Drivers have robbed people of a much-loved public space after commandeering a patch of land in the city centre to park their vehicles for free.

The square to the south of St Peter’s Church, Brighton, regularly hosts skate competitions and there were plans for a Christmas tree seller to set up shop there last Thursday (November 30).

But drivers had other ideas, instead viewing the recently regenerated public area as the ideal place to park their cars free of charge.

The Argus: Dozens park in the square each day.Dozens park in the square each day. (Image: The Argus)

The Argus spoke with staff at St Peter’s who confirmed the church had not given permission for people to park in the square as the land is owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.

The city council said last week it was “assessing the best long term solutions” to stop the parking scourge and put up “no parking” signs while its investigation continued.

But just days after the two A4-size notices were erected one was torn from the ground, and now, residents have had enough.

The Argus: One of the council's sign was torn from the ground.One of the council's sign was torn from the ground. (Image: The Argus)

Kiki La Hula said via a Hanover Facebook page: “It is a massive shame. As a local professional skater, there is nowhere for me to train properly.

“Even my local leisure centre has changed its floor recently to a grippy surface. I can't spin on even with my hardest wheels.

“Lots of us skaters loved this space. Most people would say there's plenty of space on the seafront but that's only if you want to just cruise up and down in a straight line, not learn tricks.

The Argus: People living in the city are furious that they cannot use the space.People living in the city are furious that they cannot use the space. (Image: The Argus)

“Luckily the new development near the lagoon will accommodate for us, it will just be a lot less sheltered. Hopefully they don't decide to turn that into a parking lot.”

There is a skate park at The Level but many skaters prefer the flat space near the church.

The Argus asked the city council what it is doing to stop the issue but was told there are no immediate plans.

A city council spokesman said: “The problem has been developing over a number of months with some vehicles appearing in the square in late summer. It has, however, got considerably worse as the weather has deteriorated.

“We have given permission for a Christmas tree sales business to set up on the area in question. As part of this permission we had put up some fencing.

The Argus: People are moving the fencing to park up.People are moving the fencing to park up. (Image: The Argus)

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“Unfortunately some of this fencing and the ‘no parking’ signs have been pulled down by members of the public. We’re very disappointed by this and are currently considering our next steps in this regard.

“In the meantime, our parks and legal teams are currently assessing the best long-term solutions for stopping drivers parking there.

“Implementing a long-term solution is a matter of priority to the council. Options under consideration include a combination of enforcement action and blocking access.”