Go-ahead for campervans to stay overnight in council car parks

Torbay Weekly

Motorhomes and campervans will be allowed to stay overnight in nine council car parks in a bid to boost to the economy of the South Hams.

Both motorhomes and campervans are currently permitted to park in allocated car parks in the district but overnight sleeping or camping is not permitted in any of the off-street car parks.

But South Hams District Council’s executive has agreed to approve a 12-month trial to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of motorhomes and camper van users opting to use car parks and other locations for overnight stays.

The policy, subject to a 21-day consultation, would permit overnight sleeping for a maximum stay of two consecutive nights only with a no return within 48 hours in the nominated car parks.

An overnight tariff of £15 from 6pm until 9am for those choosing to stay at the Memorial car park, Slapton; Torcross Tank car park and North Sands car park, Salcombe, would be charged, with a £10 fee for the other six car parks.

Cllr Keith Baldry, portfolio holder for environmental services, said: “This is an exciting moment to make this decision and I hope we approve the paper. It is a trial for 12 months and then we will consider during the trial whether to go forward for future years.

“The reason I am excited about this is because it is good for the local economy. The great hope is they will go on and use local facilities, local cafes, local shops, and to pubs, and it should be good for the economy.”

He added: “The great thing about this is that we have the reinforced localities team who will be able to enforce this. If this works as a trial, then I am supportive of motorhome spaces around the district, and for the economy for the South Hams, if we can encourage people to come to the South Hams and use the facilities, it will be good for the South Hams.

"This is a great opportunity and I hope we support it.”

Cllr Nicky Hopwood added: “This is a significant move forward for the South Hams and how we treat motorhome and camper van users and control what was a massive problem in some areas last year.

“With the staycation culture, especially this year, people will realise the UK is a beautiful country and it could be a shift in the way that people holiday.

"If we encourage them to use the local chippy and shops and by making parking near amenities easy and lawful, it will add to the local economy.”

However, she said that she thought the proposed £15 a night charge for all nine proposed car parks in the scheme was too high, and instead suggested it should be £10 a night, but £15 at Salcombe, Slapton and Torcross.

She added: “They have amazing views so it is exceptional to charge £15 a night here as £5 extra is worth it for the view and location.

"We need to give it 12 months to see how it goes. There is a hang up about what they will do wrong, but proper motorhome users do respect the area.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Judy Pearce, added: “The purpose to deal with the motorhome problem we had last summer and to welcome them into the area so they will spend and benefit local businesses.”

The nine car parks selected as suitable locations for overnight stays are:

  • Leonards car park, Ivybridge (£10)
  • Quay car park (southern area only), Kingsbridge (£10)
  • Cattlemarket car park, Kingsbridge (£10)
  • Poundwell Meadow overflow car park, Modbury (£10)
  • Longmarsh car park, Totnes (£10)
  • Dartmouth Park & Ride car park (£10)
  • Memorial car park, Slapton (£15)
  • Torcross Tank car park (coach bays only), Torcross (£15)
  • North Sands car park, Salcombe (£15).