By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
FAREHAM Borough Council has received complaints from residents and business owners about the introduction of parking meters in the town’s High Street.
However, the council wants to make it clear that it is not responsible for the parking meters – they are there because it was Hampshire County Council which had them installed.
Since April 2020, on-street parking arrangements in Fareham have been decided by the county council and enforced by its contractor NSL – formally known as NCP Services.
‘modernisation of the on-street parking service’
Prior to the takeover by Hampshire, the borough council had allowed 40 minutes free parking on High Street – but now, the free parking time has been reduced to 20 minutes and drivers must pay £1 to stay longer up to a maximum of one hour until 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward – who is also a county councillor – said he was, “very disappointed to learn that Hampshire County Council had decided to implement parking charges on High Street in Fareham, as this was something we had no intention of doing when we were responsible for on-street parking.
“The installation of new parking meters in this location seems to entirely contradict our hugely successful Live Love Local campaign, which has been supporting our local businesses and encouraging shoppers back into the town centre.”
When it took control of on-street parking in Fareham, Hampshire County Council termed it, “modernisation of the on-street parking service”, and its Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment Councillor Rob Humby said: “A well-managed on-street parking service plays an important part in keeping our roads safe and our towns and villages moving.
“However, where there is managed parking on the highway, there is a cost involved, and I’m afraid it’s simply not sustainable for resources meant for highways maintenance across the county to be used to subsidise parking for some at the expense of all Hampshire council taxpayers.”
‘net cost of the changes to the council would be approximately £170,000’
On the other hand, the change means Fareham Borough Council has taken a hit to its finances – in March 2019, report to its Executive estimated the net cost of the changes to the council would be approximately £170,000.
The borough council remains responsible for its off-road car parks such as those in the town centre.
Information about parking enforcement by Hampshire County Council can be accessed HERE.
Data presented in the latest published edition of Hampshire County Council’s Annual Parking Report shows that 2,767 Penalty Charge Notices were issued for on-street parking offences in Fareham during 2020-21.
The comparable figure for Gosport was 2,558 PCNs.
Probably not all of these PCNs would have resulted in fines as there is an appeals procedure and some may have been upheld. However, the number of successful appeals in respect of Fareham and Gosport on-street PCNs is not available in the report.
Photograph (top): Penalty Charge Notice. Shutterstock