Motorhome parking trial in Northumberland ruled out for this summer on legal advice

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The possibility of allowing overnight parking for motorhomes in some Northumberland car parks has been ruled out for this summer.

The idea was considered by Northumberland County Council as a means of relieving congestion during a busy summer season for staycation holidays.

Motorhome and campervan related issues, including inconsiderate parking and litter, were reported in coastal communities such as Alnmouth, Amble, Bamburgh, Beadnell, Boulmer and Seahouses last summer.

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The council acknowledged there are a shortage of formal campsites for motor caravans or motorhomes and, working with the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, carried out a review to examine whether it would be acceptable to have a contained overnight stay in some council car parks within the AONB.

Bamburgh's main car park.Bamburgh's main car park.
Bamburgh's main car park.

However, the idea has been abandoned for this year because of legal complexities.

A report to Craster Parish Council’s meeting on Thursday stated: ‘During the development of the pilot scheme, the (county) council has sought to identify what consents must be in place to enable motorhome owners to lawfully park up and sleep overnight within a designated area of a council car park.

"Unfortunately, the legal advice received has confirmed that in addition to the need to amend the existing legal orders that prohibit overnight parking, cooking and camping in council car parks, the council would also need to secure planning consent for this proposed activity.

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‘The county council have reviewed this advice in detail and have been unable to identify any planning exemption or permitted development rights that could be used to authorise this activity on a temporary basis this summer.

‘The county council are therefore unable to proceed with the proposed motorhome parking pilot scheme this summer but will be looking to put forward the pilot scheme proposals for consideration early next year.

‘In the meantime, Northumberland County Council’s parking policy of no overnight parking, cooking and camping remains in place within their car parks, and the county council hope that motorhome owners will still consider visiting and make suitable arrangements to stay overnight at some of the camping and caravan sites that Northumberland has to offer.’

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