Plans to prevent camper van access to popular Northumberland beach car park to stop it becoming '24-hour campsite'
New measures aim to prevent a Northumberland beach car park from ‘being turned into a 24-hour campsite’.
A height barrier is to be installed at the Alnmouth beach car park to stop camper vans entering.
The village burgage holders, who are responsible for the car park, have already installed gates and a fence.
Cllr Mac McHugh, speaking at an Alnmouth Parish Council meeting, reported: “They are going to adapt the gate to have a height restriction which will be padlocked to stop camper vans going in.
"Northumberland County Council, when they come to clear the rubbish, will have a key to unlock the padlock to swing it open, but the camper vans will not be able to get on to the car park.”
Chairman Shaun Whyte said: “The height restriction should prove quite effective. The problem with just having a gate is that the guys who pitch up at 4pm and leave at 10am the next day are not actually bothered about being locked in overnight.”
The height barrier will restrict the number of camper vans staying overnight in Alnmouth rather than preventing them.
Cllr McHugh explained: “It still leaves them a parking facility just past the waterfront on the left hand side where the hard-standing is.
"Ar the end of the day, where do you start and where do you stop? At least it restricts them going on to the main car park and leaving their grey water etc there.”
Cllr Whyte said: “I’ve had more people contacting me about camper vans on the beach and in the village than anything else in the last couple of years.
"The pretty strong view from the comments I’ve had from residents is that they don’t want the beach car park to turn into a 24-hour campsite.
"People have asked whether there’s a bylaw in place to stop camper vans parking overnight and there isn’t.
"Northumberland County Council’s legal department are actually looking into the process of putting one in place.”
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson spoke of ‘unprecedented numbers of people in the area, including camper vans parking where they’re not supposed to be’.
He has requested more visits by parking wardens as a short-term measure, while longer term plans include the remarking of the beach car park and fencing.
There has also been a lot of support on social media for the benefits brought by camper van users, especially those spending in shops, cafes and pubs.
Fiona Holden, writing on the Gazette’s Facebook page, said: ‘We do no harm taking our camper vans to the beach, most use their own toilets and take rubbish home.’
Monica Gunn wrote: ‘I park up for the day at Alnmouth regularly in my motorhome. Even when I arrive early in the morning, I have never stayed overnight, I have seen little or no waste or litter left.’
Billy Davison added: ‘We should welcome tourists not drive them away! Most are gone by the crack of dawn anyway.’