Farham City Council now charges drivers at Wicor Leisure Park.
Council leaders met on Monday, April 3rd and approved the reclassification of the Wicor Recreation Area as a waterfront car park, which would result in the fees recently raised by the council.
At the beginning of the meeting, it was indicated that a petition would be considered to “clean out” the proposal, which had received 1,796 signatures.
The recreation area is home to Portchester Football Club, which currently tops the Wessex League Premier Division – fans and club officials have objected to the plans.
Trever Deacon, CFO of AFC Portchester, expressed his “disappointment” with the proposal to the Executive Committee.
“The club’s activities promote health and well-being and provide vital mental health support to the thousands of people who play and watch football every week,” he said.
“We don’t think this should be categorized as a waterfront car park – its almost exclusive use is recreational, the original intent was to walk the dog, play football, watch football, use the skate park and other activities.”
Hampshire councilor Roger Price added: “This is an ill-conceived idea that will create parking problems on nearby streets and greatly upset many residents for little financial benefit to Fareham City Council.
“The outrage of the locals can be seen in the large number of people who signed the petition.
“It appears that Fareham City Council may not be able to satisfy its residents in this situation, but it values money over a contentious community as poor parking is caused by these ill-conceived changes.”
A total of six written and personal objections were filed, in addition to clerks Harry Davis, Katrina Trott, Paul Nother and Chrissie Bainbridge, who opposed the plan.
The executive members explained that the proposal is in response to the financial difficulties the council is facing, including an expected deficit of £6 million over the next five years.
Cllr Joan Burton, head of health and public safety, said: “I want to remind people that parking fees are not for profit, but to provide and maintain council services.
“Season passes have been very good – for less than £2 a week you only need to use this car park for two hours or less a week to improve your financial situation.”
The deputies unanimously approved.
Author: Toby Payne