Surfers Protest Newquay’s Fistral Van Ban

It’s probably not unreasonable to say that Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall is the nation’s surfing capital. If the swell is good, there’s nowhere better to be and you can easily spot the big names in UK surfing in the lineup. If it’s not, there are usually still a hundred surfers out hoping to catch the inside wave or who are just happy to get their fins wet.

However, the possibility of campervan or motorhome owners having a surf before 9 o’clock in the morning is now very much under threat. Cornwall County Council have enforced overnight parking bans for anything but cars between the hours of midnight and 9am. This could tread on the toes of many of the van-driving locals who habitually get into the water before work.

The ban has come as a response to complaints from locals in the area about the behaviour of overnight campers. Campers have, unfortunately, picked up quite a reputation in the South West and there are considerable issues with noise, litter and waste for those who do stay overnight.

Though this is not a new ban, and camping has never been permitted in the South Fistral car park, previous signage had not given detailed information about what constitutes ‘overnight’ parking. Summer crowds at beaches like Fistral often mean that campers arrive extremely early in the morning to pitch their spot anyway and enforcing an open-ended overnight ban was never a feasible possibility.

Unfortunately this news will damage the local economy in some respect, as campers and surfers bring in an enormous amount of custom to the local shops and cafes. The new parking regulations could well put those who were used to turning up early off and leave them searching for a new place to surf.

Whatever the politics of the situation however, it’s important to remember that as a campervan or motorhome owner you need to follow parking regulations or you may find yourself not only with a nasty fine, but potentially with a motorhome insurance policy which does not cover you in the event of damages.

The parking saga in the UK rumbles on and it’s still motorhome owners who are feeling the brunt of the bans. Summer 2013 will be a telling time for local councils who will all be keen to see if their regulations are improving or worsening the situation.