Why this Portsmouth landlord fears for new parking zones in the city

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A PORTSMOUTH landlord says the future of his pub will be jeopardised if new parking restrictions are imposed.

Two areas of Southsea, previously known as MC and MB zones, are in line to become permitted parking zones once again if council proposals go ahead.

But Barry Kewell who runs the Northcote Hotel on Francis Avenue thinks the scheme will do more harm than good.

The 69-year-old said: 'My customers won't be able to park. There is no car park anywhere near here. And then there are my staff. Some of them come from places like Cosham and Paulsgrove, what are they supposed to do?'

Mr Kewell has run the pub for 28 years and said this was a problem before. 'When the permits were put in place a few years ago I noticed a lot of our regular customers stopped coming,' he added.

'I already pay exorbitant business rates and council tax like all the other businesses in the area. We have two cars because both my wife and I need to get stock and other items at different times and now I will be asked to pay even more money to park my car. Having our cars is not a luxury but a necessity.

'Pubs and businesses are closing at great rate do they realise they are killing the very heart of this city with nothing but sheer greed.'

The potential reinstatement of the MC zone as well as MB comes as part of a city-wide review of parking permits. However, a public consultation will take place before anything is decided.

READ MORE: Parking zones report not heard at meeting due to procedural error

Cllr Suzy Horton, who represents Central Southsea ward, explained the system. She said: 'MC zone used to allow anyone to park there except between the hours of 5pm-7pm when it was residents only. A similar system might also be used in MB.

'It is a really big issue in my ward. I do appreciate what Mr Kewell is saying but it might not affect his customers that much if the zone is the same as it was before.

'There was overwhelming evidence from the survey that residents wanted the zones back. It will go back to a formal consultation before anything is decided. We have to see whether the residents want the permits back.'

The council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, added: 'The job of the council is to listen to what local residents have to say and do what they ask them to do.

'There will be a formal consultation before anything can go ahead. You can't just change something like this without doing so.'

Geoff Marsh, chairman of the Portsmouth Campaign for Real Ale, was concerned about the future of pubs in the city. He said: 'CAMRA campaigns for support from local councils to arrest the alarming number of pubs closing across the UK - which currently stands at 18 pubs being lost per week.

'Pubs are vital to local communities and economies. They also create jobs and bring money into local areas, which tend to be spent in the local area, as compared to large chain cafes. Many pubs help to support the night time economy in town centres and create safer communities after nightfall.'

The consultations are set to take place this summer once the parking permit report is heard at a traffic and transport council meeting.