Angry motorhome owners claim they have been discriminated against through the introduction of height barriers on council-run coastal carparks.
A number of regular visitors to the east coast have complained they can no longer park up to enjoy the views around Huttoft and Anderby due to Lincolnshire County Council’s recent crackdown on unauthorised campers.
While many agree there has been a problem with disreputable visitors staying on site, they feel that ‘legitimate’ motor home owners, such as themselves, have been unfairly tarred with the same brush.
“We totally agree that having vagrants living on the terrace is not on and we can’t believe that it’s been allowed to go on for so long,” said Spalding resident Paul Marriott who regularly visits the coast with his partner Karen Dawson.
“But we feel that this is an over-reaction and we have been discriminated against.
“We’re only asking for the barriers to be open during the daytime so we can enjoy these wonderful views.”
Paul and a number of other aggrieved visitors held a ‘peaceful protest’ at Huttoft Car Terrace recently to highlight their concerns, which they fear could also impact upon disabled people and nursing homes visiting in minibuses.
Retired couple Pauline Sands and Thomas Leach claim the council’s criticism of motorhome owners led to people persecuting them as though they were travellers.
“People are actually tormenting us because they think we’re travellers because of all this,” said Pauline.
“I’ve worked 45 years of my life, paid my dues and now we’re just trying to get out a little bit in our retirement.”
Lincolnshire County Council installed the barriers at Huttoft Car Terrace, Marsh Yard, Anderby Creek, Chapel Six Marshes and Wolla Bank, in response to complaints that people had been staying on site for weeks and months at a time.
Executive member for the environment Coun Colin Davie has defended the decision as a necessary means to end the illegal practice, which he says has resulted in nearby residents being ‘intimidated’ by unwanted visitors.
“The bottom line is that we have had to secure the sites because of motorhome owners abusing the situation,” he said.
“When we feel that we can deal with them responsibly then we can look at opening access again.
“My responsibility is to look after the interests of the many, not the few and there are a good many law abiding visitors who want to come to our coastline and should be able to park up without a small number of motorhomes making their stay unpleasant.
“They want to get something for nothing rather than pay to use an authorised camp site.
“We’ve even had instances of mindless criminal damage where people have broken the barriers and flung them into the sea - at the end of the day that’s taxpayers who will have to foot the bill.”