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Sleeping overnight on Dorset Council car parks “not permitted”, authority warns

Motorhome and campervan owners have been given a stern warning that they cannot sleep overnight on Dorset Council carparks.

The warning follows a significant rise in the numbers of campers staying in car parks and reports of disposable barbecues and chemical waste being dumped in the sea.

Weymouth’s Pavilion car park is among the sites which have been used by overnight sleepers in the past.

Dorset Council’s warning followed a request for information from a member of the public who claimed the authority shows ‘antipathy’ towards motorhome users who park up for overnight stays.

In its reply, the authority has warned that people are not allowed to stay overnight in vehicles at its car parks, warning the sites ‘are not designed as campsites’.

No mention is made of enforcement but it is presumed wardens will issue fines to those breaking the rules.

Provision for overnight sleeping for motorhome users is being investigated.

Elizabeth Murray, strategic project manager for parking services at Dorset Council, said: “Over the last few years there has been an increase in overnight sleeping in car parks in the Dorset Council area.

“Overnight sleeping is not permitted as car parks are not designed as campsites and do not have the necessary facilities.

“Besides this there has been an increase in barbecues and also chemical waste disposal into the sea, which causes a health and safety issue for residents, visitors and for the environment.

“Although we are aware that the majority of motorhome users are responsible, we have had to implement these changes to protect the local area.

Related: Gwynedd aires expected to be operational by spring 2023

“Dorset Council have been looking into provision for motorhome parking, we are trying to provide the right balance of parking without taking business away from local campsites.

“We have been in discussion with the Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA) to look at solutions.”

Weymouth Town Councillor Tony Ferrari said: “We very much support visitors to Weymouth, but the car parks aren’t designed for overnight stays.

“They don’t have toilet facilities and are not equipped with the things that people would need to camp and result in social problems.”

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