Parking charges to be introduced at Portsmouth playing fields

Portsmouth City Council is planning to introduce car-parking charges at two of the city’s key playing fields, King George V at Cosham, and at Farlington.  These proposals were announced last Friday, and will in fact affect a large number of streets in the city where parking has not previously be restricted in this way:

Portland Road
St Helen’s Parade
Gunwharf Road
Dugald Drummond Street
Bellevue Terrace
High St Old Portsmouth
Clarence Pier
Lake Road
Henderson Road
Queen Street
Nancy Road
South Parade Pier
Sevenoaks Road
Cavell Drive
Farlington Playing Fields
King George V Playing Fields
Portsbridge Road Car Park

It’s hard to see how introducing parking charges at playing fields promotes sport in the city, or healthy lifestyles in general.  The wider extension of charging to a large number of other streets is bound to provoke concern when the changes are advertised by the Council.  This is the latest in a line of problems and frankly weird decisions involving the Traffic & Transport Dept, led by Cllr Jason Fazackerley.

I’ve complained often about the pedestrianisation of Palmerston Road, and the closure of Lennox Rd South (which had to be abandoned because the enforced diversion of Fire Service vehicles around it put lives at risk).  Add in the dangerous Locksway Road roundabout, the recent decision to close most of Anchorage Road to HGVs, the disasters of Armed Forces Weekend when the M275 was gridlocked, the much-delayed programme of traffic light upgrades at Albert Road and Elm Grove.  The last few years have been “hell on wheels” for anyone trying to navigate the city.

Now, while one bit of the council continues to pour millions into subsidizing the Pyramids centre – at least £2m over the next 5 years – Cllr Fazackerley’s department want to hit sporting families in the pocket to claw some of it back.  As well, of course, as anyone living or doing business in and around the other roads on the list.  Portsbridge Car Park is busy in summer with people visiting the Lines or the Lido, and these plans are aimed at other locations popular with tourists or residents who drive to visit them because public transport in the city is so poor.  Remember too that PCC is now planning to “steal your change” in parking meters, and to extend parking charges in winter around the seafront.

Quite what tourists will make of it next summer when they get here, I don’t know.  If you want to park (or pee) in Pompey, you’re going to have to pay for it, and the City Council will fritter the money away on vanity projects and incompetently-managed schemes.

The City Council is just taking back control of the “big screen” in Guildhall Square now that the Olympics have gone.  The screen was installed by LOCOG to promote the Games and encourage sporting participation.  The City Council is looking around for content to put on it, since they will have to provide it themselves now (“talk to the football club” would be my suggestion).  I think the first thing they film should be an apology from Gerald Vernon-Jackson for the waste, incompetence, and inconsistency of the council he leads.  Why on Earth is the City Council penalising sporting participation in a city which faces so many public health challenges?

Update: the “decision meeting” this daft scheme will be considered at is on 26th September.  If you’d like to email Cllr Fazackerley to ask him not to go ahead with it, his contact details are here.

Haley Storey has put a note about this proposal on the “About My Area” Facebook page and the comments are all pretty damning.

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