Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA)UK stopoversWales

Conwy Council considers benefits of motorhome aire stopovers

Conwy motorhome parking

Image: Google Street View.

Conwy Council is now considering an expansion to motorhome stopover sites to ease reported problems with illegal parking and littering.

The Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRa) is engaging in discussions with the council, promoting the benefits of overnight stopover facilities for campervans and motorhomes in a bid to help tackle local concerns.

On Wednesday the group met council officials and consultants for “positive” talks” and an online workshop for residents was hosted by Conwy Council on Friday.

CAMpRA argued that the majority of campervan and motorhome owners are well-behaved and are eager to pay for modest facilities.

One woman said: “It’s not all campervan owners but people do illegally park, leave rubbish, BBQs and, sadly, empty the toilets.

“They need to realise they can’t camp wherever they like.

“Our council tax pays to clean up after them and it’s not on.

“There does need to be (more parking) sites but until there is, people should abide by the law.

“It’s unfair that, as a resident, my council tax is used to clean up after selfish, disrespectful tourists when basic services to residents of Conwy are being cut.”

Another Conwy resident said: “Fly camping shows a complete lack of respect for the environment or local people.

“Aires do sound like a sensible option.

“But at the same time, there should be fines – properly enforced.

“Who wants to visit a beach that is effectively a campsite?”

CAMpRA said many motorhome owners wince at stories like these and want fines levied just as much as residents.

Putting proper infrastructure in place will go some way to alleviating the problems while giving the hospitality sector a much-needed shot in the arm, it argued.

A CAMpRA survey of members revealed motorhome owners to be willing to spend an average of £47 in host communities.

Steve Haywood of CAMpRA said: “We spent a night in Prestatyn in a five-berth aires in what was effectively a back garden.

“Every car park in the town was empty overnight because they all had height barriers.

“Had we been able to stay in one of these, we would have been able to enjoy a meal out.

“We would loved to have visited Llandudno but because of the problems there last year, we gave it a miss.

“Instead we went to Conwy town, which has a car park near the castle with spaces for six motorhomes.

“Had we been able to spend the night there, we would have bought more than snacks and ice creams.

“It would be great to have a large aires in the area – Llandudno probably has more room – with a 72-hour staying limit.

“If buses were nearby, motorhome owners could spend a day in Llandudno and a day in Conwy, with meals out in each.”

In many cases, aires can be created at under-used car parks if height barriers are removed and cheap waste disposal units can be attached to public toilet blocks, as is planned on Anglesey.

However, campsite owners fear more aires could means lost business.

Steve added: “If all motorhomes parked at official campsites, it would take trade away from town centre pubs and restaurants.

“So there will always be an impact one way or the other. With aires, however, overall spending would increase.”

Gwynedd Council has already announced plans to expand its provision of aires.

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