The car park of a Sleaford local nature reserve is to be barred at nights after a series of acts of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
The trouble has arisen at the visitor car park to Mareham Pastures, a wildlife area developed by volunteers with support from local councils between Mareham Lane and the Southfields.
Kathy Blythe, Secretary of the Friends of Mareham Pastures, a volunteer group that maintains the site has announced via Facebook: “Due to continuing antisocial behaviour in the car park it has been necessary to initiate closure of the car park overnight.
“Please see the notice which details the times - dates this will commence will be posted soon.
“The site remains open and accessible through the pedestrian entrances. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes our genuine visitors.”
Lincolnshire County Council has issued the order as landowner. It will be locked between 4pm and 8am between October 1 and April 1, and locked between 7pm and 8am between April 2 and September 30. Any cars locked in will not be released until the car park is reopened in the morning.
Mrs Blythe said: “We have been struggling with it for a couple of years since the car park off Mareham Lane opened, with antisocial behaviour ranging from lots of littering, evidence of drinking and drug taking. As a volunteer group we have battled to keep on top of it.
“We put chicken wire around the bottom of the fencing to stop litter blowing onto the reserve and the Town Council installed a bin.”
This bin has since been set on fire by arson earlier this month and they await a replacement by the town council.
Residents on Mareham Lane have been disturbed by gatherings of cars at night in the car park and the police have been involved.
The town, district and county council have been working with the volunteers trying to find a solution but it has resulted in the night time closures.
Residents who enjoy parking up for an evening walk or take their dog for exercise on the reserve have reacted angrily, annoyed that they will no longer be able to park there, but understand the need to deter the vandals.
Mrs Blythe understood some people would not be happy but said: “It has been a long process coming to this decision, working with the neighbourhood policing team and local authorities. we have just got to the point of no return. There are still three pedestrian entrances open 24/7, it is just the car park.”