WHILE recognising that all parties in the dispute over the proposed parking restrictions at Freshwater West are acting with the best of intentions, it is clear to me as a local resident, that the campervanners, faced with draconian fines for staying overnight in a place where they have traditionally been welcome and that they clearly care for, have the moral high ground.

The National Trust, whose positive contribution to the environment I generally support have, with one unnecessary, clumsy and misguided proposal, alienated many locals, surfers, campervanners, anglers and other visitors to this stunningly beautiful and iconic spot.

In recent years media publicity for the beach has resulted in hugely increased visitor numbers and there is a seasonal issue with parking on the road; this could be remedied simply with a short extension to the double yellow lines through the ‘narrows’ and a two-car-length parking restriction on the hillside to enable vehicles to pass.

So why the proposed ban on overnight parking? Litter?

The majority of those staying overnight are surfers - a conscientious group who respect the area, clean up after themselves (and others) and who conduct regular beach cleans.

I’m not a surfer myself but, like many other locals, I visit the beach on most days and clean up litter twice a week - mostly picking up netting and other seabird-threatening detritus from the fishing industry, together with bottles and other assorted plastic jetsam.

There is rarely an issue with rubbish left next to the road and nothing whatsoever to suggest that litter has been left by campervanners rather than by the occasional, irresponsible, day visitor.

I’ve rarely seen anyone parked up for more than a couple of days and, frankly, don’t see the problem, especially as the overnighters contribute to the prosperity to the local cafes, pubs and shops.

I wish every success to the campaigners who are trying to bring a halt to this absurd, heavy-handed proposal and long may wild camping continue for all in this scenic, remote place.