OWNERS and users of a popular hall in Petersfield have been hit in the pocket by vandals and pesky parkers.

Booking checks may be changed at The Avenue as vandals caused £675 of damage during a party on October 28.

The incident was reported to the police as the hall manager found no responsible adult and underage drinking during a routine check to the premises.

The vandalism was reported during a recent town council meeting in which councillors also heard that some users and renters have lost business because of illegal car parking.

The car park has often been used by motorists unwilling to pay parking charges in the town but the problem has worsened in recent months.

“It’s got a lot worse with the increase in car parking charges levered by the district council and it always gets worse when it goes up, as there’s a knock-on,” said town clerk, Neil Hitch.

“It’s nothing new but it does seem to be a little bit worse than before.”

Acting halls manager, Philip Swan said: “It’s definitely becoming more of a problem because I’ve been told that people who wanted to come to an event there couldn’t because there were no spaces.

“In the end they just gave up. It’s definitely got worse.”

Mr Swan told the Public Halls Advisory Group that hirers may be asked to lock the gate to prevent residents and non-users from using the car park outside of open hours.

There are also plans to limit use of the first space on the right to town council staff as motorists often park in front of the gate when it’s pushed back to keep the site open to vehicles.

* Meanwhile, the path linking The Petersfield School with Tesco Causeway looks set to become a bonafide footpath.

Hampshire County Council will be asked in a letter to add the route across the water meadows to their county map of definitive footpaths.

The move was backed by town councillors at their last meeting.