrapped
Southsea seafront. Picture: Keith Woodland

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THE suspension of two controversial parking zones will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds, The News can reveal.

Portsmouth City Council spent £60,100 bringing in Southsea’s MB and MC schemes that take in roads down to Albert Road.

And now that the zones are due to be scrapped come September the authority will pick up an extra bill for £29,400 – £89,500 in total.

The cost of the suspension takes into account the need to take out parking signs and authorise a traffic regulation order – a legal document supporting the change.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said it smacks of ‘arrogance’ that the schemes were suspended against people’s wishes and so much money is being wasted.

‘Local people wanted the zones to stay, yet the council is going to be spending nearly £90,000 on something they don’t want,’ he said.

‘That’s real arrogance from the council.

‘It’s really angered people in other residents’ parking zones around the city, who are saying “what happens if what happened in Southsea happens to us?”.’

As reported, Cllr Ken Ellcome, Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, suspended the zones on the grounds they were having a detrimental effect on nearby roads without restrictions, since people without permits were parking there.

Of the costs, which were given to The News under the Freedom of Information Act, £20,044 will be refunded to residents who bought parking permits. A total of £14,472 out of the introduction costs was spent making permits and consulting residents about bringing in the zones.

They now feel outraged the council did not survey them about the new changes.

But Cllr Ellcome questioned the figures.

‘I would dispute the figures, as it is counting the cost of refunding people’s permits, but that is zero cost,’ he said.

‘They put money in, and they are getting it back.

‘But I believe the accountants would see that as a loss because it’s money that has been put in the council that we could have retained.’

A scrutiny panel will meet on Friday to see if Cllr Ellcome’s decision should be reconsidered.

A separate meeting to determine whether Cllr Ellcome breached the council’s code of conduct when reaching his decision will be held at a later date.