‘Solution to city’s traffic nightmare has to be found’

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WE need a solution now to parking chaos in Portsmouth.

Penny Mordaunt believes city traffic bosses need to get serious about ending congestion and gridlocks – and believes the creation of a site for vans to park in could be the answer.

She said setting aside a park for large vehicles to stay at night would help to relieve pressure on residential streets.

Residents have long complained about the number of work vans on their roads at night – taking up large spaces – and are backing Ms Mordaunt’s suggestion that this could be the key to ending their nightmare.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘The council needs to get serious about coming up with a masterplan to solve our parking problems in Portsmouth, and a designated van park could be one of the solutions.

‘It can bid for pots of money from areas such as the Department for Transport to make that happen.’

Bramble Road resident Clive Goodwin said: ‘It’s not helpful at the moment having all these vans. A localised park would take an awful lot off of us.

‘We have lorries and vans regularly and over weekends. If we go out in the car you know they’ll be nowhere to park it on the way back.’

Rob Wood, also of Bramble Road, said: ‘There’s a lot of roadwork going on at the moment at the school and speaking to some of the workers the other day they said it would be another 35 weeks of it.

‘A van park can only be a good idea. Our parking permits were stripped away from us despite us democratically voting for it.’

Brenda Lock, who lives in Byerley Road, Fratton, is fed up of seeing work vans outside her home every day.

She claims many vehicles stopping by are exceeding the council’s 3,500kg road weight restriction for a vehicle.

Ms Lock said: ‘We have two vans which park around here that are Mercedes Sprinters. The smallest Sprinter weighs 3,878kg so they obviously exceed the weight restriction.

‘The other vehicle which parks here all the time is an enormous van which must exceed the weight restriction.’

Southsea resident Kate Marlow said: ‘We get a lot of workmen parking on the street and it’s getting worse week by week. We would all benefit from a van park, it would help making our street residential parking only now that they’ve taken our parking permits away.

‘We all told them at a meeting last year that we were happy to pay the £30 for a permit, but they took them away anyway. The council is not thinking about us at all.’

Complaints over parking were stepped up last month after a picture of Chichester Road, in North End, looking full at night due to the volume of work vans was published in The News.

But local firms and van drivers say it’s not fair they should be penalised – and believe they have every right to park on the road just like everyone else.

Jeana Harris, of Portsmouth construction and maintenance firm Harris & Harris, said: ‘We all pay taxes, so why shouldn’t van drivers be allowed to park at their own homes?’

Ted Williams, of building and decorating company Purkiss A. Ltd, said: ‘Most drivers go straight to where they are working rather than going back to the yard because they leave work materials in their vans so I don’t think it would help. You’ve got to think how secure it’s going to be as well. Logistically it would be time consuming for drivers.’

And Tory traffic boss Councillor Ken Ellcome is not convinced by the van park plan.

He said: ‘Commercial vans take up parking space, which I appreciate can be annoying, but we do not have any powers to force them to park elsewhere.

‘I have approached the owners of some of the large car parks in the city about using their spaces overnight but they would want paying for this.

‘Van drivers will obviously not want to pay and for security reasons and convenience would prefer to keep their van close to where they live. A van park could also increase congestion as owners would be likely drive to collect their vehicles.

‘Until we can persuade people to use other forms of transport the problem of parking in the city will unfortunately only get worse.’