VILLAGE LEADS WAY WITH MOTORHOME PARK AMID STAYCATION BOOM
Councils urged to follow example
ATOURISM leader has called on councils and businesses to follow the lead set by Portmeirion in building a dedicated parking facility for motorhomes.
Work is under way at the Gwynedd tourism attraction to create a site for 23 campervans.
It comes amid a backlash from coastal communities and tourist towns where illicit parking by motorhomes has become a feature of the staycation summer.
Jim Jones, chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said local authorities had to “move with the times” and meet rapidly rising demand for managed motorhome facilities.
“There has been a huge increase in people buying motorhomes in the past 12 months and, if they can’t find anywhere to park properly, some will end up in places that cause a nuisance,” he said.
“For local authorities there is an opportunity to use existing infrastructure for overnight parking while generating revenue.
“The private sector also has a part to play and I’m delighted to see that Portmeirion is leading the way.”
In the year to June, a record 16,608 new motorhomes were registered with the DVLA – up 8.25% on the same period in 2018-19.
Many have been snapped by the almost 30m drivers who are expected to take a staycation this year.
North Wales, now the most popular staycation region in Britain – surpassing Devon and Cornwall – has borne the brunt of the campervan stampede, leaving councils and tourism operators struggling to catch up.
Recently motorhomes have been spotted parking illegally in Pensarn and Rhyl.
Residents in Penmaenmawr, Conwy, last week floated the idea of a dedicated facility in the area as the local promenade is now regularly used by motorhomes.
One was even pictured parking up in the town’s cemetery.
Conwy Council has revealed it is considering building its own motorhome stopover, with waste disposal facilities, in a bid to tackle illicit parking.
It has already added parking restrictions on Llandudno’s Gloddaeth
Avenue – only to see some campervans switch to the North Shore, where one owner was seen drying their washing on railings.
Gwynedd Council is also asking residents whether it should pilot a series of parking sites using existing council car parks or private businesses.
These would echo the system in European countries such as France, where networks of “Aires” have been created to provide designated overnight parking.
A potential stumbling block is the presence in many council car parks of height barriers, installed to prevent undesirable overnight parking.
Mr Jones doesn’t believe the problem is insurmountable.
“Technology can provide the answers,” he said.
“Surely it’s possible to provide codes for prebooked vehicles that can enter car parks with keypad access?”
Portmeirion, the Italianate village in Penrhyndeudraeth, secured planning consent for a 23-vehicle parking site for campervans.
A series of electrical hook-ups have been installed already, and an existing maintenance building will accommodate toilets, showers and washing facilities.
It’s being built on land previously used for public and staff parking.
In Portmeirion’s application, consultants Cadnant Planning said: “It is essential that tourist attractions such as Portmeirion evolve and provide new and interesting visitor experiences of a high quality to ensure long-term viability.”
A spokesperson for the village said the facility would be ready to welcome campervans next year.