A CAR boot sale is to return to Southsea at the weekend, after mounting pressure from residents.
It will be held in Pier Road as a one-off trial to determine the demand for the return of such events axed by the Ministry of Defence this summer.
More than 1,000 signatures were collected as part of a petition to bring back the weekly summer events previously held on the MoD’s Clarence Playing Fields at Long Curtain Road, Southsea.
Desperate for their return, campaigners approached Portsmouth City Council’s seafront manager David Evans who agreed to the trial sale.
Cllr Jacqui Hancock, who is involved with the campaign, said: ‘If it all goes well then we hope to be able to host events throughout the summer next year and we will be able to get an early start on organising them.
‘If it’s really successful, we might even get to organise another few events this year before the good weather ends.’
The MoD claimed the ban on the sales was a result of lasting damage caused to its sports pitches, as previously reported in The News.
But a group of angry residents, city councillors and traders disputed these claims.
Having formerly been held in aid of United Services Sports Club, the car boot sale on Sunday will be held to raise funds for the Rowans Hospice.
Meanwhile there is a second campaign under way which launched after city council banned car boot sales on Castle Field last year for being ‘too downmarket’.
This campaign urges the council to allow car boot style stalls at charity fundraisers on Castle Fields, and has a petition of about 100 signatures supporting it.
Outraged protesters claim there has been a significant drop in the amount of charity fairs held on the field since the decision was made.
Steve Raven, 21, of St Ann’s Road, Southsea, said: ‘I’ve been going to fairs down there every year of my life and I’m sad to see that they are disappearing.
‘But without car boot stalls the charities just can’t make enough money to make it worthwhile putting on an event.’
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he is working with both groups to try to come up with a solution.
He said: ‘We are meeting them to see if we can accommodate what they want in a reasonable way. There are some things that we are not happy with, for example we don’t want people camping overnight, but we are happy to discuss alternatives.
‘There is clearly a group of people who like car boot sales and if it’s possible we will do what we can to make them happen.’