A popular Merseyside overnight stopover has been deserted by motorhome and campervan owners after new overnight parking charges came into force, the Liverpool Echo has reported.
The introduction of an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) by Wirral Council around New Brighton’s Coastal Drive, has stopped the vast majority from staying overnight.
New charges, which came into force on July 8, mean campervans and motorhomes must now pay £20 to park on a stretch of Coastal Drive overnight.
One campervan owner, James Crook told the Liverpool Echo: “To be honest £20 is far too expensive for no facilities whatsoever.
“I think they’ve put so much money into erecting signs [about the charges] every 20-30 metres which must have cost a fortune.
“Instead, all they had to do is mark a few bays up and say ‘this is motorhome parking only’ and this is £10 to park.”
The council is reported to have introduced the new charges to to better control where larger vehicles and motorhomes can park in order to remove obstruction on the public road and improve waste management in the area.
A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “This is an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), in place for a period of 18 months.
“As such it will be kept under regular review and can be amended if necessary.
“As with any new ETRO, people can express their views about it to the council within the first six months of its implementation.
“They can do this online at www.wirral.gov.uk/highways, or in writing to Simon Fox, Interim Director Highways & Streetscene, PO Box 290, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral CH27 9FQ.
“Quote the scheme reference number TO/22/07.”
A survey carried out by the Campaign for Real Aires (CAMPRA) of 8,956 motorhome owners in September 2020 found that 92 per cent would be happy to pay £5 to park in their motorhome or campervan overnight in the UK and 96 per cent would pay £10 with a service point.
Commenting on the new charges at the Merseyside overnight stopover location, Motorhome owner Wayne Massey said: “We have visited New Brighton on average eight occasions each year for the last nine years, usually staying for two to three nights, but we have spent the odd week there too with our grandsons who absolutely love the beach and activities in the town.
“Being retired, we regularly tour France, Spain and Portugal during the winter months and nearly all towns and villages have motorhome aires.
“They provide toilet emptying facilities, fresh water and some even electricity for those who need it, and charge on average €10 (£8.40) because the local councils understand the benefits that motorhome tourism brings to the local community.
“I think the new parking charges are absolutely ridiculous, £20 to park on a street per night when you have already spent over £70,000 on a self contained vehicle, you leave no trace of being there and you are generating income for local businesses.
“I think the local council really need to take a step back and reassess their policy, just because a few local residents living in the flats overlooking the Dips think motorhomes are spoiling their views, and judging by the comments on the Facebook forum it is only a few, motorhome owners vising the area are not only cleaning it but they are putting a lot of money into the local community.”
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