ONE OF Bournemouth’s smartest neighbourhoods is being quietly used as a secret car lot, a resident has claimed.

The resident, who lives in Queen’s Park Gardens claims that up to 20 or 30 cars are parked on the avenues around the leafy area, where homes can sell for up to £800,000.

“For months now, up to a year, there’s been steadily increasing numbers of cars parked around the edge of Queens Park and its obvious they are being left there for months at a time, they get covered in tree and bird mess and no one does anything about it,” she said. “You get to noticing the ones which haven’t moved.”

She noticed vehicles left for days in the free, golf-club car-park. And, occasionally, a transporter with vehicles on board. “They tend to be the smaller type, Polos, or Fiestas or Ka’s and it’s obvious they are part of some car-selling business,” she said.

The resident said the problem was obstructing traffic and narrowing the roads on the west of Queens Park. “People are finding it tricky and yesterday they came along to put the polling booth for the elections at the side of the park where they normally put it but because of the cars, I presume, had to move it along a bit.”

She also claimed that some of the parked cars were now suffering vandalism.

Local councillor Mark Anderson said many residents had complained to the Queen’s Park Forum, which he helped set up, about the issue.

“I go round the area all the time and noticed a cluster of cars along the road but until people drew it to my attention, I hadn’t realised what was going on,” he said.

“Too many cars, not enough road is the problem but if someone is on the road to sell cars and they have cars parked up on both sides of the verge it’s not on, really. You don’t expect to have someone effectively running a car showroom in a residential area and that is the top, middle and bottom of it.”

He said he had seen people in one road who he believed were: “Obviously looking for cars.”

He understands the council’s planning team is taking enforcement action and he's been instrumental in working with the council in getting the DVLA to allow BCP to have delegated clamping powers on untaxed vehicles. Now I think our biggest problem is not enough clamps!” he said.

Cllr Cheryl Johnson said she knew there was a problem with what she described as 'business parking' but added: "I don’t really want to say anything about it, really.”

Ed Alexander Planning and Contract Manager, Parks, for BCP Council said:

“We have been aware of issues of parking within the park/golf course at Queens Park. Enforcement action was taken, resulting in the cars being removed by the owner. We do not have any pending complaints.”