Council ‘Call in’ meeting of executive member decision No 2291 – Portchester car parks Traffic Regulation order.
At 6.00p.m. on Wednesday 18th August 2021, there was a council meeting of the Health and Public Protection Scrutiny Panel, called in to determine whether or not to accept the decision to implement the charges, or to request that the executive member reconsiders the decision, giving reasons for such a request.
The “Call In” was requested because we, your Portchester East councillors, felt that five points had not been fully considered, these were, briefly,
- Lack of publicity surrounding the public’s right to attend the decision,
- The lack of fully considering the effect on the long-standing Portchester Gala and the use of the car parking areas.
- The lack of exploring alternative revenue from higher coach charges.
- Why 3- or 6- month season tickets could not be considered and why these should incur increased costs.
- Gave no consideration to volunteers who will have to pay to continue volunteering for St. Mary’s Church, the Sailing Club and the scouts, amongst others.
We have been actively informing you about this meeting and were very pleased to see there were 12 deputations from members of the community and the public present. Six were written submissions and six spoken in person. They included representatives of the Portchester Community Association, St. Mary’s Church and the Sailing club, along with residents from Castle street and the local area.
It is a credit to Portchester that there are so many people who are concerned enough to speak or write about how strongly they all feel about their environment, history, community and care. They spoke about genuine concerns for people who will find the car parking charges hard to pay and the poorer quality of life which will result for local residents.
The Chairman, Vice Chairman and a trustee of P.C.A. all spoke about how the Gala would not be financially viable if there was no contribution from the funfair which takes place on the large car park, and that the Christmas lights in Portchester rely on fundraising at the Gala. (No Gala, No Christmas Tree??) They need six months planning time to prepare for next years event, so it is critical that the council engage in discussions about the matter as soon as possible.
The Church treasurer spoke about the Church tea room, a small business enterprise which relies on volunteers, all of whom will now have to pay to help out, or walk a considerable distance to support St. Mary’s.
A sailing club representative explained difficulties for members who work on their boats in different seasons and will incur yearly costs, but only need 3 or 6 month passes. The additional costs may well discourage new and long-time members.
Councillor Roger Price, speaking on behalf of all Portchester East Councillors, covered many of these issues in much greater detail. Councillor Jean Kelly agreed with all the points which he raised and hoped that common sense would prevail in resolving ongoing problems. Councillor Gerry Kelly was unable to take part in the debate because he is vice chairman of Portchester Community Association. He spoke in support of the Gala being a unique historical event, which needs council support and goodwill in order to continue.
Councillor Price pointed out that there was much concern over the present parking in Castle Street, which is a long cul-de sac and has ongoing problems, particularly for emergency vehicles. If the fees come in then the issues in Castle street and the surrounding area will only get worse.
We had concern about the lack of openness in the council’s dealings with English Heritage and there was no consideration or offer of concessions to the Church or the sailing club, who will both be badly effected by the additional costs to their members.
This is a conservation area. Historic England have not been informed by the Borough Council but permission may well be required to dig in the car park area for the new machines and permission may well be required from the Borough Council Planning department before this takes place.
The voting to accept the decision and implement the charges was passed.
Three voted for the motion, two against and one abstention.
Meeting closed after 2 hours 10 minutes.
We carry on!
Roger, Gerry and Jean.
(Gerry and I wonder if there is another King somewhere under our Castle Car Park? -It happened in Leicester didn’t it??) Councillors Gerry and Jean Kelly