Tackling overnight parking

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Action has been taken to try to prevent camper vans and motorhomes from parking illegally in a Northumberland seaside village.

Bamburgh Castle director Chris Calvert said that last summer, the lay-bys along the Wynding had around 30 or 35 camper vans using them to park overnight illegally, so action was taken over the winter.

Bird’s-beak fencing, which is used elsewhere in the area and in the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), has been used to make bays and notices have been put up to inform visitors that they cannot park there and pointing out the location of nearby campsites.

The work, on land which is private and belongs to Bamburgh Castle Estates, was carried out following discussions with Bamburgh Parish Council and the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership.

Mr Calvert said: “Before you used to get one or two camper vans and they would tidy up after themselves, but now people are using the tops of the dunes as toilets.”

He added that people are flushing out all sorts of materials into what is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), despite the fact there are eight camping and caravan sites in and around Bamburgh, Seahouses and Beadnell.

“They should be supporting the local economy, but they come fuelled up and stocked up with food and don’t spend any money,” he said. “Last year, someone parked their van and then drove home during the week in their car so that they had their spot.

“We are not anti-camper van, but they have their place and it’s only due to their reluctance to obey the law that we’ve had to take action.

“To a greater extent, it has solved the problem in that the bigger vans cannot get in anymore and we hope the smaller vans will see the notices and go elsewhere.

“It’s a shame we have had to resort to these measures, but the fencing was there before and we have just extended it along to create the bays.”

Iain Robson, the AONB’s natural environment and access officer, said: “We met the parish council and Castle Estates and discussed three or four options. The least extreme was to do nothing and try to seek some enforcement, while the most extreme was to fence it off completely.

“They sought this middle ground. The final execution isn’t what we might have envisaged, but we didn’t want it to be closed off completely because it’s a very popular spot.”