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Go-ahead for free parking and community skips

Councillors have agreed plans to give drivers an hour's free parking, and to introduce free community skips for rubbish.

The decisions were taken at a special meeting of Gosport Borough Council last night.

The decision on parking means drivers will get one hour free in six Gosport town centre car parks. The move is designed to boost activity in the town centre and help businesses.

Six borough council short-stay car parks - Coates Road, Church Path, Minnitt Road, North Cross Street, North Loading Bay and South Street - currently charge 60p for the first hour and £1 for a maximum two-hour stay.

The new scheme will see the charge for the first hour scrapped. Two hours will still cost £1.

The council plans to recover lost income by increasing charges in long-stay town centre car parks by an average of 10.6%.

Councillors also agreed that charging at all council car parks will run from 8am to 7pm, extending the hours at Lee-on-the-Solent, Stokes Bay and Alver Valley car parks to bring them in line with others in the borough.

No increase in charges is proposed for seafront and Alver Valley car parks.

Disabled blue-badge holders and motorcyclists will still get free parking.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of the Council, said: "Introducing an hour's free parking will give our town centre a much-needed boost, bringing more life into the area and supporting traders and independent businesses.

"Long-stay parking will go up slightly, but this will hopefully deter people from outside the borough from driving into the town, increasing congestion, simply so they can shop in Portsmouth.

"This will be the first increase in our parking charges since January 2019."

Councillors also agreed to pursue a plan for a free community skip scheme, which would see skips available for bulky household items. Three skips would be regularly moved around the borough, giving residents in all areas the chance to use them.

The scheme is designed to reduce fly-tipping.

Council officers have been asked to report on the costs of the plan and how it would be run. The scheme could be under way on a trial basis this autumn.

Cllr Chegwyn said: "This scheme is something residents would really welcome. It would be convenient for them and could make a real difference to fly-tipping, which is something we're all concerned about these days."

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