Drivers who park on Beccles Common will now be fined after years of problems including joy-riders shredding up the grass and walkers throwing dog mess at cars.

Members of Beccles Fenland Charity Trust, which own and manage the common, are becoming concerned for the safety of users as drivers continue to travel over the common at speed and park up wherever they please.

The problem has got so bad that dog walkers have started policing the area themselves and one even threw dog poo into a parked car during a confrontation.

Caroline Topping, chairman of the trust’s assets and environment committee, said they have no choice but to start fining drivers who ignore the rules.

“As responsible land owners we have to make sure that the people of Beccles can enjoy the common in a safe environment,” said Mrs Topping.

“Over the years we’ve had problems with joyriders racing around the common leaving tracks and we have a job controlling that.

“We get people driving over the common towards the A146, and to the dog kennels and cafe and that track is getting wider and wider because people don’t want to drive over the potholes so they drive on the grass.

“Last year there was a confrontation where dog walkers started taking it upon themselves to approach people in cars and one family had dog poo chucked in their car.

“There have been other confrontations and it has been building up for a long time.”

Mrs Topping said there are certain users who are granted permission to drive on the common including marshland holders who need to reach their grazing livestock. They will be asked to only drive on the common when strictly necessary and to stick to a 5mph speed limit.

The trust also agreed to employ a parking enforcement company which will issue fines to any cars that are parked on the common without permission.

“We have dog walkers on the common, golfers and children playing with footballs and kites all trying to enjoy it,” said Mrs Topping.

“We need to protect the ecology of the common and make sure people are able to enjoy it safely. Park on the car park, it is what it is there for.”

New signs will be put up at the common in the next couple of weeks.

Reaction from readers

The decision to fine drivers received a mixed reaction on Facebook.

Donna Lowman is in support of the idea and said: “I use the common every day (as a dog walker) and lots of people misuse it. From dog walkers not clearing up their dogs mess, to people driving across, not wanting to go down a pothole so driving across the grass.

“This common is an amazing space and should be used and enjoyed by all. I personally feel fines are a good idea. But not just for cars driving across but start fining people who do not clear up after their dog.”

And Maureen Bellsham said: “Our common must remain pedestrian at all times, it’s an asset to Beccles for all to enjoy. Don’t spoil it.”

However others questioned how easy it would be for fines to be handed out.

Mark Tipper said: “They won’t be able to uphold the fines. Waste of time and money.”

Daniel Vaisey added : “People who drive on the common know they shouldn’t be driving on the common, so a sign saying that they cannot drive on the common will not stop them.”