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Legal action to be taken to evict campervans from private Dorset car park

Castle Cove Sailing Club car park

Image: Google Street View.

Fresh legal action is being taken to remove campervans from a privately owned car park overlooking the beach at Castle Cove in Portland Harbour, Dorset.

One of the self-converted campervans, an old ambulance, has now been parked on the Castle Cove Sailing Club car park for almost two years, according to the Dorset Echo.

The club issued the van’s owner, Gary Jones, with a ‘notice to quit’ in January 2021 but he still remains and is now joined by a number of other vans.

For most of the past two months between four and six vans have been staying overnight, often for up to a week at a time, it’s been reported.

This week the sailing club said it would be taking fresh legal action to regain possession of its outer car park where the vans are parked, directly overlooking the beach.

In an email to club members on Sunday evening Commodore David Brock explained the situation.

It read: “In 2021 a decommissioned ambulance campervan took up long-term residence in the outer car park.

“Recently several other campervans have also taken up residence.

“This has resulted in the loss of a significant proportion of the parking for the general public.

“The site is unsuitable for camping and has no facilities so there is a concern about the environmental impact of camping.

“I have also received complaints about the behaviour of dogs on the site.

“The ‘No camping’ signs have been destroyed.

“The local residents have also contacted the club to express their desire to see the campers moved on.

“The sailing club is firmly against camping on club property, including the outer car park, and believe that it is the best interests of CCSC, the local residents and the wider community if the current campers vacate the property.”

The club has been working closely with the Dorset Council and has had meetings with the Community Protection Service, including a multi-disciplinary meeting which included representatives from the Police, the Anti-Social Behaviour Team, the Dog Warden and the Homeless Outreach Team.

Mr Brock said: “Ultimately, this is private land and there are no current mechanisms for the authorities to enforce the removal of the campers from our property.

“Unfortunately, the campers have refused to leave and so the club has instigated a legal process to have the campers evicted.

“This is not an easy process.

“Written notices were again served on the campers on 3rd August and they still refuse to leave.

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“We are now in a position to take the legal process further, which will take some time.

“Castle Cove Sailing Club remains committed to providing public access to Sandsfoot beach and we will continue to work with Dorset Council so that the wider community can enjoy this beautiful space in a safe and responsible fashion.

“Once the eviction of the campers has been completed there will be ongoing measures to ensure that camping is not repeated.”

Dorset Council has said it is ultimately for the landowner is to take further action through the courts process or by using a court authorised bailiff.

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