CAMPAIGNERS will appear before a council in a bid to reverse its decision to bring an end to overnight parking at a seaside beauty spot.
It comes after more than 3,500 people signed a petition to overturn Havant Borough Council’s (HBC) ban at the Beachlands West car park on Hayling Island.
The site was previously a hotspot for motor home and camper van users from Hampshire and beyond, who could pay £15-a-night to stay there.
But because of the 18-month ban, made effective on August 13, petitioners claim they and local businesses could be set to take a hit over the next year-and-a-half.
Mother-of-two Miranda Diboll, who owns a Mazda Bongo camper van, created the petition in July and will oppose the ban before full council on Wednesday, from 5pm.
‘I’ve visited Hayling Island a number of times this summer with my nine-year-old daughter and she has loved it,’ said the 43-year-old from West Sussex.
‘We stay overnight because some of us who travel from afar don’t necessarily want to drive back late.
‘But this ban means we won’t be able to visit as much, which is sad for us, but also because I think some businesses nearby will notice a difference in their takings.
‘And that won’t just be in the summer, the nature of our vehicles mean we often stay there in winter too.’
According to HBC, the ban was brought in after fears arose from a fire safety assessment brought to a cabinet meeting in June.
The report found motor homes must be parked between four and six metres away from one another, which is allegedly ‘difficult to enforce’ at Beachlands West because there are no marked bays.
But Ms Diboll – backed by fellow members of the Southern Bongo Group – have dubbed the finding a ‘red herring’.
She said: ‘Owners take pride in their vehicles and they take pride in fire safety. This is no different to the fact that people who have beach huts are able to cook inside as well.’
Ms Diboll said she and other campaigners will search for an ‘agreed resolution’ with HBC.
In relation to the ban, known as an ‘experimental order’, cabinet lead for neighbourhoods, safety and enforcement, Narinder Bains, said HBC takes safety ‘extremely seriously'.
On what to expect at Wednesday’s meeting, she said: ‘The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes. The council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting.
‘They may decide to take the action the petition requests, not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee.’
She added: ‘If residents want to comment on [the ban] then a consultation is running from now until February 10, 2019 and comments can be made online.’
To make a comment on the consultation, copy and paste havant.gov.uk/traffic-regulation-orders into your web browser.
Ms Diboll’s petition is available to view at change.org/p/havant-borough-council-no-ban-on-overnight-parking-on-west-beach-hayling-island