PORTLAND Town Council has made drastic decisions to keep some car parks on the island closed to prevent them being used by people with camper vans.

The Cheyne Weare viewing area car park on Southwell Road will remain closed and the New Ground car park, another popular viewing spot, will only have one parking bay – the one nearest the Heights Hotel – open. The council hopes to partially open New Ground car park in the near future.

The decision was made due to fears that there would be an

increased number of camper van users visiting the isle due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In previous years the council has had complaints because of camper vans taking over large areas of car park, preventing others from using the parking facilities. The council also mentioned concerns that previous complaints regarding hygiene issues could reoccur, a major concern amid the current pandemic.

A spokesman for the council said: “Last year when the Cheyne Weare viewing area was open for parking it was frequently used by camper vans. Not only did they frequently stay overnight, we had many complaints of unhygienic waste disposal. The camper vans also monopolised the parking area leaving very little space for short term visits.”

The spokesman added: “Due to the impact of the coronavirus emergency we are expecting an increased number of camper vans to visit the island.

“The number of cars recently parked on the verge in the vicinity has far exceeded the number of parking spaces.

“The reopening of the parking spaces would only partially ameliorate the verge parking and contribute to degradation of this sensitive environment.

“Portland Town Council has limited resources and is unable to police the parking area overnight.

“For this reason Portland Town Council has decided to keep the parking area closed. The council will review this decision at the end of July 2020.

“The council hopes to partially open the New Ground car park in the near future. New Ground has also been visited by camper vans with consequent hygiene issues and we are therefore only going to open the bay nearest to Portland Heights.

“Portland Town Council will continue to monitor the situation at New Ground and review the position at the end of July 2020.”