Councils To Crack Down On Motorhome Parking?
Recent years have seen motorhomes and campervans become increasingly popular, and it’s encouraging to see so many people discover a new way of life when they hit the road. The positives are there for all to see – a chance to explore different places, meet new people, be at one with nature and yet still enjoy some of your usual home comforts.
So, it’s not hard to see why the numbers of campervan and camping holidays have surged – but at the same time, it’s not all sightseeing and sunsets. There are knock-on effects to be aware of, especially those that impact the people who live in these tourism hot spots year-round.
Residents are not always happy to see their hometowns attracting plenty of attention and some have been quick to voice their displeasure to the local authorities. So, what is the nature of these complaints and what are councils doing in response? And, as representatives and ambassadors of the campervan and motorhome community, what can we do to ensure our plans don’t impinge on the happiness of others?
Motorhome parking causing a furore in Felixstowe
As we enter the heart of the summer months, coastal resorts are only likely to get busier. And that may not be a welcome prospect for residents of Felixstowe, the south-east seaside town where parking for motorhomes is largely unrestricted across the busy front.
This has caused consternation among residents, who have raised the issue of holidaymakers parking overnight and taking up lots of space along the promenade, sometimes with two wheels resting on the pavement. As well as the added traffic, there are concerns over potential damage caused by the heavy vehicles, while some argue that the tourists fail to contribute much to the local economy during their stay.
Town councillors have noted their constituents’ displeasure and have vowed to get together with their county counterparts to come up with measures that might help to alleviate the issue. In May 2021, East Suffolk Council confirmed that parking for motorhomes would be provided in four designated areas around Felixstowe, with special allowances made for vehicles exceeding 5.5 metres. But it appears that this has not delivered a comprehensive solution to a problem that continues to rumble on.
Where else are there restrictions on motorhome parking?
Felixstowe is far from the only place in the British Isles to face controversy when it comes to providing parking for motorhomes. In May 2022, the Jersey government introduced a trial for permits to be used at Le Port, where it is typically illegal to park overnight. It is thought that the trial could last for a year, and anyone wishing to make use of it must book in advance, arrive only after 9pm and leave before 9am the next day.
Such restrictions have drawn heavy criticism from campervan and motorhome owners, who point out that the time limits, in particular, are not realistic for those who might be travelling with young children. If you are holidaying with little ones, rest assured that your Comfort Insurance policy covers your child seats, so if they do become damaged they will be replaced and you won’t have to worry.
There is also a pilot programme being launched in the Highlands, with a dozen overnight and short-stay sites being designated for motorhome parking. The maximum stay will be 24 hours and a fee will be involved, while the local authorities try to cope with rising demand while continuing to look after the natural environment.
“The council recognises that ownership and rental of motorhomes and campervans has grown exponentially in the last three years and is an increasing trend as people look to enjoy ‘staycations’ and the freedom to explore the great outdoors,” Malcolm MacLeod, executive chief officer for infrastructure, environment and economy, said in quotes reported by the Ross-Shire Journal.
“It is anticipated that as tourism infrastructure improvements continue across the country, people will learn what to expect when travelling in Scotland and the limitations for vehicle-based holidays and travel, particularly in rural and popular tourist destinations.”
How can you do your bit when parking your motorhome?
There are plenty of places where you can find free overnight motorhome parking in the UK. The key is to do your research well in advance – figure out where those spots are and if your presence there could prove a major inconvenience to the locals. If so, perhaps you’d be better served finding another location that doesn’t intrude quite so much on those around you. That way, they’re less likely to take umbrage and you’ll receive a warmer welcome!
If you are thinking about wild camping, you need to be aware of the laws of the land and make sure you are permitted to be there. There is safety in numbers so when parking overnight you might want to be close to at least one or two other vans in case something does go wrong. You should also think about whether your vehicle is equipped to be off-grid, with a sufficient gas supply and enough solar power to make your stay a comfortable one.
You need to be careful of not parking your motorhome on private property, while you also need to be wary of the weight of your vehicle and whether it could cause any damage. And of course, when dawn breaks and it’s time to hit the road again, you should always clear up and not leave any litter behind. After all, the campervan community has a reputation to uphold!
Motorhome parking is all about acting responsibly – something which should extend to all aspects of your trip. That includes taking out the necessary cover, just in case anything does go wrong, and that’s where Comfort Insurance can help. You can get a quote with us by entering a few simple details and if you have any questions, just give us a call on 0208 984 0666.
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We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £200!