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Gwynedd Council car parks could soon allow overnight stopovers for campervans

Campervans and motorhomes could soon be allowed to stay overnight on some Gwynedd Council car parks, it has been reported.

A cabinet report will recommend up to six pilot areas be set up following concerns over the growing number of campervans visiting the council.

The authority is looking to spend £100,000 on establishing six French-style aires on parts of existing car-parks.

The short-stay stopovers will offer basic of facilities including waste disposal and water.

The report notes that the county’s existing caravan sites have been struggling with capacity issues amid the recent ‘staycation boom’.

Its hoped that aires will help reduce the dumping of litter and human waste reported in the area.

Related: Campaign for Real Aires aims to relieve pressures of UK’s staycation boom

Councillor Gareth Thomas, who holds the economic development portfolio, said: “The aim of this pilot would be to encourage those visiting in motorhomes to stay in a town or village, offering an element of economic benefit to the local community and better management of the sector.

“With the restrictions of Covid-19 making people less likely to have travelled to the continent over the last two summers, we have seen an increase in people visiting in motorhomes to enjoy Gwynedd’s popular attractions.

“In fact, sales of motor vehicles increased by 71 per cent in 2019 and 2020.

“The high numbers of people visiting has been a cause of concern for some areas with some deciding to stay in motorhomes in locations where there is no legal right to sleep in a vehicle overnight.

“That is why we are keen to consider what steps can be considered to improve the management of the field.”

An online consultation over the summer found that 92.2 per cent of motorhome users would use an “aire”-like provision if it was available, with the main requirements being fresh water and somewhere to dispose of toilet waste and refuse.

Related: Overnight motorhome parking to be trialled in Northumberland coastal car parks

The environment chief, Councillor Gareth Griffith, said: “This would allow us to see if this arrangements better managed the situation, and to consider whether it would help us to have better management in the county in the future.

“If the Cabinet consents, work will proceed to secure the relevant rights before any developments.”

Locals have been calling for a clampdown on campervans and motorhomes “parking where they like” in parts of rural Gwynedd.

The pleas for action came following complaints of both “antisocial campers” leaving litter and human waste in their wake as well as unprecedented scenes of dangerous parking on the roads of Snowdonia and beyond during the summer of 2020.

“We have seen up to 15 of these vehicles on some nights parking in the most remote areas which have no suitable facilities whatsoever,” said Cllr Simon Glyn during a scrutiny committee meeting last year.

Related: Top UK campervan destinations revealed

“We have hundreds of camp sites in Gwynedd which are designed for them, there is no need for them to park in such places overnight.”

If approved, the planning stage would be expected to start in February 2022 with the first pilot sites up and running by the spring of 2023.

The cabinet will consider the report when it meets on Tuesday 9 November.

Have you recently visited Gwynedd? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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