Portsmouth Labour Party calls on businesses to open up car parks to residents at night

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A CAMPAIGN in Portsmouth is pushing for businesses to open up commercial car parks for residents to use overnight.

‘Park Up Pompey’ has been launched following a meeting on city parking at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea this month, when homeowners packed out the venue to voice their frustration at the controversial parking zones in the area.

One of many Southsea streets where parking is at a premium Picture: Chris Moorhouse

One of many Southsea streets where parking is at a premium Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Now, campaigners are hoping that businesses could have the answer to what they have described as the ‘chaos’ caused by parking zones across the city.

Labour Party member Charlotte Gerada said: ‘The Labour Party is very clear that parking is a city-wide problem that needs a city-wide solution.

‘We think that businesses can play a role in helping to tackle the parking quandary in our city – that’s why we’ve launched the Park Up Pompey campaign to call on commercial car parks to enable residential and commercial vehicles to park there at night.

‘There are 1,100 spaces at the Pompey Centre alone.

‘Utilising these spaces could help to dramatically relieve our congested streets, not to mention the hours of wasted time and fuel trying to find a space.’

Charlotte’s campaign has been given support from Portsmouth’s Labour Party, including Councillors George Fielding and Judith Smyth, as well as Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan.

But cabinet member for traffic and transportation, Cllr Lynne Stagg, says that the Liberal Democrats have already tried to implement something similar.

She said: ‘We approached businesses and schools for a similar idea about 18 months ago, but they didn’t want to do it.

‘I think the Labour Party is missing the point, and just using this to have a go at us about residents’ parking zones, when the real issue is that we have too many vehicles in the city.

‘I can’t just magically create parking spaces when there is no room in the first place; if they can get businesses to agree to commercial and residential parking then that’s good, but it is something we have tried before.

‘As for the idea of “parking chaos” I think that’s absolute nonsense.’

But the Labour Party says it acknowledges the issue of parking – and that the ‘magic spaces’ are already there.

Charlotte Gerada added: ‘We’ve spoken to hundreds of people who aren’t in the zoned areas who say they dread going out or coming home late from work.

‘We’ve written to some of the retailers, as well as the landowners at the Pompey Centre, asking to meet them to open up negotiations.

‘I agree that we should try our best not to own so many vehicles, but there’s empty car parks that are practically begging to be used.’