Residents Parking Zones FAQs

The Big Picture

Portsmouth is the most densely populated city outside London, with too many cars for the amount of parking space available and a serious air quality problem. There is also a tourist and student population, which brings seasonal fluctuations in parking demands. Many residents consider the public transport and cycling network insufficient. 

The Policy

Our policy is give parking zones to areas where residents want them. This is done on an area by area basis which responds to historic requests and/ or proximity to a recently established zone.

The process for getting a zone is in 2 stages:

  1. An informal survey by the council. This is sent to every council tax paying household asking for a household response as to whether a RPZ is wanted. If the majority of the respondents say yes, then this moves to stage 2.
  2. A Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which is a formal consultation and is open to anyone to respond. All residents will receive a letter, there is notification in the press and signs are put on lampposts. The responses are collated and where a majority say yes, it is implemented

The decision is then formally made at the next Traffic &Transportation Cabinet decision meeting.

The policy adopted says that when a new RPZ starts the adjacent areas should be informally surveyed, so that they can respond to stage 1 with full knowledge of their parking situation.

RPZ plans in 2019: 

MD (Kings area) TRO - end Feb (3 weeks); the T&T decision on MD zone should then be at the end of May or start of June. Likely start date is end August (Colas need 8 weeks to set up for a zone)

HC - informal survey 

ME – update letter 

GB – informal survey 

HC – TRO 

ME – TRO 

MF – Informal Survey

FAQs

Q - Why are some zones only 2 hours? Surely that won’t make a difference? 

A - This aims to prevent long-term parking, which can be associated with non-residents who may leave their vehicles parked for several days, weeks or even months without moving them. Preventing parking for extended periods of time enables a regular turnover of parking spaces in the area, which increases their availability for residents and local visitors. This style of zone worked really well when MC Zone was last in place 4 years ago and residents in the new MB (4-6pm) and MC Zones (5-7pm) implemented in Jan 2019 are overwhelmingly reporting that they are working well now.

 

Q - I’m not usually home by 7pm so it won’t make any difference to me. 

A - Zones with restrictions for a 5-7pm window aims to improve parking opportunities when the demand is highest but the main benefit will come from the spaces available for reasons detailed above. Once the zone is in place, it can be reviewed and the times amended if it is not achieving it’s purpose. 

 

Q – Why don’t you just abolish all zones and have a free for all?

A - Removing all the permits would cause huge problems for local residents in specific areas (seafront, near the ferry, near stations, near QA hospital) which would simply lead to renewed calls for restrictions to be put in place – the reason for the zones being implemented in the first place. 

 

Q – Why can’t you just introduce one citywide zone?

A – This simple sounding solution would not work in practice and no council in the country has done this. This would allow anyone to park anywhere in the city if they lived in Portsmouth; some areas would naturally become more congested than others; that’s why restrictions are brought in. How would it work if you had a permit and could therefore park on the Seafront area all day in the summer? Or by a train station? Or Old Portsmouth while people went to the Isle of Wight for a day, week or month (which is what brought in the first Residents` Parking Zone in Portsmouth in 1999). Where would the people who live there, park?

 

Q – What if you had lots of zones but they were all introduced simultaneously, so in effect, you had one big city zone?

A - If there were the resources to survey, conduct a TRO and implement RPZs simultaneously across the whole city and employ all the additional wardens, process all the paperwork, post all the notices and deal with the many thousands of questions that come in from residents, then this could be considered. However, this would challenge the principle that residents get to chose whether they want a zone or not. This is dependent on how they are impacted on by other zones. It is also the case that some areas may vote no and others yes. Would it be fair to force an area which voted 'no' to have a zone? At the time they are asked, they may not believe they need a zone. However, if all the surrounding areas vote 'yes', then they could find themselves surrounded and will experience the very displacement that those who oppose the area by area approach say they want to avoid.

 

Q Why don’t you have a citywide referendum and let the people decide?

A - This is considered unfair for the car drivers who do not have the privilege of off street parking. What happens if a majority of residents living, for example, in Anchorage Park, vote against a scheme and outnumber the residents in areas who have no off-street parking? Do they then deny residents their parking zones?  

 

Q – Why is it taking so long for each zone to be introduced? Why can’t it be quicker?

A - Each scheme involves designing, printing and hand delivering all the survey forms which identify any parking problems that may exist and the times when they are worst, analysing the results and then designing, printing and hand-delivering all the formal consultation documents, (assuming a majority of residents are in favour of having a parking zone) which then have to be analysed and once again if a majority of residents are in favour, a Traffic Regulation Order has to be devised, taken to a decision meeting and ALL the on-street signs designed individually for each area, sent to be manufactured and then installed across the city. This is on top of processing all the permits or every single vehicle registered to the zone. The council has already employed 3 extra staff to speed up the process and if requests for zones continue at the same rate, more may be required. However the number of staff required to do all the work at once would be huge. TROs also require the staff to be trained and this takes time.

 

Q – Why don’t you use car parks (for example, B&Q) to allow vans to park at night?

A - Both B&Q and their landlord (Sellars Group) have said they are not allowed to have residents using the car park. Additionally, this would increase the number of cars in the city, at a time when we need to restrict them

 

Q – Why are you using a piecemeal approach?

A – Implementing zones area by area allows a specific type of zone to be introduced to meet the needs of the area, rather than a one size fits all approach. It also allows residents to decide whether they want a zone in the full knowledge of how any neighbouring zone would impact on them.

 

Q – Tell me why this isn’t just a money making scam by the council?

A – All of the money from the permits goes to paying for the rollout of the schemes and other parking related expenses. Legally, it has to be kept separate from other budgets in something called the Parking Reserve.

 

Q – Why do I have to pay my roadtax and then another tax to the council to park outside my house?

A – Road tax does not exist anymore and the ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ (VED) is related to car emissions, not roads or parking.

 

Q - Why limit it to 2 cars per house if people want to pay? 

A - By limiting the number of cars to the same number for each house, it is a fairer way of actively reducing the overall number of cars in an area. Third permits can be issued as long as there are spare spaces available in the zone.

 

Q - What happens with shared houses? 

A - They are treated exactly the same way as every other property. The scheme is connected to an individual address, not the number of residents. 

 

Q - I see we have to pay now, whereas 4 years ago the first permit was free? 

A - There are 35 residents' parking zones currently in operation within Portsmouth and Southsea. In November 2015 the previous Conservative administration introduced a new charging structure and all first permits now cost £30, are valid for a year and cover any times that permit restrictions are in operation (these vary from zone to zone depending on the parking problems experienced by each area). All the neighbouring councils to Portsmouth also charge from the first permit and most councils nationally charge. 

 

Q - Who decides who gets the zone? 

A - It is for residents to decide whether the parking problems they experience motivate them to contribute to the consultation. The majority view will prevail. 

 

Q - If I want a parking zone but not this one and I vote against it, or I don’t want it at the moment, when will be the next opportunity to ask for one?

A - It’s unlikely that this will be revisited for a number of years as there is a long programme of areas who want to be surveyed. 

 

Q – Can we see a list of all the zones that are going to be introduced and dates of when this will happen?

A – There are several areas that are being consulted at the moment but it is impossible to give dates until the outcome of the consultation is known. It may be that some areas do not want it.

 

Specific questions relating to the new ‘2 hour for residents’ zones:

Q – eg Is the restriction for ‘permit holders" between 5am- 7pm or 5pm-7pm? 

A - It’s a 2 hour zone from 5pm- 7pm but national regulations dictate how it looks on a sign. 

 

Q - Does that mean a permit holder can only park between those times? 

A - No, a permit holder can park in the zone for 24 hours a day but from 5pm-7pm it’s ONLY permit holders who can park in the zone. 

 

Q - How long can non permit holders park for? 

A - They can park for as long as they want EXCEPT between 5pm-7pm.

 

Q - Why only 2 hours? Surely that won’t make a difference? 

A - This aims to prevent long-term parking, which can be associated with non-residents who may leave their vehicles parked for several days, weeks or even months without moving them. Preventing parking for extended periods of time enables a regular turnover of parking spaces in the area, which increases their availability for residents and local visitors. This style of zone worked really well when MC Zone was last in place 4 years ago and residents in the new MB (4-6pm) and MC Zones (5-7pm) implemented in Jan 2019 are overwhelmingly reporting that they are working well now.

 

Q - I’m not usually home by 7pm so it won’t make any difference to me. 

A - The 5-7pm window aims to improve parking opportunities when the demand is highest but the main benefit will come from the spaces available for reasons detailed above. Once the zone is in place, it can be reviewed and the times amended if it is not achieving it’s purpose. 

 

Q - Has this model been used before? Other models round the city are 3 hrs maximum for non residents 

A - Yes, and this model is more efficient to enforce as enforcement staff do not have to give each vehicle 1-3 hours from first observation before returning to see if it is still present, thus providing a more effective scheme for those with permits. 

 

Q – Why don’t the Council stop more houses being built without parking and limit new housing full stop?

A – The Council has limited powers to insist on parking provision for new housing. The government consider HMOs have no additional impact on parking and will not uphold decisions made by the city's Planning Committee to refuse applications in the majority of situations where parking is not included, especially near bus routes and train stations. The government also set house building targets for the city, not the Council.

The Lib Dem-run Council will continue to listen to local residents and positive suggestions to improve the RPZs will be taken on board and given proper consideration.

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