Overnight campervan and motorhome parking in Helmsley, North Yorkshire is to be suspended after a spate of anti-social behaviour incidents, Ryedale Council has announced.
Motorhome owners previously had the right to stay overnight in dedicated spaces at the Cleveland Way car park in Helmsley, and in 2017 the council provided six free spaces for campers in an overflow area.
However, the permissions have now been withdrawn following overcrowding, reckless lighting of fires, irresponsible waste disposal and even people camping in tents in the car park.
Tourism business owners were in favour of motorhome parking as it allows for longer visitor stays but many residents complained about anti-social behaviour.
In a statement, Ryedale Council said: “Overnight parking for motorhomes, campervans and any other vehicles used for overnight sleeping is being suspended in Cleveland Way car park in Helmsley from the end of July.
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“Ryedale District Council used to permit a limited number of vehicles to park at the rear section of the car park.
“However, as of 30 July 2022 no vehicles will be allowed to park in any of the car parks for the purpose of overnight sleeping due to a number of safety issues being raised.
“A full review of alternative options will take place while the suspension is underway, to see if there is any way of addressing the safety issues and to explore improved ways of managing the facility.
“The suspension will also allow Ryedale Council to take on board the views of all stakeholders.”
From 30 July, enforcement action will be taken for anyone using the car park to stay overnight and enforcement officer patrols will be extended into the evening.
Barriers will be installed over the coming weeks to prevent access to the central and rear sections of the car park between 6.30pm and 6.30am.
A height restriction barrier will be installed at the entrance to the front section of the car park so this remains open and accessible 24/7 but will prevent access by motorhomes and campervans.
Motorhomes and campervans will continue to be able to use the car park during the day and the council has provided some wider/longer spaces to accommodate them more easily.
The council’s director of place and resources Phillip Spurr said: “During summer 2021 a number of complaints were received around too many motorhomes parking, motorhomes being parked too close together, issues with fires and BBQs on site and the emptying of waste from vehicles into the wooded area and down public drains.
“All these issues pose a risk to the safety of those staying on the site and our citizens, so we met with a number of partners to tackle the issues raised.
“We introduced a number of measures to ease the situation.”
The measures taken to resolve the issues included automatic locking doors installed on the public toilets, signage to mark out safe parking distances and additional security patrols to prevenet motorhomes parking in coach bays.
Mr Spurr added: “However, following a review, we are still finding that a small number of people who are using the car park for overnight stays are not complying with the rules.
“We even had reports of visitors camping in tents in the green space surrounding the car park.
“The issues raised to us are dangerous and hazardous and it is our responsibility to tackle them.
“They impact on the health and safety of visitors and our citizens, so that’s why we’re stopping the use of the car park for overnight sleeping to allow a full review to take place.
“We have done what we can to resolve the situation and appreciate that it is probably the behaviour of a minority of users causing these issues, however we feel that the risks presented by this behaviour are too great.
“While the suspension is underway, we would like to reassure motorhome and campervan drivers that they are welcome to park at the rear of the car park or in the central section of the car park during the day.
“We appreciated there are a range of views about the provision of overnight parking for the purpose of overnight sleeping in the car park and all will be taken into account.
“We take our responsibility to citizens, businesses, and visitors seriously and want to ensure we offer the best possible facilities and environment for all.”
The suspension will apply from 30 July 2022.
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