WINCHESTER residents have blasted the city council for allowing a “parking invasion” of their streets after the upgrade of playing fields.

People living in the Highcliffe area are complaining about the problems on local roads following the increased use of the King George V field at Bar End.

The issue came to a head on Saturday and Sunday September 8-9 with the opening of the improved facilities at KGV. KGV will be the new home for the Winchester City Flyers girls football teams. There are only 20 parking spaces at the field itself.

Highcliffe resident Janet Elloway told the Chronicle: “On Milland, Vale and Portal Roads residents were inundated with vehicles parked by people inside KGV. They parked on pavements, on yellow lines on corners, across residents’ driveways, and in the morning whilst dropping children off, they pulled up and acted in the same manner, parking everywhere that suited.

“Parking on the pavement on corners, forcing oncoming cars to take corners on the wrong side of the road, doing three-point turns in the road way approaching KGV, showing total disregard to residents living in close vicinity.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “The council has been asleep over this. They need to sort this out pronto.”

At the town forum, Susan Croker, head of landscapes and open spaces, said traffic had been well-managed on the Saturday but “not so well” on the Sunday.

Local residents are calling for residents-only parking to be extended to force people to use the nearby park and ride.

The criticism comes after the town forum heard Lib Dem councillors complain of a lack of coordination between the new £38m plans for a sports centre and the revamp of the adjacent King George V (KGV) playing fields.

The city is missing the chance for a proper new sports and leisure park, the town forum heard.

Cllr Liz Hutchison told the town forum: “I cannot understand why not design it as a whole. At the moment it is a hotch potch, and not looking at the area as a whole. We are missing an opportunity to create with the leisure centre a proper leisure and sports park.

“This is a very important site but there isn’t an overall vision.”

Cllr Martin Tod agreed: “I’m disappointed we are not making the most of the whole site. There has been talk about how to divide the leisure centre from KGV with fences walls and gates. It is a missed opportunity.”

But Cllr Guy Ashton, portfolio holder for finance, disagreed. “The two schemes are working together perfectly well.”

Ms Croker said: “We have worked closely with the leisure centre team to try to link the two sites. We hope we are achieving that, to deliver that joined-up approach.”

The forum also heard Ms Croker report on the proposed improvements to the KGV field and local area. A public consultation in July attracted more than 50 people.

Ideas for an improved play area in Gordon Avenue due this financial year will be put before the public this financial year.

Ms Croker said one idea from a public consultation on the future of the KGV playing field was that Gordon Avenue should be aimed at younger children and KGV at older ones.

The pitches at KGV have been upgraded for the arrival of the girls’ football teams. That was celebrated at a football tournament reported in the Chronicle last week.

The council was addressing public concerns about the likely increase in traffic. In the long term the entrance to KGV from Milland Road in Highcliffe needed to be addressed.

The Allegra’s Ambition charity has plans for a fitness trail to link KGV and the proposed leisure centre on the Garrison Ground off Bar End Road.

The council is looking to build a new pavilion which could be used by footballers, cricketers and boxers.

On the parking issue, the council said yesterday: “Winchester City Council will be starting a consultation towards the end of September with Highcliffe residents to consider if further on-street parking restrictions and/ or amendments to existing restrictions are required in the area. This will consider the impact of activities which already take place in the area and the potential new sport and leisure centre.

“As part of the improvements to the King George V playing fields (KGV) and whilst considering a potential new pavilion the council will also consider the feasibility of improving the access to KGV.

“This month the council will also begin preparatory works to build a linking path from KGV and the Garrison Ground. This commitment made by the council as part of the proposed Winchester Sport and Leisure Park development and agreed Design Framework. It will provide an important pedestrian link for sports teams using KGV, who currently park at Bar End Park & Ride, as well as an additional route for recreational walkers and local residents.”