Plans to allow overnight stopovers at Gwynedd Council car parks hit with criticism

This story has an update: Gwynedd Council approves £100,000 pilot to establish six ‘aires’. Stay updated with the the Van Life Matters newsletter.

Plans to allow campervans and motorhomes to stay overnight on some Gwynedd Council car parks have come up against criticism.

A council cabinet was held today (November 9) to discuss a report recommending the establishment of the six pilot areas.

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

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

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

Related: Gwynedd Council car parks could soon allow overnight stopovers for campervans – Van Life Matters

Matthew Gould, who works at Beddgelert Campsite, said: “If this plan goes ahead then we will lose quite a lot of our trade. It will be a big hit.

“A lot of campervans come here for a couple of nights after having wild camped for a few days, then they come here for the proper facilities such as water and electricity.

“I think it would also have a damaging effect on Beddgelert if the campervans park in council car parks not so close by and so the local economy could suffer.

“I think what definitely needs to be done is encourage more campervan owners to book ahead as we were full to capacity for months this year.

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

“Some people seem to think they can get a spot on a site just by turning up which just isn’t the case these days.”

Another caravan site owner, whose not been named, said: “I would suggest if someone can afford a £40,000 campervan or motorhome, they can afford £20 to stay on a site with proper facilities.

“As well as taking away revenue from our sites, it would surely mean taking car park spaces, and the motorhome owners will have awnings and deckchairs spread over the car parks and take up even more space.”

However Chris Mead, owner of Sunnysands Caravan Park in Barmouth, said the plan was a great idea.

Mr Mead, a motorhome himself said: “I honestly think Gwynedd has the right idea about this

“We should be doing what France is doing as we are way behind in this country.

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

“Not everyone wants to pay £20 for a site, so having a cheaper designated place with facilities such as the council car parks would surely mean there would be less dumping of human waste and rubbish.”

Jim Jones, the boss of North Wales Tourism, is also positive about the idea.

He said: “During lockdown there was a huge increase in the number of campervans purchased.
They have to go somewhere.

“Now we know that there needs to be provision for them.

“Personally, I think it’s a huge opportunity for campsites and caravan parks to embrace the potential for new sites to be developed including council car parks at a fee of course.”

The Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA) is calling for support from UK Van Lifers as it continues to promote the benefits of dedicated overnight stopping areas for owners of self-contained campervans.

Are you for or against the Gwynedd Council plans? Share your comments below.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

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Road Trotter November 9, 2021 at 5:30 pm

You can see their point. They’re just trying to protect their business. Not that I’m against the plans!

TKing November 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Campervan motor parking brings trade into towns. They often walk and have a meal, spend at local shops. They would probably not stay at a campsite as they are generally to far from town and often want at least a three night stay. Motorhomes often move daily a short distance and tour between locations. Facilities are a extra bonus to an overnight stay. Win win for everyone.

Virgilvan November 9, 2021 at 7:07 pm

I often wonder what visitors from Europe think when they come to UK . No aires: very few campsites you can just turn up to: £30 per night to park at a motorway station, usually in a urine soaked lorry park; very few motorhome parking place in car parks; barriers at car park entrances etc etc.
It’s really time that UK councils realised how much motorhome owners contribute to the local economy and how aires underpin this. The UK has an inadequate infrastructure that has come to the fore with the increase in staycations and van ownership. The loss to local economies will become apparent when Motorhome owners return to Europe for their holidays where they are made to feel welcome.

mark Timothy November 9, 2021 at 8:48 pm

These site owners just don’t get it! It’s not about them losing business it’s that some people don’t want to use sites but have the freedom to stay somewhere on a whim. Besides most sites are not open in the winter. France has loads of pay for sites but also loads of free or cheap Aries. They coexist and a site offers a lot more and most motorhome owners will also use them. By offering use of car parks for overnight stays the county will attract more visitors and maybe even more trade for the site owners.


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