Fears of traffic chaos in Gosport as town’s only traffic warden is axed

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FEARS are growing over parking chaos after Gosport’s only traffic warden was scrapped.

Stalwart Liz Callis had her last day on the beat on Friday – after Hampshire Constabulary ditched the post.

Parking in Stoke Road, Gosport

Parking in Stoke Road, Gosport

Her position was paid for by Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.

After a change in the law the role will be shared out between PCSOs – with concerns they will have no time to enforce parking rules.

Parking in Gosport is still a criminal matter as the borough refused to de-criminalise enforcement.

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Traffic warden Liz Callis on patrol in South Street, Gosport

Traffic warden Liz Callis on patrol in South Street, Gosport

Traders fear there will be people parking wherever they please in Stoke Road and Lee-on-the-Solent.

Debbie Watts, chair of the Lee Business Association, said: ‘A few of us in Lee-on-the-Solent are really concerned.

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‘People park all day when it’s meant to be for an hour’s stay. That is stopping customers from parking, so business is going elsewhere.

‘A friend of mine had one car parked outside her place for five days before it was moved – that sort of thing needs to be properly policed.

‘I rarely see any PCSOs in Lee-on-the-Solent, so I don’t think there will be anyone around regularly enough to enforce it.’

From July 2017 until November 30, 2018, 582 tickets were issued – at a cost of £30 each.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 removes the additional powers of traffic wardens operated by the police as of December 1 – meaning the Hampshire police’s traffic warden had to be stopped.

Jason Lewry, from Town Bikes, in Stoke Road, said: ‘There are a lot of problems around here at the moment.

‘People park on double yellows and companies use up the lay-by spaces meant for customers – and sit in there all day.

‘But you can’t expect one traffic warden to monitor an entire town’s parking. She has been fighting an uphill battle.

‘We see PCSOs here every day so perhaps it will make a difference – but you do wonder if they will have more important things to do than deal with dodgy parking.’

Police have said PCSOs will not be deployed or specifically patrol for parking offences.

Businessman Nick Carter, from Alton Sports, added: ‘People will just generally park wherever they like.

‘I can look out of my shop window and will usually see somebody parked on double yellows – I don’t think people give it a second thought anymore.’

Liberal Democrat, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said: ‘The police force is so stretched already that I fear they don’t have the resources for this.’

But council leader Cllr Mark Hook said: ‘I believe the police are under-resourced but they’re telling me they can do it, so I put my trust in them.

‘We offered to continue to fund the traffic warden post, but make it a PCSO. That was declined but I really don’t understand why, it would be a win-win for everyone.

Superintendent Tony Rowlinson, who oversees neighbourhood policing, said: ‘Between December 1 and the point at which parking in Gosport is de-criminalised, PSCOs will retain the power to issue fixed penalty notices for on-street parking offences if necessary.

‘It should also be noted that there is currently a recruitment-freeze relating to the position of PCSOs.

‘In line with other areas of Hampshire, officers will not deploy to, or specifically patrol for, on-street parking offences.

‘However if Neighbourhood Policing Team officers on regular patrols spot a specific on-street parking issue, or ongoing anti-social behaviour issues relating to a parking disputes are reported to us, action may be taken.’