Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Parking at Lepe country park extended

Lepe Country park Image copyright John Lucas
Image caption Lepe is a popular beauty spot on the shores of the Solent

A New Forest car park that attracts 270,000 visitors a year is to stay open longer following a public campaign.

Visitors and residents protested against Lepe Country Park closing its gates by 20:00, particularly during the summer months.

The park has views over the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.

Hampshire County Council said opening hours would now take account of sunrise and sunset but extra costs would have to be met by additional charges.

Paul Stewart, of the Keep Lepe Open Longer, campaign said: "It will be good news if and when it goes ahead."

But he criticised the extra charges: "If it were open all the time they wouldn't need someone to monitor the car park."

The council had originally said opening times were set to minimise the risk of anti-social behaviour.

Mr Stewart said that decision was "persecuting the majority because of the actions of the minority".

A decision on exact opening times between April and September will be made at a later stage, after consultation with the landowners and customers.

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