A Parking Strategy is required for Portsmouth, to provide an integrated approach to parking across the city, supporting the Portsmouth Transport Strategy (Local Transport Plan 4). There will be a number of daughter strategies of LTP4, with the Parking Strategy the first of these daughter strategies to be developed. LTP4 includes the four strategic objectives of:

  • Deliver cleaner air
  • Prioritise walking and cycling
  • Transform public transport
  • Support business and protect our assets

Whilst there is some overlap between these objectives, the Parking Strategy primarily sits under the strategic objective of ‘Deliver Cleaner Air’. It will include a focus on encouraging sustainable  growth and regeneration, improving the quality of life for residents and visitors (as regards to parking) and supporting improvements to air quality and reductions to carbon emissions.


It is recognised that there are many challenges related to parking and parking issues in Portsmouth, with a variety of competing wants and needs. The city is densely populated with a population of 208,100 in 2021 (source – ONS Census Population data, quote on the PCC Portsmouth Demography webpage), estimated to grow to over 236,000 by 2041 (source Portsmouth LTP4). Furthermore, the Spatial Position Statement prepared for the Partnership for South Hampshire has predicted significant additional growth in Portsmouth’s travel to work area up to 2034. With the majority of the city being based on an island, there is limited road space and little room to expand, leading to parking space availability being problematic in many parts of the city. In many areas of Portsmouth, the terraced housing layout means there is only room for one car outside a house, with no off-road parking option. According to the 2021 census, there are now more cars registered to households in the city than there are occupied homes. With car and van ownership rising, on-street parking demand exceeds supply.

Private cars are considered by many as the most convenient choice over sustainable and active modes of travel, and demand for car parking for private vehicles is high. LTP4 identified some 40,000 commuters travelling into the city for work, the majority by private car (with the level of people commuting by train only about a third of the national average). These figures support the need for improved sustainable and active travel options to support behaviour change and provide alternative travel choices to the private car. As noted in the Portsmouth Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy 2019, there are some 7,500 businesses operating in the city, with the city attracting some 9.3 million visitors per year.

With limited highway space and competing demands for different modes of travel, there can be a resistance to reallocate on-street parking from private motor vehicles to other transport modes. A balance is required that recognises the needs of all users.

In delivering the council’s ambition to encourage residents to use their cars less within the city and to gradually move to increased walking, cycling and using public transport, it will mean some people will leave their cars at home more often. The council will need to support this mode shift through enabling residents to be able to park near their homes in residential areas whilst promoting the use of alternative modes for short trips.

Portsmouth City Council has a lack of control over a significant proportion of commercial car parks, particularly in the city centre, and therefore has limited influence over parking provision and pricing at many car parks in the city.

The Portsmouth Park and Ride is an effective travel option for people travelling from outside the city, or from the north part of the city, but it is not considered a viable travel option for residents living on the island part of the city at the present time.


The parking strategy will be considered as part of a clear set of policies for future regeneration and growth in the city. As such the council will look to ensure that the objectives in the strategy are embedded into any relevant future initiatives and schemes. The parking strategy will aim to support the work of many departments across the council. To give just a few examples, parking is an important consideration:

  • In making Portsmouth a more sustainable and healthier city (supporting amongst other aspirations the commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2030, the projects to reduce air
    pollution and the work to improve public health)
  • At many council sites and locations, including the council’s Housing, Culture and Leisure sites
  • In determining planning policy and in considering planning applications
  • In the day-to-day work of various transport teams, particularly the parking team
  • In the work of economic development/business and tourism colleagues to ensuring the vitality and viability of businesses in the city

Objectives and policies

Three draft strategic objectives have been developed for the draft Portsmouth Parking Strategy, each designed to meet several of the challenges that have been identified. Under each objective there are several supporting policies, detailing the practical measures that will contribute towards meeting the objectives.

Objective 1: Encourage sustainable development, regeneration and prosperity in Portsmouth through effective management of parking.

This objective will work towards supporting economic development in the city through effective parking management, striving to contribute to regeneration, considering the role that parking can play in improving the prosperity of the city.

Policy A: Expand the Portsmouth Park and Ride to create a transport hub.

The council will support the expansion of the Portsmouth Park and Ride to make it the primary parking choice for commuters, shoppers, and visitors, especially for medium and long-term parking needs.

  • This policy is designed to facilitate redevelopment and regeneration in the city centre as well as reducing pollution and congestion.
  • Development of a transport hub at the site to include a range of sustainable transport options, including shared bikes, rental e-scooters and car club vehicles.
  • Promotion of the hub to businesses, visitors and residents to encourage usage.
  • Consideration of potential expansion of park and ride routes in the future
  • This policy is adopted Policy D of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy

Policy B: Explore and implement sustainable parking initiatives to enable city centre development.

This policy will include a review of public city centre car parks to consider their costs, quality and location and improved sustainable travel choices in the central area of the city.

  • Designed to complement city centre regeneration proposals, including the potential re-purposing of areas of public domain and some city centre car parks, for example to enable the redevelopment of the former Tricorn and Sainsbury’s sites.
  • Supports greater provision of improved sustainable travel choices to the city centre.
  • Will involve collection of comprehensive data on the usage, quality and location of city centre car parks

Policy C: Facilitate economic activity through tailored parking solutions for short- and medium-term parking needs.

Parking provision will vary according to local needs.

In the city centre and harbour we will facilitate parking for short-stay shoppers and leisure visits in the city centre and harbour areas, both during the day and evening.

At the seafront we will provide parking options for short to medium-stay visits related to leisure, tourism, and business purposes, whilst also supporting parking for travel to and from the Isle of Wight.

In local district centres we will support parking for short to medium-stay visits by shoppers, leisure users, and commuters.

This means policies will be tailored to reflect each area. Local policies to be continually reviewed to reflect changes and developments.

Objective 2: Support the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors through flexible and clear parking systems, using new technologies.

This policy will utilise new technologies to support improvements to parking, considering the needs of all who travel in the city, including residents, businesses and visitors, taking a range of travel  modes into consideration.

Policy D: Utilise smart technologies and data.

The council will investigate and utilise smart parking technologies, including the provision of information to drivers regarding car park space availability.

  • Designed to improve the parking experience by using smart technology to help to reduce the time spent searching for a parking space.
  • Should help to reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

Policy E: Continue to implement and promote flexible use of kerbside space.

The council will review the priority uses for kerbside space in locations where there are competing needs. At certain locations this will need flexible use across the day which could include private vehicle parking (to include varying user groups at different times), drop off and pick up, and loading, unloading and deliveries to businesses.

  • There are multiple demands for kerbside space
  • Greater consideration of changing requirements could improve efficiency and ease congestion at key locations
  • This policy is derived from adopted Policy R of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy

Policy F: Ensure regular review of Residents’ Parking Zones across the city

The council will prioritise on-street parking in residential areas for local needs, and will keep permit arrangements, including the size and type of vehicle, the cost of permits, the size of the parking zone, and the number of permits allowed per household, under regular review.

  • The limited parking availability in many residential areas of the city can be a pressing concern to residents
  • The council will continue to consider residential parking zones where required
  • Permit arrangements will be kept under review
  • This policy is derived from adopted Policy C of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy

Objective 3: Improve air quality and reductions in carbon emissions through utilising parking to support development of sustainable travel as an attractive choice for residents, visitors and businesses.

This policy will have a focus on supporting sustainable travel options with regards to parking requirements, helping to make sustainable travel a more attractive and easy option.

Policy G: Develop an attractive package of sustainable travel options.

The council will promote a package of attractive alternative travel modes, with a focus on areas of parking congestion. The package will include:

  • Prioritising road space for active travel such as walking and cycling, and public transport
  • Implement on-street and off-street parking provision (including at local sustainable transport mobility hubs) for shared transport options like car club vehicles, e-scooters and bike hire.
  • The council will provide more sustainable transport choices for residents, visitors and people who work in the city to reduce the number of private motor vehicles on the road
  • The council will look to expand multi-modal parking and transport options such as shared bikes, rental e-scooters and car clubs
  • The council will also support improvements to walking, cycling and public transport.
  • This policy is derived from adopted Policy C of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy

Policy H: Explore private non-residential parking restrictions.

The Council will investigate the potential for a workplace parking levy in Portsmouth from which any money raised would be put back directly into funding further improvements to public and sustainable transport. This would be undertaken in close consultation with businesses to ensure that it does not negatively impact the economy and offers benefits to businesses which could include reusing land more productively, ensuring a healthier more productive workforce, and providing more efficient transport networks.

  •  A workplace parking levy could help to reduce the congestion and air pollution generated by work related traffic.
  • The council will research the need for, and implementation of a levy in consultation with key stakeholders, including the business community and the other Local Transport Authorities in the Solent Transport partnership.
  • This is adopted Policy E of the Portsmouth Transport Strategy.