Plans seeking permission for an overnight parking trial in Bamburgh’s main car park, Beadnell’s overflow car park and at Amble Braid have recently been submitted.
It has led to some concern about an increase in late night noise, as well as litter and foul waste disposal issues.
However, Carolyn Mitchell from the Campaign Real Aires UK (CAMpRA) says that does not tally with her experiences.
“The majority of motorhome owners are retired and are usually in bed by 10pm,” she says. "The vast majority also clear up litter - very often left by locals. After all, we don’t want to stay the night on a rubbish tip.”
CAMpRA has been working with Northumberland County Council to identify suitable locations for motorhome overnight stops and a central location for motorhome facilities - a fresh water tap, somewhere to responsible empty toilet cassettes and to empty grey waste tanks (water from showering and washing up).
"Because motorhomes are self contained, with onboard toilets, water tanks and waste tanks, they only need somewhere to safely stop overnight and to avail of facilities every three to four days - which is why they aren’t necessary in every stopover,” explains Carolyn.
DVLA figures suggest there are nearly 400,000 registered motorhomes in the UK, together with an unspecified number of ‘vans with windows’ which between them spend around £1bn each year on their travels.
"They don’t want expensive campsites with facilities they don’t need; they want somewhere close to attractions so they can walk and spend money in local businesses,” reveals Carolyn.
“They travel all year round, not just when campsites are open (usually Easter to October). They don’t want to get bogged down on grass pitches. They don’t want to book months in advance and be subject to a minimum stay of three to four nights. The whole point of motorhomes is the freedom to travel without making plans.”
But she accepts that motorhome tourism needs to be managed and responsible owners will not object to this.
"For the trial to be successful, there needs to be a waste disposal facility at one of the locations suggested,” says Carolyn.
“It will also be necessary for it to be effectively monitored. Clean signs indicating where motorhomes can park up overnight; how many can stay; where the other car parks are and where the waste point is. These then need to be effectively policed and enforced, with anyone parking outside the designated areas being fined.
"Whilst we at CAMpRA would love to see the types of facilities found throughout Europe (which are often free) we accept there is a cost to the services we require and are perfectly happy to pay for them,” she adds. “This will bring income in for the council, which will cover the cost of enforcement, and income for local businesses."
The pilot scheme is being proposed in response to the growing popularity of motorhome visits to Northumberland since the Covid pandemic.