Overnight motorhome stays in Northumberland car parks could get the go-ahead under council plans
Overnight parking for motorhomes could be permitted in some Northumberland car parks this summer.
Northumberland County Council is considering the measure ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer season for staycation holidays.
Coastal communities including Alnmouth, Amble, Bamburgh, Seahouses and Beadnell reported motorhome and campervan related issues last summer, including inconsiderate parking and litter.
Paul Jones, the council’s director of local services, explained the idea at a coastal summit of key stakeholders.
He said: “We have been working with colleagues in the AONB and have now agreed a motor caravan protocol.
“We recognise that the use of motor caravans or motorhomes is an increasing trend escalated by the pandemic and there aren’t sufficient locations for all these people to go into formal campsites and there is a whole group of people with those type of vehicles which don’t want to go to that kind of facilities anyway.
"We are looking at all of our car parks and are going through a process to see whether it would be acceptable to have a contained overnight stay where basically you sleep in the vehicle but don’t have all the paraphernalia outside for a single night as a transit type activity.”
The review is focused on finding potential sites in coastal hotspots where demand is most acute.
Mr Jones said: “We’ve just about completed that process now and will then be having further dialogue with town and parish councils for those sites where we consider it might be possible to allow people to stay overnight.
“Where there is agreement over that we will be looking to undertake a pilot scheme this summer on a few of those locations to put that into effect and provide some additional capacity.
“We’re trying to manage the visitor numbers using these types of vehicle, directing them to where they are not going to cause issues for the local community or environment and where they can be managed better to enable us to do that.
“Where it’s not suitable we will also be undertaking additional enforcement activity to drive those positive behaviours.
“As part of the overall approach we are trying to improve visitor facilities as well.
"We have planning consent which we will be implementing for a new small caravan and campsite within the Druridge Bay Country Park which will help and there are proposals for a feasibility study for a motor caravan facility at Amble Braid car park.”
The motorhome parking review forms part of an action plan being developed by the council and its partners to try and balance the needs of visitors and local communities.
Council leader Glen Sanderson said: "We're so looking forward to welcoming the many thousands who want to come and see all we have to offer. But we need to be realistic and help manage the flow of people we expect into the county over the next few months.
“This action plan contains a number of steps we’re considering to balance the needs of visitors and local communities, from encouraging people to explore all corners of our beautiful county to ensuring we have more places for people to park and clean and tidy facilities for them to use.”