Height barriers have been installed at six seaside car parks in Skegness in a bid to prevent unauthorised occupation.
The barriers cost East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) £35,000, with the authority describing them as a ‘cost effective solution’ preventing further misuse.
Placed on entrances to North Parade, Princes Parade, Pierside, Festival, Swimming Pool and Scarbrough Avenue, the barriers will be permanent all-year round fixtures.
An ELDC spokesman said: “The council gave a commitment to the community that it would take action to improve foreshore car park security and it is doing so with the installation of height barriers to help prevent unauthorised occupation.”
The decision was made by ELDC’s executive board in January, after a community consultation including with residents, the National Motorhome Organisation, Disability Lincs, and the Friends, Family and Travellers Community Base.
The report to councillors said Princes Parade car park had twice been occupied by a significant group of travellers in the last 18 months - in excess of 80 caravans and attendant vehicles present during each visit. The first occupation was for a period of approximately three weeks commencing on August 18, 2013, and the second occupation was the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in 2014, stated the report.
This resulted in what the report described ‘the total loss of the car parking facility for residents and visitors to Skegness on both occasions together with the attendant loss of income’. This was calculated a potential sum of of £14,280, it was said.
During the summer of 2014 other foreshore car parks experienced unauthorised occupation resulting in what the report described as a ‘a significant body of complaints from residents, visitors and the business community’.
This resulted in the council being granted a series of temporary injunctions restricting the unauthorised activities.
The consultation attracted positive and negative comments.
A spokesman for the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups called it a ‘cynical attempt to control the number of travellers frequenting the district’.
Others said unauthorised encampments had affected their ability to do business in the area.