Forty motorhome owners summonsed over car park camping in Lincolnshire

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: June 23, 2014

Forty motorhome owners summoned to court over car parking camping in Lincolnshire

Comments (15)Council bosses are set for a courtroom showdown with more than 40 motorists who have allegedly parked illegally overnight in a coastal car park.Lincolnshire County Council says it has “simply had enough” of people camping out in car parks, claiming it is damaging the tourism industry.The authority is set to send out court summonses to about 40 people, who are believed to be mostly motorhome owners, in the next few days.Campaigners who believe drivers should be able to park at night have staged a number of sit in protests over the issue during the last six months.

And they say they would welcome being taken to court by the council.

Cllr Colin Davie, the council’s executive member for tourism, said: “We have simply had enough of the continuing situation that has gone on since the beginning of the warmer weather.

“Last year we had about 50 people camping there almost permanently but these are meant to be facilities for everyone to enjoy. There are about 40 people who are going to be receiving a court summons in the next few days and we will be pressing the court for the maximum penalty.

“We will not let a small group of people harm our tourism industry.”

So far, attempts by LCC to prevent overnight parking have proved unsuccessful, with height restriction barriers erected and cut down at different car parks on several occasions, costing the taxpayer more than £35,000.

Vehicle owners in favour of overnight parking in the car parks staged their latest demonstration last weekend at Huttoft Car Terrace, where a ‘no parking’ sign stating the bylaws was taken down and further parking notices where issued. Despite recent unrest, council officers hope the threat of prosecution and a potential fine of up to £500 will dissuade campers from breaching restrictions.

Stephen Palmer, Lincolnshire county councillor for Alford and Sutton on Sea, said he supported LCC’s tough stance. “This issue has been going on for years and a lot of residents have said to me, ‘what are you going to do about these free-loaders?” he said.

“After doing some investigation I found a bloke who had lived at Huttoft Car Terrace for three years. Another had built a fence around his vehicle and there was also a postman who was being asked to deliver mail there.

“By dominating the car terrace they are intimidating people, many of whom will not go up there anymore.”

Motorhome owners warned the prosecutions will have a negative impact on East Lindsey’s valuable tourism industry.

The Camping Club UK said in a statement: “It is generally the older generation who have motorhomes and they are the ones with spare money.

“If they are being pushed away that money is going to go elsewhere. If they don’t want it all over the coastline then they should set up one specific car park with a fee to stay overnight, even if it is £7 or £10. I know they do it on the continent and it brings tourists in.”

Andy Strangeway is an overnight parking campaigner from Yorkshire who was part of the demonstration last weekend. He believes the prosecutions will fail and has invited LCC to take him to court.

He said: “The legislation LCC has used is with regards to pleasure grounds only. I have no doubt this legislation will not stand up in a court of law. This is a massive PR disaster – this is sabre rattling. They can take me to court, I’m quite happy.”

The bylaws introduced by Lincolnshire County Council in October last year, prohibit leaving a vehicle in specific East Lindsey car parks between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

All the prosecutions relate to breaches at Huttoft Car Terrace, between Mablethorpe and Skegness.

It will be the first time council officers have mounted a legal challenge against overnight parking since the bylaws came into effect.

Details of the vehicles were passed to the council by police. The owners will now be sent an order to appear before Skegness Magistrates’ Court.

If found guilty, the motorhome owners will face a maximum fine of £500.

The six sites affected by the bylaws are Anderby Creek, Wolla Bank, Marsh Yard, Moggs Eye, Huttoft Car Terrace and Chapel Six Marsh.
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