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Motorhome parking at council car parks receives support from group

12 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Campervan. Image: Allen Watkin licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bruce Sinclair Local Democracy Reporter

A proposed trial scheme for overnight motorhome and campervan parking at council-owned car parks would boost the tourist trade by attracting members of a 37,000-stong organisation, a specialist promotion group has said.

Members of the council’s Cabinet, at their February meeting, backed a proposal for a trial run ‘Pembs Stop’ scheme at four car parks: North Beach, Tenby; Goodwick Moor, Goodwick; Townsmoor, Narberth; and Western Way, Pembroke Dock.

The ‘Pembs Stop’ trial areas, available for up to two nights, would operate year-round at £10 a night for a trial 18-month period, with strict criteria, and is expected to start in July.

The planned trial even received national coverage, with a discussion on a phone-in programme on BBC Radio Wales.

But local tourism businesses have said the proposals will harm them.


Concerns about the trial have also been raised by the official tourism industry group for Pembrokeshire, Visit Pembrokeshire.

Conservative Group leader on the council, Cllr Di Clements successfully called for the matter be sent to the council’s April 9 policy and pre-decision scrutiny committee for further discussion, later submitting a successful motion recommending Cabinet does not progress with the scheme.

Speaking at the meeting in favour of the trials, was Steve Haywood of CAMpRA UK Ltd, a 37,000-strong organisation that promotes the year-round recreational use of motorcaravans through the provision of motorcaravan aires.

The word ‘aire’ is short for the French term ‘aire de service,’ where motorhome and campervan users may stop overnight either for free or for a small fee.

Brexit impacts

Mr Haywood told committee members: “I can fully understand the concerns, but you need to understand the difference between touring motor caravans and a caravan.

“Since Brexit came in, we are now restricted to 90 days in Europe, 400,000-plus motor caravan owners now spend a minimum of six months a year in the UK, that’s why we’ve particularly seen an increase in the market.

“We, like thousands of members, are very excited when we hear about this trial. We mix between aires and campsites, the aire is like a B&B and a campsite is like a four-star hotel. If you come to south Wales you want to stay in south Wales, we could be there for two months, spending money, in those areas we will include campsites.

“If we stay close to a town we will spend money in the town, the pubs and restaurants where we will have a meal. By preventing overnight parking – and this has happened in Conwy – we moved, and the local businesses lost out.

“96 per cent of motorhomes would pay to use an aire, it’s not freeloading, it’s about providing a safe, authorised place, focussing vehicles where you can control them; we will definitely be visiting Pembrokeshire if this goes ahead.”

Mr Haywood finished by saying the organisation was currently in discussions with 34 councils in the UK about potential sites, adding: “We’re not in competition with campsites; by preventing us staying overnight you’re taking business away.”

Cllr Clements’ call for the mater to be referred back to Cabinet, with a recommendation it is not progressed, was supported at the meeting by eight votes to three.

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