BeachBuggin’ show ‘will not be going ahead’ in Portsmouth after dispute

A customised VW Beetle at 'BeachBuggin'.''Picture: Allan Hutchings
A customised VW Beetle at 'BeachBuggin'.''Picture: Allan Hutchings
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A POPULAR annual event featuring campervans and buggies will not be returning this year, following a dispute between organisers and Portsmouth City Council.

BeachBuggin’ organisers claim the constraints on the event that the council wants to impose would undermine the values of the show, with changes to charity sponsorship, volunteers, dates and costs.

The event has been running for 18 years and takes place on Southsea Common.

In a post on Facebook, organiser Allyson O’Connor said: ‘There will be a huge increase in costs because of the various hoops we are being asked to jump through.

‘Portsmouth City Council has said we can only sponsor charities within the PO1 to PO6 postcode.

‘This means that 80 per cent of the charities we have sponsored in the past would not have met this criteria – Rowans Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support, Aidan’s Walking Fund, Cancer Research Campaign, Naomi House, Hayling Island Hedgehogs, Kings Arms Young Carers, Hayling Island Scouts and so on.

‘It was evident that the use of volunteers was not supported at all by PCC and seemed to be completely frowned upon - the bottom line is we simply can’t run this show without volunteers.

‘Even after 18 years of holding the show in Portsmouth and for the past eight years on the same date, the council bump us at the drop of hat, we will get bumped each time a show wants the dates we have booked.’

In a post on Portsmouth City Council’s Facebook page Councillor Linda Symes said: ‘Portsmouth City Council has no objection to money being raised for charity, including those outside of the city such as the Rowans Hospice or Scout Groups based in Hayling Island.

‘The event has grown in popularity and numbers of people attending the event is now in excess of 5000. We have to make sure adequate safety measures are in place.

‘Last year there were issues including vehicle movements directly adjacent to the War Memorial on the seafront. Clearly this is a very sensitive area of the common, and we need to ensure the area is properly managed.

‘The council has not requested a gated event, the fact the event is open and not fenced in, works well. We did however request that the War Memorial was sectioned off with fencing.

‘We are happy to offer support to the organisers to assist them with the background work required, including the preparation of the traffic management plans. We invited the organiser to a meeting to discuss safety plans and ideas.

‘Portsmouth City Council hopes Beach Buggin will meet with us as a matter of urgency and take up our offer of help so this popular event can continue.’