OWNERS of caravans and trailers have been barred from keeping them on the side of the road in an effort to tackle parking congestion.
Portsmouth City Council has ruled that leaving non-motorised vehicles parked on roads for long periods of time is an ‘unreasonable use of the public highway’.
The council has identified 50 caravans, boats, horseboxes and trailers whose owners will now be issued notices letting them know they must be moved within 28 days.
If the council does not hear from the vehicles’ owners, they will be removed and then destroyed after a fortnight.
This is allowed under section 143 of the Highways Act 1980, which states that unauthorised structures capable of causing an obstruction can be removed from the highway.
A report drawn up by city council officers said: ‘The storage of unmoving structures for unlimited periods on the public highway prevents its use by other motor vehicles and causes inconvenience and frustration to Portsmouth residents.
‘Opportunities for parking are reduced for residents’ vehicles, which are subject to road fund licence, insurance and MOT costs.’
It also lists potential vandalism and even build ups of rubbish and vermin as reasons to remove such vehicles from the city’s roads.
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Portsmouth has long-term issues with parking and it does seem unreasonable for people to leave their caravans or trailers on the road all year round.’
Traffic and transport spokesman for the Conservative opposition, Cllr Luke Stubbs, said he agreed with the policy.
‘I think in much of the city it is necessary,’ he said. ‘There is really only room in most roads for people to park one or maybe two vehicles outside.
‘The concern is that this could lead to people just parking in Fareham or somewhere else.’
Hilsea ward councillor Frank Jonas said he had experienced the problem in his ward.
‘It is a good idea,’ he said. ‘At the moment there is nothing to stop me just parking my caravan outside your house indefinitely.
‘This will hopefully free up some much-needed parking spaces.’
In what it calls the ‘worst case scenario’ the council calculates that in the policy’s first year removal, storage and disposal could cost it £5,050.