Brakes on camper­van by­law

Calpe new rules hit 'big prob­lem'

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Jack Troughton

MOVES to help con­trol the prob­lem of wild camp­ing on the streets of a Costa Blanca resort have hit a “big prob­lem”.

Calpe town hall is in­tro­duc­ing a new by­law to ban overnight road­side camp­ing to end a his­toric prob­lem fol­low­ing com­plaints from res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

Peo­ple not only ob­jected to the loss of valu­able park­ing spa­ces to the large ve­hi­cles, they were also dis­cov­ered to be an en­vi­ron­men­tal nui­sance such as emp­ty­ing chem­i­cal toi­lets at the road­side, plac­ing gen­er­a­tors on the pave­ment and hang­ing out wash­ing.

As a re­sult, the coun­cil voted it would out­law park­ing camper­vans, car­a­vans, trail­ers, agri­cul­tural and con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles on the roads at night; from 8pm in win­ter and 9pm in sum­mer.

It was hoped the change would en­cour­age camper­van own­ers vis­it­ing Calpe to use of­fi­cial camp­sites.

How­ever, when the move was opened for pub­lic com­ment as part of the lo­cal author­ity’s trans­parency com­pli­ance com­mit­ment, Calpe res­i­dents raised con­cerns.

Coun­cil­lor Ca­role Saun­ders, in charge of trans­parency at the town hall, said peo­ple liv­ing in Calpe were con­cerned about park­ing their own mo­torhomes – which were fully le­gal with in­surance and taxed.

“I have spo­ken with the mayor and said we have a big prob­lem over peo­ple whose only ve­hi­cle here is a camper­van and what they should do if they want to come into town at night so­cially, to go to the theatre or meet friends,” she said. “It would mean they were out­side the ‘cur­few’.

“Also there are own­ers who are un­able to park their ve­hi­cle off the road be­cause there is not room at their apart­ment block.”

Mrs Saun­ders said the con­sul­ta­tion was seen as ‘good prac­tice’ and took place be­fore by­laws fi­nally en­tered the statute book or any de­ci­sion was rat­i­fied – the park­ing si­t­u­a­tion will be back be­fore the coun­cil later this month.

“It will not be­come law un­til af­ter fi­nal ap­proval is given – we may now have to change the word­ing and in­clude a clause about Calpe res­i­dents,” she said.

One so­lu­tion could be for the town hall to is­sue res­i­dents’ per­mits for the ve­hi­cles – vis­i­ble to po­lice who would have to en­force the new leg­is­la­tion.

“We will also have to in­ves­ti­gate what hap­pens if you are us­ing an of­fi­cial camp­site but want to use your camper­van to get into town at night for what­ever rea­son,” added the coun­cil­lor.

“It is not go­ing to please peo­ple but we are fairly cer­tain it doesn’t af­fect that many peo­ple – it is just un­for­tu­nate.”

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