HUNDREDS of people are calling for new height barriers to be removed from entrances to car parks in Gosport.
Gosport Borough Council put in the height restrictions to deter travellers after spending £4,725 on removing and clearing up after a group last summer.
Stokes Bay is well-known but these barriers will discourage people to come here.Alan Rowland
But regular users of the car parks along the seafront at Stokes Bay say the new barriers will affect tourism in the area.
Alan Rowland, of Lee-on-the-Solent, has set up a petition.
He said: ‘There are a lot of people who travel down here from all over the country.
‘Stokes Bay is well-known but these barriers will discourage people to come here.
‘The barriers affect people with motorhomes, boats on their cars and surfboards on top of their roofs.
‘These are people who pay to use the car park, but now they don’t have a choice.’
Mr Rowland said he would often visit Stokes Bay in his motorhome and use it as a beach hut.
He added: ‘The waiting list for a beach hut is years and years. Using my motorhome means I can come down to the beach, enjoy the view and have a cup of tea.
‘It’s ridiculous to me that the council is using the excuse of potential travellers who might come to the car parks.’
Deborah Bull, who signed the petition, agreed.
She said: ‘It’s wrong to penalise a whole section of the community just because of the chance of the car park being misused by a minority.
‘Recreational vehicles should be allowed to park and enjoy a facility their owners have paid for.’
Other people who have signed the petition said it was ‘madness by the council’ and would ‘cause problems for the community’.
But council leader Mark Hook said it was wrong that taxpayers’ money was being used to clear up after travellers.
‘Last year the council spent £4,725 of officer time, court costs and clean-up on travellers who were on the Pebble Beach car park for a week,’ he said.
‘With that in mind, the barriers were a lot cheaper. We took the decision to install them for the protection of the public who use the car parks.’
Cllr Hook added the council was looking to make a designated area for motorhomes to park near the beach.
He said: ‘It’s a shame we’ve got to go down this route.’