Council must act quickly to resolve issue of ‘free-for-all’

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There is understandable concern over what has been described as a parking ‘free-for-all’ on Hayling seafront.

In an area where tourism is so important to the local economy, anything that may deter people from visiting has to be a worry.

So it’s not surprising that the problem of people living in motor homes and other converted vehicles at Beachlands has prompted locals to call on Havant Borough Council to do something urgently.

For one thing, it’s unsightly to have people setting up home on four wheels in a small car park by the beach – one man has even done so in a converted lorry.

But this is about much more than aesthetics and preserving the attractiveness of the area. There is also the issue of a parking policy that some say is not being enforced properly, with people effectively camping, not parking.

Motor home parking is restricted to 72 hours and people have to pay an overnight charge, but as a lorry is not a registered motor home the owner only has to pay a season ticket of between £70 and £100 to stay all year round.

Then there’s the question of safety. Resident Nick Kingston tells today how his disabled daughter was nearly hit as a campervan zoomed across disabled spaces in the congested car park at West Beach.

Local windsurfer Andy Gibbs says: ‘To me the real thing here is about ensuring that we maintain a safe and family-friendly environment, allowing the best access to the beach for everyone.’

He’s right. The present situation is potentially damaging to Hayling and needs regulating to reduce the risk of accidents and defuse tension.

We urge the council to act quickly and resolve this issue before it escalates any further.