MOTORHOME owners have had their plea to overturn an overnight parking ban at a seaside hotspot rejected.
Councillors last night threw their weight behind an ‘experimental order’ to forbid overnight parking for motorhomes at the Beachlands West car park on Hayling Island.
The Havant Borough Council (HBC) measure came into effect on August 13, but was met by a backlash from motor home owners across the south coast – who got behind a 3,500-signature petition to reverse it.
Having crossed HBC’s petition threshold by more than 2,500 signatures, the document’s objectives were debated and subsequently rejected at full council last night.
Mother-of-two and Mazda Bongo campervan owner, Miranda Diboll, created the petition and presented its case for five minutes.
‘Initially we were disappointed by the result,’ the 43-year-old from West Sussex said.
‘While Narinder Bains did, we feel some other councillors did not address the issues we raised.’
Presenting, Mrs Diboll spoke about HBC’s claim the site was ‘difficult’ to regulate while motorhome stays were permitted – playing down the authority’s fears vehicles staying at the site posed a fire and safety risk by parking too close together.
In a 15-minute debate, a number of councillors affirmed their support for the ban.
Cabinet lead for contracts and commercial services, Gary Hughes, said until August HBC had been ‘one of very few’ authorities to offer overnight stays – and said residents and councillors should be wary of ‘existing’ challenges at the Beachlands West car park, including high tides.
Meanwhile Cllr Clare Satchwell, of Hayling East, said she had previously seen the site in ‘chaos’ – packed with an ‘astonishing amount’ of motorhomes.
But despite a ‘night of initial disappointment’, Mrs Diboll said: ‘After the meeting we were called into an impromptu meeting with [HBC] chief executive Sandy Hopkins and James Hassett.
‘They both listened to our concerns and seemed serious to work with us and help reach a resolution before the ban is up. So it was a night of initial disappointment, but hope in the long run.’
The ban will last 18 months and will be followed by a review – which councillors last night said they were ‘happy’ to work with motorhome owners on.
Cllr Bains, HBC’s cabinet lead for neighbourhoods, safety and enforcement said: ‘We are working hard to ensure West Beach, Hayling Island can be everything residents and visitors want it to be, but the safety of our customers is paramount and will not be compromised.’