A call for compromise on the dilemma of camper and motorhome users ‘in love’ with the city ‘in love with’ the city
How to solve a problem like campervans, or motorhomes for that matter? This is something some councilors and residents have been calling for in Redcar and Cleveland, and a solution has yet to be found to keep everyone happy in terms of discouraging a minority of owners who abuse any privileges and making adequate provisions for the rest. Stuart Arnold Reports.
Twelve months ago, councilors approved a motion aimed at introducing restrictions on overnight parking where campervans and caravans – typically the bigger, taller sibling of campervans – are kept overnight amid concerns that some are “taking the mic” by freely dropping their anchors. For several days and also abuse of transportation. The environment by leaving garbage and waste behind. Councilor Philip Thompson said some residential areas in Saltburn had become “in effect a caravan park with all the negative aspects associated with that and that’s what we want to address”.
The town’s then mayor, Councilor Stuart Smith, also weighed in on the debate, describing some of the car parks as a “disgrace”, blocking pavements and also claiming to have counted 45 such vehicles at one time on Marine Parade with rubbish deposited “anywhere they could find it”. “. . Councilor Alec Brown – now head of the local authority – said it was an “everyday issue” and it was a shame the tourism-reliant area did not have better facilities for people.
“In general, we support this proposal, but with the caveat that we do not show the wider world that we are closed to visitors,” he said. Cllr Thompson emphasized that his proposal indicated that the council should welcome all visitors, whatever their means of transport. “It’s not just about saying you can’t park here,” he said at the time.
“We need a disincentive through legislation and an incentive through adequate and appropriate provisions, which is lacking.” The proposal is still being implemented, with two troublesome sites later identified, Marine Parade and The Stray in Redcar, with the council issuing a traffic regulation order to enforce a four-hour parking limit at the latter site as a councilor complained about the vehicles. Stay for months.
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Meanwhile, Marine Parade was recently the subject of a protest rally by some local residents over council plans to add 125 net parking spaces, which would see the bays reconfigured and shifted at right angles, the road widened, and the upper promenade narrowed. .
Some mobile home owners fear that this, combined with the new double yellow lines on the city side of Marine Parade, will mean less space for their vehicles and more difficulty maneuvering them in and out of parking spaces. A similar traffic regulation order would be needed as part of the changes and could be drafted to accommodate restrictions on campervans and caravans, while Saltburn’s transport masterplan has also taken into account this issue.
Two years ago, the council made a U-turn on plans for a traffic regulation order aimed at restricting mobile and household parking on Cowbar Lane, a single-lane carriageway off the A174 near Staithes, in response to complaints from local residents about litter and waste. Chemical toilet dumping, along with edge destruction by “impact-to-impact” compounds. After a wide range of objections, the decision was made not to proceed, but instead to use various legislation in the form of a public places protection order aimed at suppressing anti-social behaviour, which included offenses relating to fires and urination and defecation.
Cllr Thomson said Saltburn’s transport masterplan had made no specific recommendation to prevent overnight parking and that progress on its movement had been “woefully slow”. “Whitby and Scarborough have been doing this since 2012 and I want to emulate them,” he said.
“We have to provide enough mobile homes throughout the borough, while at the same time managing the small minority that are abusing the environment. The concern among residents is that a minority of people are abusing the facilities they come to enjoy, so human waste is being disposed of in some cases And garbage accumulation.
Cllr Thomson encouraged caravan and motorhome owners to use the Cat Nab car park at the bottom of Saltburn Bank rather than Marine Parade, which, despite being away from residential areas, has specific provisions for free overnight parking, and 24-hour CCTV , toilets, waste disposal unit and clean and fresh water supply. But some visitors told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) they were unlikely to use Cat Nab because it lacked the atmosphere of Marine Parade, where informal gatherings are often held, along with soaring sea views.
However, Cllr Thomson said this was his preferred location in the city for motorists in this category and suggested adding a charge so more facilities could be maintained on site. “You have a really good car park, right next to the sea, which is safe and well equipped. On any given weekend during the summer, we can put up between 30 and 40 motorhomes overnight,” he said.
Saltburn resident Gemma Booth, who has organized opposition to plans to increase the number of parking spaces on Marine Parade, said she had spoken to campervan owners to gauge opinion on how best to meet their needs. She wondered if campers would be going elsewhere and any potential restrictions on overnight parking at the parade.
“They’re not people who want to sit in a parking lot, they’re coming for the view and the sense of community that we feel in the upper park and the way they’re greeted by the different people who use it,” she said. “If we lose campers, how much revenue will we lose to the city?”
However, one resident, who lives on Saltbourne’s so-called “jewel” streets, which lead to Marine Parade, said he would be happy to see the back of the vehicles. One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said campervan users were “hitting”, regularly parking along the road for free and “filling” the jewel streets with rubbish.
One motorist who might object to such nomenclature is Davy Smith, from Scruton, North Yorkshire, who frequently travels to Saltburn to spend time at the Marine Parade. “I surf in Saltburn, I have friends there, and although I don’t have an actual campervan, I stay in my work van, which has had the inside converted to make it livable,” he said.
“Yes, Marine Parade is a free area, but it has the best views and there are people passing by every day that you can sit and talk to. It’s a welcoming place Saltburn with a lovely beach culture and atmosphere, and you’ll see all different age groups on the promenade.
“As for freeloading, what is it? I spent £250 in four days there, and that goes into the local economy. You have day-travellers who take packed lunches and go to the beach and don’t spend a penny.”
Smith, 46, said the changes planned by the council had caused a “real buzz”. “There have been caravans for years at Marine Parade,” he said.
“My view is that they should make the other side of town residents-only, and the park can stay as it is. There has to be some sort of compromise.”
“They love the place.”
Mr Smith said he understood complaints from the town facing side of Marine Parade about permanently parked vehicles blocking the view and litter. But he said: “I can’t speak for everyone, but there is a camper community and they love the place.
“They’re clean, they don’t leave litter – there aren’t enough bins on offer anyway – but if there’s more it’ll be used, they take care of the place. Most of what I’ve seen of the big motorhomes too, they’re fully kitted out, they stop and don’t bother anyone.
Mr Smith, who works as a self-employed carpet cleaner, added: “What does the council want – perhaps adding weight or height restrictions on vehicles?
“It’s only six weeks a year when these problems arise. I travel to Saltburn because it has a great atmosphere and a great place to visit, and I’ll spend my money there.
“It’s special, it really is. If camper owners have to pay a premium for a facility that’s out of view, there’s no romance or reason to be there, and it makes everything more complicated. It’s cancel culture. They take everything from us.”
Councilor Carl Quartermaine, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said in a statement: “If visitors have campervans, we have allocated spaces in the Cat Nap car park to accommodate larger vehicles.”
“Saltburn is a wonderful place, which is why it attracts so many people year after year. But we must do our best to strike a balance between meeting the needs of residents, businesses and tourists.
Referring to Cllr Thomson’s motion, he said: “As part of the motion, officers were raised on the council to consult with elected members to advise on potential issues relating to caravans/campers in their wards. Seven councilors responded to identify five potential sites across the borough. Two Only of these sites, The Stray and Marine Parade, warrant further investigation as the others were either not on council land or did not highlight any ongoing or damaging issues.
“In relation to The Stray, the Council recently issued a Transport Regulatory Order introducing a four-hour parking limit which will reduce the ability of campervans to park for long periods.
“Marine Parade is currently being looked at as part of Saltburn’s transport masterplan and the parking team have committed to looking at options for a transport regulation order which would help alleviate some of the reported issues around campervans. The intention will be to implement any restrictions by April 2024 , waiting for all correct operations to be performed.