FREELOADING motorists are nearing the end of the road for free parking across Winchester.

The city council is drawing up plans to clamp down on drivers parking for nothing on land at council housing schemes.

The authority says that some 200 spaces are at risk of being misused by drivers, including commuters and students.

Now the council is to consult tenants on introducing permit parking on 16 housing estates across the district.

The cabinet (housing) committee heard that many savvy drivers know that the council cannot legally enforce any restrictions on parking.

The committee heard that there are 616 properties affected and with some works the 204 parking bays could be increased to around 320.

The 16 schemes are: Fulflood Court, Greenhill Road, Fulflood; Albert Court, Andover Road: St Johns Street; Valley Court, The Valley, Stanmore; Penton Place/Test House/Meon House on Milland Road, Highcliffe; Mildmay Court, Eastgate Street; Richard Moss House, St Peter Street; Danemark Court, Gordon Road, Hyde; Matilda Place, Gordon Road, Hyde; Hyde Gate; Winnall flats, Winnall Manor Road.

In Stanmore: Lent Hill Court; Lisle Court; Woolford Close and Thurmond Crescent.

In Wickham: Normandy Court, Station Close.

Housing manager Richard Botham said the schemes have parking but the council has no means to actually control it without a traffic management order.

For the first year the parking permits would be free but afterwards the charge could be around £50 a year, the committee heard.

The problem is particularly acute at Greyfriars on Friarsgate close to the city centre. A TMO has been recently introduced there. Mr Botham said the scheme could be extended to other places such as Hyde Lodge.

Council leader Caroline Horrill said: “We want or tenants to be able to park effectively. But without enforcement action people can get free parking.

“This is a positive step forward in trying to address the issue in a number of locations. We can put up signs but when people realise there is no enforcement it is a free-for-all

Cllr Jamie Scott said he was pleased the council could introduce restrictions on parking on grass verges.

Michael Fawcitt and Monica Gill, members of the council-tenants liaison group TACT, said they supported the measures.

As well as Greyfriars restrictions are being put in place along Chilcomb Lane at Bar End. Residents-only parking has been a feature in the city now for some 20 years.