Town councillors are calling on South Hams Council to provide toilets, shower and waste emptying facilities at Longmarsh Car Park in Totnes, Devon.
At a recent full town council meeting, Cllr Ben Piper called the lack of campervan and motorhome facilities at the site “appalling” and claimed the district council is responsible for any health issues arising from people “dumping” waste in hedges.
Planning chairwoman, Cllr Georgina Allen said South Hams Council is calling for feedback on allowing motorhomes to park at Longmarsh overnight.
She said: “In principle it’s a good idea, but as we all suggested right at the start there are issues with toilets.
“We should support the continuation of overnight parking at Longmarsh on the basis that South Hams Council makes longer term provision for toilets, showers and toilet emptying at the site.
“This is to mitigate motorhome users emptying toilets into the hedges and rivers, which is what has been happening, and public defecation in the area which has been reported to the council over the past couple of years – there quite a number of reports.
“We would like to support this principle, it has been very popular with overnight campers and there are always a lot in there.
“But we would like to – I don’t know if we can insist – but strongly urge South Hams Council to make toilets, showers and toilet emptying facilities at the site.”
Cllr Marion Adams pointed out that loos and showers are already on the site, but South Hams Council does not open them up.
She said: “There are showers there already and toilets but South Hams have not done anything about it.
“They are for boaters coming up the river as well. It’s there already. There are toilets there, they just need to be opened.”
Cllr Piper said stakeholders of the Dartmouth-based Dart Harbour Authority, which manages the River Dart, are “at a loss” as to why there are no facilities for boaters in Totnes.
He said: “As the representative with Dart Harbour’s community group, they are at a loss as to why Totnes, which is such a popular destination with boaters, should have virtually no provision for boaters coming up the river.
“This potentially has a significant impact on the town’s economy as people visiting in boats tend to be relatively well heeled.
“People in motor homes may not be, but for us as a community to be burdened with a situation where – I went down there the other night and there were 14 different units down there of one sort or another – there are no toilet facilities, is really, really appalling.
“And by taking money, the council are in a position where they are responsible for any health issues that may resolve from people emptying their toilets into the ditch there, which is absolutely not acceptable.”
Mayor Cllr Emily Price suggested the district council invest some of the money it has earned from charging for overnight camping, into providing facilities at the site.
She said: “They trialled the use of various car parking areas in the South Hams for overnight stays and Totnes was by far and away the most popular.
“Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people stayed there over the trial and the revenues were a lot – £40,000 or something – so maybe they could invest a little bit of the money they are making to improve the situation.”
Councillors unanimously agreed to “strongly” urge the district council to provide facilities at Longmarsh.