Bexhill couple’s fears proposed bylaws could lead to homelessness

Graham and Sarah Preston outside their motorhome, Galley Hill, Bexhill. SUS-181001-142849001
Graham and Sarah Preston outside their motorhome, Galley Hill, Bexhill. SUS-181001-142849001

A couple who live in a campervan fear they will be made homeless if new bylaws by Rother District Council are approved.

Graham Preston, 58 and his wife Sarah, 64, have lived in their motorhome for three years, saying it was impossible to find another flat that would allow them to keep their dog.

The council is currently running a consultation, which ends tomorrow (Friday, January 12), into proposals to introduce Public Space Protection Orders across the district. One of the proposed bylaws includes banning sleeping or camping in vehicles on the highway overnight.

Mr Preston said: “A van that is taxed and insured is legal on the highway. We have been told by the police we are not breaking any rules, but now the council wishes to make it a crime. The order will not be just for Bexhill but all of the Rother area. In other words they are trying to drive us off the road. We live in a motorhome as I have to be close to town to go to work.

“At a guess there are about half a dozen vans or motorhomes being lived in in Bexhill. For the sake of half a dozen vans it’s like the council is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

A Rother District Council spokesman said: “The decision to include overnight stays in campervans in the consultation was taken in response to concerns raised by residents about the resultant disturbance and effect on the area, including issues such as discharge of sewage into drains and gullies.

“No decision has been made yet and it will be for councillors to decide in due course which types of behaviours to include in any Public Space Protection Orders and which geographical areas they would apply to.

“We do welcome Mr and Mrs Preston’s views on this issue and these will be considered along with all the other comments received during the consultation before a final decision is made by cabinet in the spring.”

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