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Pilot motorhome stopover scheme for north Wales

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A new stopover scheme for motorhomes is to be trialled in north Wales

The Gwynedd Council asked various organisations, campsite owners and motorhomers for feedback earlier this year, with a view to setting up a pilot scheme.

 

Results of the research

The survey showed that, while there were a reported 59 pitches per campsite (with 366 sites across Gwynedd), the actual available number seems to be closer to 14 per site due to the provision of seasonal pitches for touring caravans.

Also, many of the campsites in the area are only open April to October, with high occupancy levels between May to September. The report indicated that 60% of the campsites responding to a survey reported increases in motorhome visitors.

Over 8,800 motorhomers completed the council’s survey with over half only staying one or two nights in a place and over 95% being fully self-contained. Over 92% stated they would use an ‘aire’ or similar if available. Nearly 70% also stated they combine campsite stays with wild camping when on a trip.

The council also asked about needs for travelling in a motorhome, and fresh water, toilet emptying and a bin were top of the list, with electric being last.

Residents were also asked about their views during a six-week consultation, with the following statement arising from the result: “A high percentage of local residents noted that there were problems in their area because of motorhomes. 46.1% noted that they are a problem at certain times (the summer and weekends) and 17.9% noted that they are a problem all year round.”

While most were happy for the council to look at new ideas to tackle motorhomes parking overnight, 70% accepted the use of car parks in urban locations as a trial stopover scheme.

Councillor Gareth Wyn Griffith, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, said

 

Gwynedd has become a very popular destination for visitors in motorhomes over the years, and there is a noticeable increase in the number of people who own these vehicles. Due to this growing popularity, we as a Council are keen to consider how best to manage the situation for the future. We have carried out detailed research including considering how other parts of Europe manage the field.


Looking at other motorhome aires

The report the council produced compared stopovers in Europe to the provisions of the UK. It highlighted that, under many European countries' law, sleeping in a motorhome overnight is classed as parking, not camping, while France and Germany differentiate between motorhomes and caravans/tents. However, the council claimed, here in the UK, they would probably require a site licence.

Mr Griffith added: “It is clear that national legislation going back to the 1960s needs to take account of this developing field. It is necessary to question whether the legislation is now fit for purpose, and we will therefore be sending the findings of our research to the Welsh Government and call on them to urgently review the legislation.”


What's next

The next steps are for the council to assess potential sites for up to six stopovers, finalise costs for such a scheme and then submit planning applications before the end of February 2022. It is hoped that work will start on developing the facilities by June 2022 with the first of such stopovers being opened before March the following year.


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