Andrew Ennis, Service Lead - Environmental Health and Car Parks updated Members on the progress made so far on the discussions for a revised policy for motorhomes and campervans as a result of an increased number of motorhomes and campervans using the car parks in East Devon. Members noted the current policy, that had been agreed, approximately 5 years ago, did not permit motorhomes and campervans in car parks between 10pm and 8am in order to help protect existing campsite businesses.
The Service Lead - Environmental Health and Car Parks updated Members on the Exmouth Pilot Scheme that had been introduced 2 years ago for motorhomes and campervans to stay overnight at two dedicated car parks in Exmouth which proved the demand was there. Members were asked to consider a number of issues including the management of domestic refuse and effluent, whether to consider offering better facilities and whether to offer the opportunity to store larger motorhomes in car parks over the winter at a cost of an annual permit of £100.
Detailed discussion took place on the proposal for a revised policy and included the following points from Non-Forum members and Forum Members:
· There was a need to attract tourism to help the economy but not at the cost of other businesses;
· France offers good facilities for overnight camping;
· There was a need to offer good sanitation if people stay overnight;
· There was a need to consider fire safety;
· How will the car parks be policed and fees collected?
· There was a need to offer storage of larger campervans for residents over winter;
· Clarification sought on the costings in East Devon compared to other districts;
· Concerns raised about brown waste being emptied in drains along the seafront and ending up on the beach;
· There was a need to consider chemical and waste disposal and to offer recycling;
· Prices should be increased for staying in town centres;
· There was a need for campervans to park inland with a permit to encourage off-road parking;
· The need to consider installing a height barrier along the seafront to stop vehicles camping overnight;
· Concerns raised about not increasing the charges too much and the need to make it value for money to encourage visitors to come back year after year;
In response to some of the points raised the Service Lead - Environmental Health and Car Parks replied:
· If done sensibly there was room in the market for self-contained campervans and motorhomes to stay up to 3 nights without impacting on local businesses;
· Some good points were made about providing proper toilet facilities including using existing public toilets;
· EDDC would need to consider proper fire safety regulations which would require vehicles to be between 4m – 5m apart;
· The collection of fees would rely on customer honesty with the potential of a 7am inspection of car parks when the Civil Enforcement Officers start work;
· Further debate was needed for the storage of motorhomes as appropriate sites would be needed;
· An effective regime was required for the enforcement of vehicles;
· Further debate was needed on an appropriate fee;
· The consideration of using existing toilets was welcomed but needed to be further explored;
That the Service Lead - Environmental Health and Car Parks prepare a report with recommendations for consideration by the Car Park Task and Finish Forum Members at a future meeting in March 2021.