Seafront car park ‘becoming a cheap holiday destination’

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CALLS have been made for changes to seafront parking – after claims some are using it as a cheap holiday destination.

Since last year people have been able to park motorhomes and camper vans for up to three days round-the-clock at West Beach car park on Hayling Island.

Caravans are also allowed as long as they are attached to the vehicle.

For disabled blue badge holders it’s free for the entire stay, while everyone else has to pay a £10 overnight charge.

But beach hut owner Susan Hay is calling for a rethink as she feels the rules are unfair.

Mrs Hay, 63, from Emsworth, pays around £1,000 a year to Havant Borough Council in rent for her beach hut, which is near the car park.

Mrs Hay, of Mill End, who has a disabled badge as she has bone cancer, said: ‘It’s a chock-a-block down here because people know it’s free.

‘If you went to any camp site, you would have to pay.

‘But Havant Borough Council have decided in their wisdom that if you are disabled, it’s free. If you have a campervan, which must cost at least £30,000, why should you not pay for parking?

‘To me it’s not fair. People with campervans should pay for parking, end of story in my opinion. I am disabled and I don’t pay for my car.

‘Campervans are a different ball game. To me it’s totally different.’

Until last year, parking overnight on any council-run car park on Hayling seafront was illegal under a bylaw, as is currently the case in Gosport and Portsmouth.

But the rules were rarely enforced. Last year the council decided to allow overnight parking, but only in West Beach car park and also with a charge.

Since then it has become a popular destination for motorhome owners.

It became so popular this year that the council is set to increase the overnight charge for people without blue badges from £10 to £20 for peak season.

It comes after local caravan site owners complained the car park was undercutting their prices and they were losing business.

The car park has a toilet and waste facilities, but council officials have stressed it is not a camp site and the same safety regulations do not apply.

It is understood the no return time after 72 hours is 24 hours.

Subject to final approval, the new charges are set to come into force on July 1, but disabled parking will remain free. Cllr David Collins, who oversees parking in Havant borough, was unavailable for comment.

Hayling Cllr Andy Lenaghan said: ‘We talked about charging blue badge holders at Beachlands before and there was a public outcry.

‘We listened to what people said and we decided not to proceed with it.’

He added that he believed the council should look at the issue of overnight parking again.

‘Maybe that’s an area we should revisit,’ he said.

‘Obviously with a motorhome there’s more than one occupant and only one has to be disabled.’