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Parking permit plan to be scrapped?
IT is the controversial plan that caused an outcry.
Plans to charge Southampton residents £30 to park outside their own homes were greeted with a wall of criticism and slammed as a “second tax” on residents.
But now the Daily Echo can reveal that the scheme is set for a largescale review following the backlash – and the charges could even be scrapped in some areas.
As previously reported, Labour council chiefs unveiled the scheme to charge £30 annually for first residents’ permits in 13 existing permit zones, while a £15 threemonth temporary residents’ permit would also be introduced.
The council says introducing the charge would help to cover the costs of funding parking management across the city and could bring in £130,000 annually.
But furious residents living in affected roads said the proposal was discriminatory on those living in certain areas of the city and accused the council of bringing in a “divide and rule” tax.
A petition objecting to the plans was signed by 143 Newtown residents and handed in to the council.
Meanwhile, residents in Dale Valley Road submitted a petition with 233 signatures objecting to the plans, and a deputation of residents addressed council chiefs, urging a public vote to see whether residents wanted a scheme or not.
The permit scheme in their road was introduced in the early 1990s after nearby Southampton General Hospital introduced parking charges, causing knock-on issues in surrounding roads. But now parking trouble in the area has eased, residents believe they are being penalised by being charged when there is no need for a parking scheme any more.
Council environment and transport boss Jacqui Rayment said the review of all 13 permit zones would be carried out “early next year”, adding: “It will give us an opportunity to amend, extend and – if the residents so choose – put an end to particular parking zones.”
But Labour’s decision to look again at the idea has been branded an “embarrassing climbdown” by opposition politicians.
Royston Smith, Tory leader, said: “They have been dragged to a review against their will. It’s a ridiculous situation. They have absolutely no idea what they are doing.”
But city council leader Simon Letts refuted the accusation and said: “It is not a climbdown – it’s an acceptance of the reality of where we are.
“If people genuinely don’t want a scheme in their area, it seems fair enough to say that they don’t want them, but I would think most people will want to keep the schemes for the reasons they were introduced in the first place.”
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