Anger at workmen who are ‘living in motorhomes’ by lake

Motorhomes of contractors are lined up along the road next to Canoe Lake.
Motorhomes of contractors are lined up along the road next to Canoe Lake.

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NEIGHBOURS claim their road is being blighted by workmen living out of motor homes parked next to Southsea’s Canoe Lake.

Residents and councillors are worried about people using the vehicles as temporary accommodation in St Helen’s Parade, Southsea, taking up parking spaces and leaving mess on the road.

In 2011, Portsmouth City Council received similar complaints at the same location – which resulted in a group of people apparently living out of motor homes being warned they faced prosecution if they didn’t move on.

This time officers say they have not received any proof the problem has come back, so have appealed to residents to get in contact if they have evidence of it happening again.

But Michael Chivers, 72, of St Helen’s Parade, said it is already clear that the problem hasn’t gone away.

‘I have seen people living in them recently,’ he said. ‘The council served them with a notice and they went away for a while. I think they moved to a different part of the area, but now they’ve come back.

‘They are taking up parking spaces that should be for residents and visitors. The council needs to do something to stop street parking constantly being used by businesses like this.’

Newly-elected Lib Dem councillor for Eastney and Craneswater, Cllr Matthew Winnington, said he had been contacted by residents and was looking into what could be done.

‘It is a problem that has been flagged up,’ he said.

‘But if you have a bylaw in one area all it’s going to do is push the problem to somewhere else.

‘This could be going on in other parts of the city. But we do need to take action if people are living on the public highway like this.’

Michael Robinson, the council’s parking operations team manager, said: ‘We’re grateful to residents for drawing our attention to potential problems. We’ve been contacted about this, and we’ve looked into it thoroughly. We understand residents’ concerns.

‘It is an offence to live in a vehicle parked on the street, or run a business from it without a licence.

‘Last year we believed there were people living in vehicles in this area. We warned them that they could face legal action and they moved away.

‘At the moment we have no evidence that people are living in vehicles or running a business. We will keep an eye on the situation and welcome any evidence residents can offer.’