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Parking 'impossible' at restored Sheffield works as commuters snap up cheaper spaces

Full parking bays outside Portland Works.
Full parking bays outside Portland Works.
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Parking has become 'impossible' for craftspeople and visitors at a revived metalworks in Sheffield according to directors who want a rethink following a change of rules.

On-street spaces for cars near Portland Works in Highfield are filled from morning to night, it is claimed, since the city council introduced a charge of £2.80 for 10 hours' parking last September.

Portland Works in Sheffield.

Portland Works in Sheffield.

Highfield - bounded by London Road, Queens Road and St Mary’s Gate - is a permit zone, and the council's normal price for pay and display bays in such areas is £4.50 for 10 hours.

Carl Whitham, a photographer based at the Grade II* listed building, said difficulties emerged once motorists realised a relative bargain was on offer.

"Within about 10 days to two weeks of people getting to know about this, it became the place to park for central Sheffield. It's positively promoting commuter parking in the city centre."

Portland Works has been most affected by changes to the tariff on bays immediately outside on Hill Street. The hourly rate also went up last year from 50p to 70p.

Full parking bays near Portland Works.

Full parking bays near Portland Works.

The council decided to charge a lower amount in Highfield because of a feeling that spaces there were under-used. It argues the criticism relates to just two bays with room for just 16 cars, in a zone with hundreds of spaces.

"This is simply not true," said Carl, a Portland board member. Parking was a struggle before, and 'now it's impossible', he added.

"Everybody turns up at 6.30 in the morning and puts a ticket on until six o'clock at night. I can't see how it creates more revenue for the council."

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport, tried to drop by to check on the situation but wound up parking at Sheffield United's football ground, Carl claimed.

"We've asked if it can go back to the original rate. At least it would put us in line with the other spaces in town, so we're not singled out as the place to go. Bringing the tariff up to £4.50 would probably help. But now people have got used to parking here all day I'm not sure it would make much difference. I would prefer it if they had the hourly rate of 70p and that was it.

"It's causing friction between people in Portland Works. We try to discourage parking within the works but we've reached a stage where no-one can park on the street."

There are 35 tenants at the complex, which was taken over five years ago by community shareholders who stopped the site from becoming flats and are running a big restoration programme.

Most tenants and other businesses now have year-round permits for the restricted parking spaces, so those are in short supply too. The opening of the Ozmen international supermarket nearby has also introduced more demand, Carl said.

Paul Fell, the council's strategic transport and infrastructure business manager, said: “Portland Works is to our knowledge the only business in the Highfield Parking Scheme who want to see a return to higher prices.

“We have had extensive conversations with the managers of Portland Works and reminded them that visitor parking permits are available at a cost of just 50p, and that there are a number of other parking options available to them in their area.

“Before the tariff change, the long-stay parking in Highfield was generally under-utilised as drivers could find cheaper parking nearby.

“The two parking bays that Portland Works have concerns about always allowed 10-hour stays. Drivers did not use this facility because of the cost but they are now doing so.”