Demands made for supermarkets to open car parks to end ‘Portsmouth parking crisis’

MD parking zone Sign in Albert Road, Southsea. Residents are being asked to have their say on the proposed MD parking zone.
MD parking zone Sign in Albert Road, Southsea. Residents are being asked to have their say on the proposed MD parking zone.
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DEMANDS have been made for supermarkets to open up their car parks – with city council bosses already in talks with businesses.

Frustrated councillors and residents presented their solutions to what has been dubbed a 'parking crisis' to Portsmouth City Council's cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday

Tory Councillor Simon Bosher, former cabinet member for traffic and current chair of the traffic scrutiny panel, set out recommendations after two years of the panel's work.

Among the 14 proposals were suggestions to meet with businesses to explore ways in which their commercial vehicles could be parked elsewhere overnight.

Other proposals are for the council to talk with supermarkets to look at allowing overnight parking in their car parks as well as a highly contentious city-wide parking zone review.

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'I think everybody knows that if there was a simple solution to parking someone would have found it by now and everybody would be happy.

'One solution is to have a zone that covers the whole city. I don't think that's a good idea.

'Another is a referendum across the city. But people know their area best. I think it is right that people should decide on parking for their areas.'

Transport boss Cllr Lynne Stagg confirmed that the council had contacted businesses and supermarkets about some of the proposals. 'Most of these recommendations are in the process of being followed,' she said.  

But speaking to the Lib Dem cabinet Cllr Bosher said: 'The elephant in the room is the council's approach to parking zones.

'What has come out loud and clear is that the current piecemeal approach is causing misery for an awful lot of residents.

'We know that 80 per cent of parking permits are for first cars. Which means people just aren't buying permits for their second and third vehicles. They are parking them in nearby roads that aren't in zones.'

His views were met by former councillor and Conservative activist resident Linda Symes, who lives in Southsea.

'Despite denials by the Lib Dems, everyone knows that displacement is real,' she said.

'Your plan, if you can call it that, is to move the misery around so that every part of Southsea takes a turn as the first area outside of residents' parking. New zones will lead to new displacement, leading to more zones.'

The cabinet approved all recommendations apart from the suggestion of a city-wide parking strategy.

Currently new parking zones are reviewed after being proposed by residents. Once a decision has then been made to consult on the zone, all residents in the area are sent a survey.

Once the area has been assessed, a residents' parking zone is designed. Following a more a detailed public consultation a final decision is then made at a public meeting.

MD and ME zones in Southsea are under consultation at the moment until March 21.