Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, 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.”
As the highways authority, Hampshire County Council is setting the principles and policy direction of the new service which, in most cases, will be delivered by the district and borough councils on behalf of the County Council through an agency agreement. In the Test Valley, New Forest, Gosport and Fareham areas of the county, Hampshire County Council has appointed national company NSL to manage on-street parking.
Councillor Humby continued: “Well managed parking can have a positive impact on the local economy, cut congestion and in turn improve air quality. Increasing the availability of on-street parking provision has the potential to reduce the time and distance travelled by drivers searching for a suitable and convenient place to park and improve access to high-demand parking spaces which, in turn, increases footfall for local businesses.
“It’s important to the local economy and helps our public transport to run on time. Hampshire residents and businesses are concerned about how we move around in our daily business and the impact this has on our economy, environment and local infrastructure.”
Changes will be made to on-street parking starting later this year in a number of locations across Hampshire which will see the introduction of pay-and-display. The first areas will include Lymington High Street, Marine Parade at Lee-on-the-Solent and a section of Fareham High Street, starting the roll-out of a county-wide programme. This will involve an initial free period of parking, followed by modest parking charges set at similar levels to nearby car parks. The County Council also has plans to pilot a number of on-street electric vehicle charging points to help meet increasing demand for electric vehicles.
Hampshire County Council will be introducing a digital permit system to replace the paper permits for residents living in Residential Parking Zones in Andover, Romsey, Fareham and the New Forest. The new system will be introduced on 1 April, but any existing paper permits will remain valid until the expiry date shown on the permit. The County Council’s parking team will shortly be writing to all residents living within Residential Parking Zones and these letters will provide information on how to apply for a new permit.
Local councils in other districts and boroughs across the county will continue to operate on-street parking on the County Council’s behalf, with an appropriate contribution to the County Council to cover the costs associated with on-street parking, such as the maintenance of signs and lines.
This does not affect off-street parking in public car parks which, in the majority of cases, is the responsibility of Hampshire’s district, borough and city councils.