The Oban Times - - Front Page - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

COM­PLAINTS have again been voiced over the lack of pro­vi­sion for cam­per­vans in the Oban area and the prob­lems aris­ing from ran­dom park­ing.

LOVE them or loathe them, cam­per­vans and mo­bile homes are be­com­ing a larger part of our lo­cal econ­omy, yet own­ers say fa­cil­i­ties do not ex­ist to al­low users to off­load ef­flu­ent or hook up to elec­tric­ity safely.

And com­mu­nity coun­cil mem­bers in Oban, Mull and Taynuilt say some­thing needs to be done to en­sure the fa­cil­i­ties avail­able for hol­i­day­mak­ers in mo­torhomes are at the very best.

David Sloss, chair­man of Taynuilt Com­mu­nity Coun­cil said: ‘Taynuilt sees a large num­ber of peo­ple who hol­i­day on the pier in a camper­van.

‘There is a prob­lem with the le­gal def­i­ni­tion of wild camp­ing and a con­fu­sion in the minds of some peo­ple when it comes to camp­ing in a tent and right to roam, and then there is a fur­ther is­sue in some places with peo­ple think­ing there is a right to park a camper­van or mo­bile home any­where.

‘There is an ar­gu­ment for be­ing able to park re­spon­si­bly where you are not go­ing to cause a dis­tur­bance and not leave rub­bish.

‘The leg­is­la­tion needs to be re­viewed in light of the num­ber of peo­ple who overnight camp. In Taynuilt, peo­ple have been known to come for much longer pe­ri­ods. Many of the ve­hi­cle own­ers know if the po­lice ask them to move on they will have a pe­riod of time to do so – and it is un­likely that they will be charged with an of­fence.

‘In Taynuilt, we have put signs up that peo­ple have turned round and there are con­tin­u­ous con­cerns about where peo­ple off­load bins and hu­man waste. But un­til the gov­ern­ment or lo­cal author­ity come up with a plan for deal­ing with the is­sue it will go on.’

On Mull, the com­mu­nity coun­cil has been deal­ing with cam­per­vans and mo­bile homes for ‘many years’ and feels dis­mayed at the lack of suc­cess in mov­ing mat­ters for­ward.

Steve Willis of Mull Com­mu­nity Coun­cil said the is­land was at break­ing point, say­ing: ‘We have been ask­ing the lo­cal author­ity to help us for many years and we just can­not seem to get the help we need to make the stay of these hol­i­day-mak­ers a lit­tle bit bet­ter.

‘First, we wanted signs to make peo­ple aware that some roads on Mull are not suit­able for mo­torhomes or cam­per­vans.

‘For ex­am­ple, there is an over­hang­ing rock on the sin­gle track road on the way down into Lochbuie.

‘If the van you are trav­el­ling in is too big then you sim­ply will not get down the road. If you can’t get past the rock, it is a long way to re­verse.

‘Many peo­ple who are driv­ing these ve­hi­cles have hired them for a hol­i­day or are not used to driv­ing them. In some cases, they sim­ply can­not re­verse.

‘One of the site own­ers on the is­land ap­proached the coun­cil look­ing for help to in­stall a piece of ma­chin­ery that would be able to take all the hu­man waste from cam­per­vans but so far we have been told it is un­likely to hap­pen.

‘Tober­mory car park at Ledaig is of­ten full to over­flow­ing with cam­per­vans.

‘Some idyl­lic places around the is­land are now com­pletely ru­ined with toi­let rolls af­ter peo­ple empty hu­man waste with no thought. I have even seen it thrown into the river at times and that can­not be good for any­one.’

In Oban, there has been a large num­ber of cam­per­vans park­ing on the Es­planade and near the war memo­rial.

Last year, Oban Com­mu­nity Coun­cil was told that some peo­ple hung their wash­ing on a line tied be­tween the camper­van and one of the sol­diers. They have also asked lo­cal coun­cil­lors to look into the mat­ter af­ter the ve­hi­cles caused dif­fi­cul­ties at beauty spots such as Gana­van and can of­ten stay for long pe­ri­ods.

A spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘As with all vis­i­tors, we wel­come cam­per­vans and mo­torhomes to Ar­gyll and Bute – tourism is of huge im­por­tance as it sig­nif­i­cantly ben­e­fits our econ­omy.

‘Driv­ers are en­ti­tled to park where they wish. Those us­ing pay and dis­play car parks and tak­ing up two spa­ces are asked to pay for both.’

Cam­per­vans park in the car park by Home­base, Oban, but there is a lack of in­fra­struc­ture for them.

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