Hampshire County Council wants to Stop Free Parking

Fareham Parking

Residents may be aware of proposed and other recent changes to parking in Fareham.

Parking has been “Decriminalised” - which allows local authorities to appoint their own Civil Enforcement Officers with the powers to ticket for Parking Offences, relieving Hampshire Constabulary and Police Traffic Wardens of this non-core Policing work.

It should be noted that Police still retain these powers, particularly around Obstruction of footways.

Local authorities are still responsible for enforcing parking and setting charging levels in their own Car Parks.

Previously Fareham Borough Council (FBC) were responsible for on-street parking, via an “agency” agreement with Hampshire County Council (HCC). Across the County these agency agreements are being given up or called in by HCC.

HCC have appointed a third-party company to carry out enforcement, issue tickets and process the administration, you will have seen these enforcement officers in uniform, on their distinctive white mopeds.

It is believed by FIG that HCC may wish to uniformly apply parking charges across the County, removing disparities in charging levels whatever the location. It is also believed that HCC wish to generate more revenue from on-street parking to plug the holes in their finances caused by the withdrawal of Central Government funding.

To carry out this revenue generation, additional on-street parking charges will be imposed. It is understood that the provision of the free 40-minute short stay spaces around Fareham town centre will disappear, with a minimum charge of £1 an hour. The option of thirty minutes free parking FIG understands will not be offered.

If consistency across the County is to be achieved, this will also remove any other currently free parking period from sites such as Wickham Square, Bishops Waltham, and Stubbington.

Losing the ability to nip into the shops quickly without paying for parking will no doubt push some customers in search of free parking in other Retail Centres or attempting to park in the neighbouring residential streets. Causing additional frustration and inconvenience to residents and losing trade to our local shops.

Fareham’s unique independent traders need to have these short visit customers encouraged to their businesses, and not be put off by additional parking charges.

Free short stay spaces encourage quick turn-over of parking, and are essential for vibrancy of a shopping offer.

FIG understands HCCs desire to generate revenue but will ask that the free short stay parking is retained to promote the survival of our Independent Traders.

Displaced Parking and Residents Schemes.

Residents complain about parking outside their house, in “their” spot, particularly around parking hotspots such as Railway stations, Schools, Retail and Employment areas. Residents’ frustration has even resulted in threats and damage to vehicles. There has also been concerns around Emergency Vehicle access, and inconsiderate parking on pavements and junctions.

As the law stands, any vehicle, if it is taxed and insured can park anywhere where it is legal to do so. There is no entitlement to the spot outside your house, fortunately many Fareham residents have off-road parking, or have converted their front gardens.

To preserve the spaces outside their property, many residents have called upon additional restrictions, such as time restricted parking, to discourage all day parking, complete waiting restrictions (yellow lines), or Resident parking schemes.

These schemes further displace parking away from the originally intended locations affecting more and more residents, until the distances become unattractive to walk, merge into other schemes, or the commuters find other alternatives, pay for parking, give-up, car share, switch to public transport, cycle, or simply go elsewhere.

So , what happens when you’ve campaigned for residents parking ?

After discussions with Hampshire County Council, and getting their agreement, the scheme may get implemented.

You’ll be issued – and pay for – your permit and get – and pay for – Visitors tickets. And pay for permits for other family members.

And why the costs?

It’s not simply a question of some Signs, Poles and Yellow Lines – although these also have to be paid for. The HCC Officers time has to be paid for, plus the Legal expenses to turn the Yellow Line Paint into a valid Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). Plus, the Enforcement Officers (Remember them from Fareham and Parking article), and administration of the scheme.

These schemes have to be cost neutral to HCC – and may even generate a little bit of revenue, (remember that Finance hole)?

FIG would urge any residents to think carefully about the costs and inconvenience before asking for additional parking restrictions, or resident schemes.

If you vote for your FIG independent candidate at the next election, we cannot promise to solve all your traffic and parking issues, but we will make sure your Voice is heard.

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