Overnight parking for motorhomes set to be trialled in Northumberland coastal car parks
Overnight stays by motorhome users could soon be allowed in council car parks on parts of the Northumberland coast.
Northumberland County Council has identified car parks in Bamburgh, Beadnell and Amble as potentially suitable for a pilot scheme.
It has engaged with key stakeholders to get feedback in recent weeks and now aims to submit planning applications for all three sites later in the autumn.
The scheme is being proposed in response to a number of motorhome and campervan related issues including inconsiderate parking and litter.
There are also challenges enforcing current overnight parking restrictions because the authority must provide indisputable evidence that people have been sleeping in the vehicle overnight. As a result, Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are often overturned on appeal.
Paul Jones, the council’s director of local services, in a report to those parish councils consulted, explained: “The council recognises that the use of motorhomes is an increasing trend escalated by the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase in ‘staycations’.
"There are concerns that there won’t be sufficient availability in formal campsites and that there are people with motorhomes that don’t want to stay in that kind of facility anyway.
"We have considered all of our coastal car parks and have identified locations where it would be acceptable to have a self-contained overnight stay where people basically sleep in the vehicle but don’t have items of equipment outside. The aim is to provide for a single night as a transit type activity.”
He explains that the aim is to try and manage motorhome and campervan, directing drivers to where they are not going to cause issues for the local community or environment.
He adds that the council is also trying to improve visitor facilities as part of the overall approach, with planning consent for a new small caravan and campsite within the Druridge Bay Country Park and a feasibility study being undertaken for a motor caravan facility at Amble Braid car park.
The proposed pilot scheme would allow eight motorhomes to park overnight in the overflow car park at Beadnell Bay, with six each at Bamburgh’s Links Road car park and Amble Braid.
There are public toilets at Beadnell and temporary portable toilets at Bamburgh but no facilities at Amble Braid.
The inclusion of Beadnell is also dependent on necessary groundworks to the proposed motorhome parking area being undertaken.
Spaces would have to be pre-booked online, with no option to pay on arrival.
Tables, chairs, awnings and barbecues outside the vehicle would not be permitted.
Mr Jones continued: “It is expected that undertaking this pilot outside of the busy summer months will allow us to review the viability of the project on a smaller scale and allow for any improvements to the process as we progress.
"A formal review of the operation of the pilot scheme will be undertaken in advance of spring 2022 to assess the feasibility of continuing and expanding the trial during the summer months.
“We believe this is an opportunity to try and better regulate some of the problematic parking that we already know takes place in our car parks but is challenging to control using conventional enforcement methods.”