By Connor Steel
FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have outlined an online consultation on proposed car parking changes for Wicor Recreation Ground in Portchester; urging all local residents to offer their thoughts as they seek a fresh resolution to the scheme following a variety of meetings between councillors and community representatives.
A review of coastal car parks was undertaken in Fareham earlier this year and this saw the Wicor Recreation Ground reclassified to join others across the Borough; meaning that it will be subject to new parking charges. The area is currently free and seen as a popular site; particularly due to its association with AFC Portchester.
The car park currently has 109 spaces and allows visitors to explore a large open space; offering great views of the creek and nature along the coast-line. Wicor Recreation Ground is further used by walkers, skate park users and paddleboarders; councillors believing they can earn £31,000 in funds to go towards other projects.
The council’s initial proposals saw critics and comments from across the local community; a majority of these coming from the football club who feared smaller gates as a consequence. Following a variety of meetings in recent weeks the parties have reached potential compromises, with further details announced earlier in May.
New proposals include charging £1.10 per hour between 10am and 6pm on traditional weekdays (Monday to Friday); which copies other coastal car parks across Fareham. This will change over Saturdays and Sundays with the fees being: £1.10 for an hour, £2.20 for four hours, or £4.40 for eight hours between 10am and 6pm. Coastal season tickets will remain valid for use in the car park throughout the week if the fees are approved.
If approved the council hopes to ensure that football supporters aren’t priced out of attending matches, whilst ensuring fairness across the board in relation to coastal car parking charges. But concerns have been raised that visitors will instead park in residential roads for free, particularly if Portchester are expecting large gates.
Executive Member for Health and Public Protection at the council, Cllr Joanne Burton, stated: “Incomes from our car parks is essential for ensuring that they remain fit for a purpose and available for as many visitors as possible. I would urge residents to voice their say on the proposals before this consultation ends on June 9.”
Readers can offer their thoughts via www.fareham.gov.uk/have_your_say/openconsultations.aspx about the proposed parking charges, with contact details for post or emailed submission available on this council link.
PICTURED BY GOOGLE MAPS: The vehicle entrance to Wicor Recreation Ground car park in Portchester.