Prospect of a camper van parking facility for Amble

Posted on 09th February 2021 | in Community , Northumberland County Council

Local County Councillor Jeff Watson asked Northumberland County Council to see if they could find a designated car parking area where camper vans could legally stay to relieve the current problem of these vehicles being parked in unsuitable places.

Cllr Jeff Watson at the proposed site on the Braid

The Council agreed a capital sum of £5,000 to investigate the problem and to determine if it could provide a proper managed site, since there is no appropriate site available in the town.

As a result of his request NCC have agreed to investigate and prepare a proposal for camper van parking on the Braid.
The existing car park adjacent to the Shorebase Trust, which is in Warkworth Parish is deemed a possible site.

Councillor Watson said, “All last summer we saw accommodation vehicles parking in unsuitable places largely because there were no designated spaces available in this area.

“I was aware that quite often vehicles parked overnight near the Shorebase building, and although most vehicle owners were responsible people, there was some concern about refuse being left. I suggested we should look at a short stay site, properly managed, that would be acceptable to the local community and alleviate any issues.

The Council agreed to an investigation so there will be an opportunity for residents to have their say when a report is completed.”

“Covid has changed how we take holidays and more people are taking UK holidays using camper vans. In my view, it will take a long time before we see a recurrence of holidays abroad so I want to ensure that local residents can continue to see the town prospering and still have the use of their local amenities.”

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23 thoughts on "Prospect of a camper van parking facility for Amble"

  1. Malcolm Craven says:

    Interesting article.
    There will be a challenge in how ‘Camper Van’ is defined.
    Some will be registered as: Van with side windows, or Cars.

  2. Tina says:

    It doesn’t matter what they are registered as they just need to be self contained.

  3. Steve says:

    There is a clear definition of the DVLA classification of motorcaravan.
    CAMpRA who campaign for safe parking and responsible disposal of waste define a self contained motorcaravan as a vehicle where “all activity is wholly within the vehicle “ overnight parking for self contained motorcaravans are known as “Aires” if the vehicle is not self contained they need a campsite.
    Throughout Mainland Europe and other countries these 48 hour, non bookable Aires are common and support the busy campsites, in fact many campsites also operate an Aire as part of their operation to embrace the needs of touring motorcaravans.

  4. Karen says:

    This is great news. Local authorities missing this valuable and growing sector of tourism are letting their local businesses down badly. Which business doesn’t need the trade now? This cohort will be out and about not just over summer but 12 months a year. It’s up to the LA if they want to channel those funds into their local economy or turn them away to send them to the neighbouring towns

  5. Sam says:

    Great news, and a welcome attitude from the local council. The majority of touring motor homes are fully self contained and aren’t the ones who will be causing noise and dumping fast food litter, we just need safe legal places to park up whilst touring and spending locally.

  6. Alan Buzzard says:

    We visited Amble between lockdowns last September, as we were unable to find any authorised overnight Motorhome parking we ended overnighting in a lay-by about 400m from the the car park mentioned on the article, we had a very brief walk into Amble and then carried on our journey to somewhere that was more welcoming to motorhomes instead of staying longer, when we would have visited local businesses for meals, drinks, local produce, gifts etc.
    There are over 350,000 motorhomes/camper vans registered in the Uk, Motorhome owners tend to be of a more mature age, have a healthy disposable income and travel all year round in vans that are normally fully self contained so do not need all the extra facilities that an expensive campsite offers, we only require a safe place to park, somewhere to empty waste and get fresh water, preferably close to town, during these difficult times attracting visitors and encouraging them to stay and support the local businesses by providing these basic facilities will be beneficial to everybody.
    Having vans in a parking area has shown there is a reduction in anti social behaviour in those areas.
    In Europe a town the size of Amble would have an Aire, dedicated parking for motorhome visitors costing a few Euros to stay overnight, an organisation called CAMpRA is trying to promote this type of facility in the UK and can provide councils with information to implement this, with the staycation effect caused by the current restrictions these types of managed areas for motorhome visitors could be a source of much needed extra income to help businesses recover from the last years devastating effect on their income.
    I hope this scheme in Amble is successful and is expanded throughout Northumbria as it is a beautiful part of the country but not particularly welcoming to motorhome visitors, if this could be improved I would love to return for longer and explore the area properly.

  7. Meg says:

    Amble is a lovely place. Like many villages and small towns it needs to stop thinking of motorcaravans as a problem, but an opportunity. Places to park overnight near restaurants, pubs and shops bring customers into a community. In France there is a saying “we shop where we stop”

  8. Trevor Potts says:

    Powys County council including Brecon allow overnight parking with conditions on maximum stay and return. Very useful to be able to overnight near bar meals and breakfast/ shopping in the morning. An excellent scheme worth checking out how it works. I think it is pay and display during the day and free overnight. Amble would do well to copy this model.

  9. Ian Simmonds says:

    A great move by Amble which should be repeated around Northumberland. If facilities are not provided for motorhomes they will simply pass through the county, rather than stopping and spending.
    The vast majority of owners are responsible and don’t leave rubbish.

  10. Steve Birnie says:

    This is a great initiative. COVID restrictions & Brexit travel restrictions will ensure that the vast majority of the 386,000+ self-contained motor caravans registered in the UK mostly will be used here for a long time to come – the large proportion of their owners previously used to tour in Europe where safe overnighting parking (Aires) are provided in tens of thousands of cities, towns & villages, many with fresh water supplies & waste water disposal facilities. In contrast, the UK has so few Aires.

    Amble can show a lead here that will benefit its local economy because the welcome it would extend to motor caravan owners (the majority being retired with a decent disposable income) will encourage their spending in the locality helping economic recovery of hard hit businesses. The impact of inconsiderate motor caravan parking by a minority of irresponsible owners would be reduced.

    In the longer term, these benefits would continue when international travel restrictions are eased and our European colleagues (some 2 million motor caravan owners there) start touring here again.

    CAMpRA will provide assistance with the project if needed even providing a link to a partnership with the leading French operator of secure Aires, Camping Car Parks, who are looking to expand into the UK at suitable locations.

    To summarise, go for it, Amble – the Aires experience of our European neighbours shows it will be worthwhile.

  11. Lar Burr says:

    The Marine coffee shop allows overnight stays in their car park as long as you spend a small amount of money in the shop .

  12. Denise Hyland says:

    We visited Amble last summer when lockdown was lifted. We managed to spend two nights close enough to walk into town where we spent money on food, restaurants, post office and gift shop. However we quickly had to move on to Scotland where motorhomes are more welcomed, as all camp sites were fully booked and every car park, even though they were massive and empty in the evenings said no over night sleeping. We would have been happy to pay for overnight parking. We would love to return if we were able.

  13. Ruth Cook says:

    Great that the council are looking to encourage people to stay in their self contained vehicles. Europe welcomes them and charges a small amount for facilities or even provides them foc. There are many opportunities for local traders who, I am sure, would welcome all year round visitors with money to spend. Just hope the £5000 isn’t spent on studies to see if possible rather than the actual facility!

  14. Edmund Yarrow says:

    This is fantastic news and well done to everyone concerned including Clr Jeff Watson and NCC for looking into this.
    Having experienced Europe use these schemes successfully for decades, I am thrilled to see Amble take the initiative in what will be a resounding success for the town and for Northumberland.

  15. Jane Smith says:

    It was heartening to see that there is a suggestion there will be motorhome parking in Amble. We always pass through Amble on the way to visit our son in Scotland. We usually park where the recycling facility is on the way to the Yacht Club, visit the town and move on somewhere else for the night. With type of facility suggested we would stay overnight and as is our usual custom when near enough to a town not to need to walk or cycle we would go for a meal and probably breakfast as well. We would be using this at least 4 times a year lockdown and travel restrictions permitting. We would expect to pay a fee for the facility. I am sure that there would be many people who would use it particularly out of season when many CLs are closed.

  16. Philip Smith says:

    My wife left a comment, but did not mention the fantastic carpark at Bamburgh. It already has large bays and would provide another fantastic Aire location. In fact there are places all the way up the heritage coast which could benefit from this type of facility. It would reduce unwanted motorhome parking and increase what is spent in the area particularly in the shoulder and off seasons when campsites and CLs are often closed or not useable due to the wet ground conditions.
    Please go for it. Durham would be another great place.

  17. Ian Hyland says:

    Fully support this initiative. Previous comments say it all.

  18. Susan Eatough says:

    The provision of a so called Aire near Warkworth is a super idea. Not only do the vast majority of campervan/ motor homes owners behave responsibly, they contribute to the local economy by using the local pub, shops and cafes. If this were to go ahead it could be a blueprint for this type of facility that could be used throughout Northumberland and open up responsible overnight stays throughout the county.

  19. Mona Lott says:

    Motorhome parking is wonderful news for tourists and great for local economy. Even better would be a proper campervan site subject to local approval, not the whole of the braid but just a part. This beautiful spot would be put to good use as it is nothing but a water logged wasteland and dog loo at the moment. Spaces would fill up in no time.

  20. Tam Hunter says:

    Looking to come to Amble this wknd will it be a wasted journey for overnight parking
    VW transporter

  21. Tom McGowran says:

    Over the past 30 years of owning a Motorhome we have passed through Northumberland many many time but never found anything but ca campsite to stay on. Most of them wanted you to stay two or three days and book well in advance. Neither of these conditions suited us so we always carried on and missed out in stopping over in what we could see as being a beautiful county. We, up until COVID, took our holidays in Europe and Scotland as they were so much more friendly to Motorhomes. Hopefully now the attitude is changing and we can stop over and visit towns, villages and attractions and be able to overnight safely without the threat of being moved on. After all we do spend money in local shops and restaurants. Do go and visit attractions and do our best to keep our stopping places clean and tidy. So we welcome any attempt to provide the simplest of resources to stay overnight and don’t mind paying a little for the privilege.

  22. Lewis Thomas says:

    I’ve just been looking for a place to stay near Or in Amble and stumbled across this. I’m currently in Boroughbridge Yorkshire where the town council have allowed two places in the car park for motorhome parking overnight. We visited the pub and will go to the bakers and chemist in the morning. These motorhome parks do benefit the local economy, no doubt about it. May I add that I always do something else like a litter pick around where I stop so it is more than just the economy that benefits. Go for ot Amble.

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